Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel

Pnoy senatorial bet Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel is hoping she would make it to the top 12 this elections.

She served as Akbayan Partylist Representative from 2004 to 2010, then ran for senator in 2010 but lost.

Among the bills she authored that were passed into laws were Bill for Cheaper Medicines and Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) Bill. She also co-authored the Reproductive Health Law.

She was a member of government peace panel in the negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in 1998.

Hontiveros worked as a media practitioner before going into politics. She was co-host at RPN 9 1986-1987, segment Producer and Host, ABS-CBN, “Magandang Umaga Po” (1988-1989), executive producer for IBC 13’s “Public Life with Randy David” (1990) and co-host and segment producer for PTV 4 and SBN 21’S “XYZ Young Women’s TV” (1998-2001).

Hontiveros does not belong to a political dynasty but she and her political party Akbayan practically entered into a political marriage with the Aquino administration.

During the 2010 elections, ,Akbayan received a total of P112 million in political contributions, including P14 million from the three sisters of President Benigno Aquino III, according to a Commission on Elections (Comelec) document.

In reaction to the huge political funds of Akbayan, Renato Reyes Jr., national secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said it only shows that Akbayan is “definitely beholden to the Aquinos.”

According to Akbayan’s statement submitted to the Comelec in 2010, Rafael Cojuangco Lopa et al , Noynoy’s cousins and major stockholders of Hacienda Luisita, were also contributors to Akbayan’s campaign fund in 2010.

“You draw the connection, between Hacienda Luisita and Akbayan’s campaign funds. Simply disgusting. What does that say of a party that receives campaign donations that are tainted with the blood of Luisita martyrs?” Reyes said in his previous blog post.

Youth group Anakbayan filed a disqualification case against Akbayan, calling the latter as “a political dynasty.”

Akbayan’s top officials have been appointed in the Aquino administration. Ronald Llamas served as presidential advisor for political affairs and replaced by another Akbayan official, Tomasito Villarin. Joel Rocamora, head of the National Anti-Poverty Commission), Loreta Ann Rosales, former Akbayan representative is chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights.

A former Akbayan representative is commissioner of the Government Service Insurance System). Two of their current nominees in the partylist race are undersecretary for political affairs, and commissioner of the Presidential Commission for the Urban poor. Two others are a Board Member of the Social Security Service and commissioner of the National Youth Commission.

Hontiveros and Akbayan have been vocal in their support for the Aquino administration.

In a live TV debate last October 12, 2012, Anakbayan chairman Vencer Crisostomo told Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello that Akbayan’s position on issues is consistent with the Palace’s position.

While Hontiveros is proud of the CARPER, farmers loathe it.

CARPER extended the original CARP for five years. It is supposed to lapse in 2014 but DAR admitted that more than 900,00 hectares of private agricultural land have yet to be distributed.

During the ABS-CBN’s Halalan episode, Hontiveros admitted that land distribution is not yet complete and called on DAR to fast-track the distribution. Hontiveros added that the Supreme Court decision in Hacienda Luisita is “already a victory.”

Asked to comment, Lito Bais, chairman of United Luisita Workers Union (Ulwu) was fuming mad. “That Hontiveros is a fool” Bais said. “CARPER is the reason why, despite the Supreme Court decision, we still do not have the land that rightfully belongs to us.”

The high court, in its decision dated April 24, 2012, ordered the distribution of more than 4,000 hectares of Hacienda Luisita to about 6,000 farm worker-beneficiaries.

Bais added that the CARP of the late president Corazon Aquino was used to evade land distribution in 1989. “And now, because of the CARPER, the land, shed with the blood of our martyrs, has not been returned to us.”

The Cojuangco-Aquinos implemented the stock distribution option scheme, a non-land transfer scheme under CARP, in Hacienda Luisita during Cory’s reign.

Bais said provisions of CARP and CARPER delay the distribution of land and in fact, “favor the Cojuangco-Aquinos.”

“Why should the Cojuangco-Aquinos receive ‘compensation’ when they benefited from our land for so long? Why should we be made to pay amortization for the land that is ours in the first place?” Bais said.

The fate of CARPER was foreseen by Anakappawis Rep. Rafael Mariano who opposed the CARPER from the start. In a previous Bulatlat.com story, Mariano, also chairman of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, said that CARPER is bound to fail.

Mariano said the three phases of CARPER implementation makes it impossible to distribute private agricultural lands, the last phase. Under the law, before government can distribute private landholdings, it must first distribute the lands covered by phase one and phase two.

“Hontiveros does not represent the interest of the farmers,” Anakpawis said. (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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