By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – Progressive partylists under the Makabayan Coalition announced today, Jan. 29, that stopping of the return of the Marcoses and the Dutertes in power and Vice President Leni Robredo’s stand on issues affecting the marginalized are among the reasons they are endorsing her bid for presidency.
“In a time when tyranny rules and the son of the dictator wants to return to power, Leni and Kiko stood tall as a genuine opposition force. They embody our best chance at frustrating the Marcos-Duterte tandem,” Makabayan said in Filipino.
Senatorial aspirant Neri Colmenares earlier announced in an online event on Jan. 28 that Makabayan, which he co-chairs, is supporting Robredo and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, who is running for vice president. Colmenares has also been included in the senatorial slate of 1Sambayan, a group of civic leaders that aims to unite the opposition for the elections.
As it stands, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the late dictator, is the leading presidential aspirant, per recent polls. He still has pending disqualification cases before the Commission on Elections.
“Our lives, democracy, and our future as a nation are among those at stake in the coming elections. Are we going to allow darkness to rule? Or are we going to push back to uplift the country? The answer is clear. Our choice is clear,” said Makabayan.
Apart from frustrating the return of Marcoses to power, leaders of Makabayan discussed common issues ranging from social, political, and electoral reforms that served as bases for their endorsement for Robredo and Pangilinan.
These include the pandemic response, ending contractualization, genuine agrarian reform, reviewing cases against political prisoners, pursuing peace talks, protecting human rights and the environment, to name a few.
Makabayan also pointed out the return of the ABS-CBN franchise, which is considered as one of the biggest blows to press freedom under President Duterte.
During the online briefing, Makabayan leaders emphasized the importance of looking into the platforms of presidential aspirants.
Colmenares said Makabayan’s own platform is also their basis of unity with many communities supporting them. Knowing that a political party carries their issues and concerns, he added, “inspire people to campaign.”
“You cannot order them around,” he added.
Meanwhile, Robredo and Pangilinan, through a statement sent out by lawyer Barry Gutierez, said that they are ready cooperate with the 10 issues pointed out by Makabayan. This, he said, “paves way for a more deeper unity for the betterment of the Filipino people.”