By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Sarah Ann Go
MANILA, Philippines-Time Magazine latest cover Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino, the presidential candidate of Liberal Party (LP) in the May 10, 2010 Philippine elections is accused by a left-leaning fisherfolk alliance of buying one of his opponents to withdraw from the presidential race in exchange for a government position.
Rabid critics of Liberal Party (LP)standard bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III on Saturday accused Noynoy’s camp of directly engaging in pre-election political accommodation and bribery following LP’s offer to administration bet Gilbert Teodoro to back out from the presidential race and support Aquino’s bid in exchange for a Cabinet post.
“This is political arrogance, political accommodation and political bribery rolled into one. Is this the kind of presidency Mr.Aquino has to offer to 92 million Filipinos? God of history please save this country from Noynoy,” the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a press statement.
“The Time Magazine latest pin up boy for April 26, 2010 is dangling positions and huicy posts to his rivals in exchange for their withdrawals in the hotly contested race. This one really shocked the world, not the transfer of aging or has-been stalwarts to his camp,” the highly vocal Pamalakaya added.
Misamis Occidental Gov. Loreto Leo Ocampos, the chair of the League of Provinces of the Philippines who joined the Aquino camp weeks ago, had made the offer while appearing at the ANC “Strictly Politics” TV program on Tuesday night.
But LP vice-presidential candidate, Sen. Manuel Roxas, denied that the party had offered Teodoro a Cabinet post in an Aquino presidency. “I have had no discussions with Secretary Teodoro whom I respect. But we have not made any offer to him because we do not want to be presumptuous. Our priority is to ensure the victory of Noynoy as president,” Roxas said.
According to news reports, LP leaders have made the offer to Teodoro after two of the ruling coalition’s big guns, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales III, crossed to their camp. But Teodoro’s spokesman Atty. Mike Toledo downplayed the said offer to Teodoro.
“Only in their dreams,” said Toledo, adding that with the presidential campaign having degenerated into “taunting and disinformation,” the 45-year-old Teodoro is more convinced than ever that Filipinos deserved better.
“He’s convinced that Filipinos deserve a new brand of politics, a principled and issue-driven politics, and that can only be achieved under a Teodoro administration,” he said.
“Noynoy, Mar and the rest of the Aquino-Roxas camp are all in the state of denial. Their spin doctors are doing the dirty the jobs at the grass roots level both aboveboard and clandestine, while the camp’s principals and other supporting players are performing the laundry jobs just in case these dirty operations take a major boomerang on the Aquino-Roxas mafia,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.
The 28 national council leaders of the 80,000 strong fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) are set to sign an organizational memorandum calling its 43 regional and provincial chapters all over the country to reject the presidential bid of Aquino.
“For us Senator Aquino is the female version of President Gloria Macapagal-ArroyoGloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He is a ruthless person passing himself off as a liberal politician and anti-graft crusader. He is anti-GMA reactionary but just the same he and his cabal of own gangsters are certified opportunists,” the group added.
“Mr. Aquino has this very, very strong tendency to become a full-blown political monster and dictator among the 9 presidential wannabes seeking the highest elective post in the country today,” said Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France in a separate statement.
The fisherfolk alliance is set to conduct its’ yearly national council meeting on April 19-20 in Quezon City. Pamalakaya, the biggest fisherfolk organization in the country will formalize its endorsement of Anakpawis party list and Makabayan senatorial candidates Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza –former party list representatives of Bayan Muna and Gabriela Women’s Party respectively now running as official candidates of Nacionalista Party (NP) and Makabayan coalition.
Pamalakaya, a staunch ally of striking farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita said the bloody crimes of LP presidential bet and his landed family in connection with the continuing denial of land rights and injustice committed against Hacienda Luisita agricultural workers are non-negotiable and unpardonable.
“There will be not let up. We will squarely face this ambitious presidential animal and Rated -A opportunist politician even if he becomes the next President. There would be no political honeymoon and every day would be a day of exposition and opposition because Noynoy is Mrs. Arroyo trapped in a man’s body,” the militant group said.
Pamalakaya agreed with the observation raised by Jose Maria Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that if Aquino becomes the President, he and the Cojuangco-Aquino clan will use state power to frustrate and suppress the rights of farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita to keep the 6,453-hectare sugar estate under the continuing control of his family.
“As far as we are concerned, Noynoy decided to run for President not to fight corruption in the government but to engage in bigger crimes of corruption, and one these crimes is to maintain their unlawful and immoral claim on Hacienda Luisita,” the militant group said.
Pamalakaya noticed the people in Noynoy’s camp were the same people who worked with her mother the late President Corazon AquinoCorazon Aquino at the time the Aquino administration was setting the stage to place Hacienda Luisita under the controversial Stock Distribution Option (SDO).
“If our memory serves us right, Franklin Drilon was Aquino’s justice secretary and one time her labor secretary, and Mr. Butch Abad was her mother’s agrarian reform secretary. They were instrumental in keeping Hacienda Luisita in the divine hands of the Arroyo feudal aristocracy. Now the same guys are with him and they are all in one party. Coincidence? We don’t think so and we believe they are really up for something big and extremely cruel,” the militant group said.
Drilon is seeking to comeback in the Senate as one of the candidates of LP, while Abad is part of the campaign machinery of LP standard bearer. Pamalakaya said those working and associated with Noynoy are the same people who flirted with and enjoyed juicy government positions during the first three to four years of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.
“Majority of those in the Noynoy camp played beautiful music and even performed their roles to the hilt as cabinet members cum apologists of Mrs. Arroyo until they realized that their respective political careers and interests would go to disaster if they remain with the gangster group in Malacanang. They are all a bunch of opportunists and their basis of unity is not to pursue politics of change but to share power among themselves in case Arroyo is bolted out from power,” the fishers’ alliance added.
Meanwhile, some 500 farm workers of Hacienda Luisita will stage a 5-day long march from Tarlac to Manila on April 19-23 to demand the immediate and unconditional free distribution of 6,453 hectare sugar estate to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries.
Dubbed Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan (March of the Toiling Masses for Land and Justice) the long march will be spearheaded by Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), the Luisita based United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and Alyansa ng Mga Manggagawang Bukid ng Luisita (Ambala), Alyansa ng Mga Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis party list.
Anakpawis party list secretary general Cherry Clemente said Luisita farmworkers will also demand the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) to immediately ask the Supreme Court to cite the Luisita management in contempt of court following what she called established machinations of the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Hacienda Luisita despite a standing order from the high court effectively stopping the management from pursuing any kind of development inside Luisita while the temporary restraining order is still in effect and the land dispute is still being resolved by the high tribunal.