Akbayan Party-list today decried the “deep and expanded network of crime and corruption” in relation to the pork barrel scam as the Sandigan Bayan hearings revealed the critical role of Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) chief and former Congresswoman Zenaida Ducut in Janet Napoles’ operations in the Lower House, and the involvement of mayors in pillaging the pork barrel for personal gain.
“The more we dig, the deeper and the broader the network of crime and corruption we find in the pork barrel scam. It is utterly reprehensible Napoles penetrated different levels of public office from the Senate to the Lower House and down to local government units. There really should be no way out for everyone that has been implicated thus far,” Akbayan Representative Barry Gutierrez said.
“Napoles was in cahoots even with local government officials that previously claimed to have been duped in the pork barrel scam. We are bracing for a more extensive list of mayors and local government officials involved with Napoles. The only way to clean the government of such massive, institutionalized corruption is to weed every single player out and send them to jail,” Gutierrez added.
Akbayan Partylist has expressed extreme disappointment over the executive orders issued by President Aquino, saying they fail to protect the interests of the coco farmers on matters relating to the use of the P71 billion coco levy fund and assets.
"We are disappointed that the signed EOs failed to provide adequate benefits and uplift the lives of the coco farmers who are among the country's poorest," Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez said.
"Even as the EOs reiterated that the coco levy assets are 'solely and exclusively for the benefit of all the coconut farmers and for the development of the coconut industry', the orders failed on two levels to the prejudice of the farmers," the Akbayan solon added.
Akbayan, in particular, said that the rules guiding the sale and privatization of the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) is "unlawful as it clearly violates the express provision of Presidential Decree No. 755 on the intention behind the UCPB acquisition."
By virtue of PD 755, the UCPB was acquired to provide frequently cash-strapped and capital-short farmers with the necessary credit support at farmer-friendly interest rates.
A month and a half after the tragic Mamasapano encounter that resulted in the death of 67 Filipinos, the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Board of Inquiry (BOI) report was released today. Amid public suspicion and fear that the report would be a cover up, Akbayan appreciates the efforts of the BOI to address many of the important questions that have lingered since day one. However, the report also raises new important questions and points of action that we hope the Aquino administration will faithfully address as the nation seeks to move on from this tragic event and resume the momentum for reform in the administration’s remaining 15 months.
Amidst the finger-pointing and blame-dodging that has unfortunately characterized public discourse about the Mamasapano encounter in recent weeks; the BOI does not mince words. Rather, it places accountability squarely on those in command of the mission. Aside from former Special Action Force (SAF) commander, Director Getulio Napeñas, the BOI also placed strong blame on now resigned PNP Chief Alan Purisima, who, despite being suspended by the Ombudsman and relieved of all duties at that time, was directly involved in the operation.
March 16, 2015
Mr. Speaker, dear colleagues:
I stand before you today to give some parting words on the occasion of my resigning from this august body, which will be effective on March 19.
As you all probably know by now, I am resigning from the House because I can no longer support my party’s stand of supporting the president. According to our party’s code of conduct, the representative in the House of Akbayan is tasked with promoting the official views of the party on fundamental policy issues. When he or she can no longer support the party’s position on these issues, there remains only one way to resolve the impasse, and that is for him to resign. I deeply respect my party’s leadership, and it is with the utmost regret that I have decided to make this move.
Since the reasons for my withdrawal of support from the president are now very well known, largely because the speech I intended to deliver last Wednesday has been widely circulated on the internet, I would like to spend the next few minutes on other matters.
Akbayan on Walden Bello’s resignation as party-list representative
Akbayan is saddened by Rep. Walden Bello's irrevocable decision to resign as our party representative. He has provided sterling leadership to our Party in and out of Congress. He has led some of Akbayan's important struggles and victories through the years. He has been with us in fighting for land reform, Reproductive Health, the Freedom of Information bill, the Anti-Discrimination bill, to name a few. He has also led the party's efforts to protect the country’s sovereignty and ensure the well-being of Filipino workers in the Philippines and overseas.
His decision to resign as party representative is yet another act of leadership and statesmanship on his part. It is an example of how sincere activists handle principled differences. It is an act that reiterates Akbayan's principles of full and radical democracy practiced in a context of accountability, critical engagement and vigorous struggle.
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