tom villarinI. Reaction to the swift and summary dismissal of the Alejano impeachment complaint for “insufficiency of substance”

Just as we have feared, the complaint was dismissed swiftly and methodically. The mood of the House leadership is to make the complaint moot by sheer numbers and not merits.

It would be oppressive for the House even to mull the filing of a perjury and ethics case against Rep. Alejano, who only wanted to be given his day in a proper impeachment proceeding. The unanimous vote by 42 members of the Justice committee showed their muscle but going beyond that is tantamount to bullying a decent member of the House.

If Rep. Alejano goes to the ICC as a court of last resort against the President, then let him be. Such institution is devoid of politics and composed of renowned international jurists. If the ICC takes on his complaint for judicial review and orders an investigation, then woe to us who turned a blind eye to justice and fair play.


II. Qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries should not be left out in the investigation of the TADECO-BuCor Joint Venture Agreemeny

If proponents of the investigation are genuine advocates of agrarian reform, then all lands covered by CARP must be probed, not just TADECO. Otherwise, this might be misconstrued as a petty squabble between rivals, and nothing more.


III. On the constitutionality of Joint Exploration Development in the Spratlys

Every concession we make with China shortens our end of the stick. While we all detest any form of escalation, our sovereignty, bolstered by the rule of law, must be the top priority of this government. Nothing comes for free, not even those Chinese deals, no matter how sweet they can be.


IV. Full implementation of the Reproductive Health Law is extremely jeopardized by the Supreme Court’s delay in finally resolving the FDA’s certification of contraceptives

The longer we wait, more lives of Filipinas will be put on risk. Opponents of the RH law should know that some of those they consider as mere contraceptives are in fact used to treat women with medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Therefore, the Supreme Court must be prompted to reverse the TRO, as it is an injustice for everyone who value the primacy not only of choice, but of the Filipina's life itself.


akbayan2014Akbayan welcomes the release of compensation for the victims of the Marcos dictatorship at a time when his image is being rehabilitated through lies and propaganda, while his namesake, rejected by a majority of Filipinos, is doing everything he can to undermine the duly elected Vice President who beat him at the polls.

Under the Marcos Human Rights Victims Reparation Act which Akbayan principally authored, the government recognizes the abuses and plunder of dictatorship during Martial Law. This law is not just about the money but the historical recognition that Marcos, buried as a hero by the Duterte administration, was a tyrant under whom thousands were killed, tortured or disappeared.

This law also reminds us that much needs to be done in terms of holding the Marcos family to account for their part in Martial Law. The Marcos children were not innocent bystanders but participants or complicit beneficiaries of dictatorship. They have been part of efforts to cover up the paper trail and keep the remaining ill-gotten wealth away from government recovery efforts.

We must also remember that this administration has undermined the realities of what Marcos stands for. By accepting their campaign donation, burying the father alongside soldiers who actually died for the country, and dangling the son as possible appointee to executive positions. This concerted effort to revise history and restore to power the very same family that the broad movement for democracy ousted in 86, should not be lost to those who seek to defend the country from any and all possible dictators in the future.

Strengthening the Marcoses as a legitimate political force instead of holding them accountable and hauling them to jail, can only be the actuations of those who seek to emulate their rule. This legitimization must be rejected at all turns, and the release of Marcos victims' compensation should offer the Filipino people a moment to pause, and reflect why we must all never allow Martial Law to happen again.

bato delarosa 082216PNP Chief Bato de la Rosa has backtracked from defending the secret jails but not from defending the indefensibility of police officials under his supervision.

Akbayan urges the PNP Chief to clean ranks and instill the necessary diiscipline to follow not just the PNP's manual of operations and terms of engagement, but to educate himself and his officers on the Constitution. We reiterate our call for the PNP Chief to pursue an impartial but thorough investigation into the secret jail incident and uncover any similar practices of torture and inhumane treatment of suspects.

The PNP Chief will be better served by a healthy dose of genuine humility by admitting the campaign against drugs has resulted in unacceptable excesses, not only in the deplorable secret jail discovered by the CHR, but also the unnecessary loss of thousands of lives.

PNP Chief de la Rosa instead of defending his men, should instead focus on demonstrating proof that these killings are being addressed, their perpetrators being brought to justice, and the killings must stop. 

This secret jail is only the latest symptom to indicate that the campaign against drugs is spiraling out of control, and remedies have to be taken to ensure no more lives are wasted or even degraded because of it.

duterte trumpAkbayan party-list believes that the Trump invitation for President Duterte to the White House is neither a compliment nor an achieveent in foreign policy.

One, Trump suffers from the lowest domestic approval ratings historically, meaning his actions and policies are not supported by a broad swath of the American people who have recently turned out in hundreds of thousands to denounce his policies on immigration, climate change and minorities.

Second, the invitation was spontaneously extended and was met with reported opposition from the US State Department and National Security Council, policy-making bodies that monitor human rights issues in countries like the Philippines.

Third, Trump has been known to cozy up to dictators and other autocratic heads of states such as Vladimir Putin of Russia, whose government has been cracking down on dissidents and activists; Bashir al-Assad of Syria who is responsible for the murder of thousands of Syrians and driving millions to cross dangerous waters to escape into Europe; and Xi Jinping of China who has been militarizing the West Philippine Sea.

mayo 1Akbayan party-list today joins SENTRO and Nagkaisa coaliton in commemorating Labor Day, joining calls for security of jobs instead of death and violence against the poor.

The working class has a right to decent wages and continuously improving living conditions, which seem to have been lost in the noise of violence and death surrounding their poverty-stricken communities with a violent, cruel campaign on drugs victimizing the poor.

The government instead needs to prioritize the creation of jobs and livelihoods not a myopic drug campaign that kills the poor. 

Dahil pagkatapos ng isang taon sa puwesto wala pa ding maipakitang konkretong plano ang gubyerno kung paano sosolusyunan ang kahirapan na siyang ugat ng droga at krimen sa lipunan. 

We dare the Duterte administration to follow through on its commitment to solve the rampant problem of contractualization in the country, kung saan naiiwang lugi ang mga manggagawa habang nakakatakas sa responsibilidad ang mga kapitalista sa pagbabayad ng tamang sahod, buwis at benepisyo.

Ang bawat nanay, tatay, kuya at ate na nagtatrabaho para  sa kinabukasan ng kanilang pamilya ay nakukulong sa kahirapan dahil kada anim na buwan ay kailangan nilang maghanap ng panibagong trabaho. Workers who do not have to fear the uncertainty of layoffs, redundancy and retrenchent every six months are in a better position to provide for their families.  

Hindi mangagagawa at hindi mga unyon ang kalaban, kundi ang di-pantay na lipunan kung saan patuloy na naghihirap ang manggagawa habang iilan lamang ang patuloy na lumalangoy sa sobrang kita. This government therefore needs to demonstrate that it can decisively deflect the lobbying of elites such as  employers groups, taipans and conglomerates that funded its electoral bid and side with workers in their pursuit of justice against oppression. 

Instead what has so far been achieved is only to inflict violence, fear, hatred and death on Filipino workers. Instead of pushing more workers out of poverty, Duterte said it was only natural for poor people to die in the drug war. Instead of promoting unity and harmony, the administration has pursued cruel and inhumane legislation on death penalty and the Batang Bilanggo bill.

Akbayan instead calls for the certification as urgent of its security of tenure bill lodged in Congress, as the appropriate solution, not keeping workers in suspense with promises timed for Labor Day. There is an entire suite of legislative proposals pending in both houses of Congress that will advance workers' rights, aside from that which deals with cntractualization. Other bills such as on strengthening workers' rights to organize, bills on occupational safety, and the bill epxanding the period for maternity leave for working mothers -- all deserve support as they alleviate the working class's plight one step at a time.

Ang karapatan ng manggagawa ay mapoprotektahan lamang kung ito ay batas, at hindi nakadepende sa pangako lamang ng pangulo. Dahil walang magiging kalayaan para sa uring manggagawa kung patuloy lamang ang gubyerno sa pagsamba sa altar ng kamatayan at kakalungin lamang ang mga mandarambong na alyado sa pulitika.