An open letter to all my friends
As you may probably know, I have been nominated as Bayan Muna’s second nominee for the 2016 partylist elections. This will be my fourth run for a congressional seat, having been Bayan Muna’s representative in Congress from 2004-2013.
To be honest, I have mixed feelings about going back to Congress. Having been in the “belly of the beast” for three consecutive terms, I am only too aware of the frustrations the job can bring to one who is committed to a platform of genuine reform and social change. The recent incident where Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares’ microphone was turned off and the plenary session abruptly adjourned to avoid a vote on Pres. Aquino’s veto on the SSS pension hike vividly demonstrates who the real bosses are in this supposed “House of the People” and how they will not hesitate to break their own rules to prevent pro-people laws from being passed. It’s the same story for the anti-dynasty bill, the freedom of information act, the income tax reduction bill and other socially-oriented legislation. Seeing Neri weep in public, I could only wonder if I can still endure such pain.
But then again there are gains and victories that can still be achieved in Congress. In the last 15 years, Bayan Muna has proven that it can raise the level of debate and discussion in Congress by bringing to the table the issues, concerns and standpoint of our marginalized and oppressed sectors. Because of this, we have earned the grudging respect of even our most reactionary colleagues in both houses of Congress.
Our representatives have proven their worth – whether in the areas of legislation, oversight or budget deliberations. We have become the people’s eyes, ears and mouths in Congress. Performing this role has given me much fulfillment in the midst of many frustrations. As an activist, I cannot let whatever little democratic space there is left unused. Being in Congress provides many opportunity to push for our people’s aspirations for a more just, democratic, peaceful and prosperous Philippines.
And so yes, I am running again as Bayan Muna’s nominee for the 2016 elections. And once again, I am seeking your support in this endeavor. I will need not only your vote but your help in telling others about me, my party and the need for progressives in a reactionary, elite-dominated Congress.
If you vote for Bayan Muna as your partylist representative, be assured that you will be electing a party that takes its name seriously. Bayan Muna – ang kapakanan ng karamihan, hindi ng iilan. Ang interes ng bayan, hindi ng dayuhan.
At a time when government has become controlled by political dynasties and held hostage by oligarchs and vested foreign interests, we need leaders who will imbibe the essence of Bayan Muna. In word and in deed.
May I also ask you to please vote Neri Colmenares for senator. An honest individual, a brilliant lawyer and a tried and tested servant of the people, Neri deserves nothing less than our fullest support. The Senate desperately needs someone like him.
Maraming salamat po!