by Rhodina Villanueva – The Philippine Star, 20 Oct 2021
MANILA, Philippines — A female peasant group has decried the fake party-list groups that emerged during the filing of certificates of candidacy for the next year’s elections.
The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women said that among the candidates of these party-lists groups are members of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which red-tagged lawmakers, progressive groups and critics of the Duterte administration.
The group said the move was a blatant grab for power by Duterte administration cronies, shrinking the already scarce space for marginalized sectors’ voices in government.
“Worse is, they undermine the principles behind Republic Act 7941 or the Party-list Act, and utilize the system for counter-insurgency and further marginalization of poor sectors in the country,” said Amihan national chair Zenaida Soriano.
“To them, a party-list is just a placeholder title to grab a seat in Congress and further their political ambitions. But for many marginalized sectors, it is their only chance to have genuine representation in a government dominated and controlled by the ruling elite,” Soriano added.
She said the NTF-ELCAC is trying to consolidate power by pushing genuine representation in Congress.
“How could they possibly raise the plight of the people when they themselves are the oppressors?”
There were 270 party-list groups that filed their CONA or certificate of nomination and acceptance.
Celine Pialago, spokesperson for the NTF-ELCAC, is the first nominee of the Malasakit Movement partylist, which claims to represent barangay frontliners.
Another candidate working for the NTF-ELCAC is Jeffrey Celiz, first nominee of Abante Sambayanan, which aims to represent former communist fighters.
Meanwhile, Mocha Uson, a former official of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, is first nominee of Mothers for Change party-list alongside second nominee Michelle Gumabao, a former beauty queen who now works as NTF-ELCAC ambassador.
“Progressive party-lists have been red-tagged and accused of being mere fronts for the CPP and NPA. But at the end of the day, they are the ones who actually work with peasants, farmers, laborers, the urban poor and other marginalized sectors, raising their issues in civic and public platforms. They are not the ones who are fake,” Soriano said.
Amihan warned that giving congressional seats to those with known links to the government’s counterinsurgency arms would worsen the red-tagging of progressives, activists and community organizers.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) urged the public to fight fake news after one of its commissioners, Rowena Guanzon, fell victim to false information on social media. A false information claimed Guanzon was pushing to scrap the May 2022 presidential elections.
“Commissioner Guanzon is not, repeat not, recommending that the 2022 national and local elections be scrapped. This Adobo Chronicles report stating otherwise is obviously #fakenews. #fightfake,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez posted on Twitter.
Jimenez was reacting to an article posted on “Adobo Chronicles” with the headline “Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon wants to scrap 2022 presidential elections.”
Twitter user Bel Pantig Olaño Jr. (@the_gogs) responded to Jimenez’s tweet, saying the online website “Adobo Chronicles” is a satire website similar to the US version of “The Onion” as he presented to be the spokesman of the page’s disclaimer.
“If you want to excuse it as a satire simply on the basis of a disclaimer rather than looking at the totality of the positing, that’s your call. Notice that my warning was specific to the post, not the entire site. And it’s still #fakenews. #fightfake,” Jimenez said in response to Olaño. – Robertzon Ramirez