Senatorial bet Leody de Guzman, chair of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (Photo from his Facebook account)
MANILA, Philippines — A labor leader gunning for a Senate seat in the May 2019 polls urge voters not to choose between the Otso Diretso and the administration-backed slate — which he said is just choosing the “lesser evil.”
In a statement issued on Saturday, Leody de Guzman, chair of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, said his party, the Partido Lakas ng Masa, would be the third slate to break “the tyrannical Duterte regime and the Yellow elite opposition.”
The slate is composed of former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, Federation of Free Workers president Sonny Matula, and labor lawyer Allan Montaño.
“A choice for the lesser evil between elite dominated parties such as the Hugpong [ng Pagbabago] and the LP [Liberal Party] is to choose for death by hanging or by arsenic,” De Guzman said. “The workers must learn, through political experience, that should rely on themselves — not on fake messiahs such as Duterte — to win the demands for a living wage, regular jobs, rights to self-organization and collective action, and civil and political rights.”
“The coming elections, participated in by millions of ordinary workers, provides the opportunity for the sweeping mass education of the exploited,” he added.
Earlier, the possibility of Colmenares joining the Otso Diretso as a guest candidate was floated, especially after activist and comedienne Mae Paner — also known as Juana Change — called on opposition candidates to unite in order to beat the candidates endorsed by the President and his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
READ: United opposition only way to defeat admin slate – Juana Change
Colmenares said that he would open to such collaboration, noting their similar stands on key issues, such as the Chinese expansion in the West Philippine Sea, the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, and extrajudicial killings linked to the campaign against illegal drugs.
However, in a previous interview, he asserted that he was not a “dilawan” — meaning, a person who fully supports the Liberal Party and the Otso Diretso.
“I’m always open to that,” Colmenares told reporters when asked if he would consider being a part of the Otso Diretso coalition.
“You know hindi naman kami ‘dilawan.’ Ako naman kritikal lang po ako. Pag tama, tama. Pag mali, mali. Pero ngayon, ang politics ng Duterte administration is really an immediate threat — hindi lang sa oposisyon kung hindi sa mamamayan… So open po ako dyan,” he added.
[You know I’m not a yellow. I’m just critical. When it’s right, it’s right. When it’s wrong, it’s wrong. But now, the politics of the Duterte administration is really an immediate threat — not only to the opposition but also to the people… So I’m open to that.] /atm
READ: Colmenares: Elections under Duterte transcend political parties
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