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Ocampo, Maza to run with Marcos under Villar’s NP
In The Press Posted on December 14th, 2009.
MANILA, Philippines—Talk about strange bedfellows.
Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is looking forward to having a “good working relationship” with militant party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna now that they are both senatorial candidates of the Nacionalista Party (NP).
Marcos said he was more than willing to share the stage during campaign sorties with Ocampo even if the long-time activist and Gabriela party-list Rep. Liza Maza had expressed their “misgivings” about having a Marcos in the NP senatorial ticket.
“We have our differences. Obviously in ideology to begin with,” Marcos said Monday at the Kapihan sa Manila Hotel.
But he said there were areas they could agree on, including the economic progress of the country and pulling it out of the debt crisis.
“If we continue to build on these common areas, then I think it will be a good working relationship,” he added.
Being on the same senatorial ticket would provide the two camps with the opportunity to work together “to solve the country’s problems,” Marcos said.
Marcos is the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who jailed Ocampo and other political activists during martial law.
After initially deciding to run as independents, Ocampo and Maza Monday formally joined the NP senatorial slate and decided to support its standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar and running mate Sen. Loren Legarda.
The mutual adoption between the party-list representatives and the Nacionalista Party’s top candidates came after the militants extracted a promise from the NP that it would push for the compensation of victims of human rights violations during martial law.
It also came after the NP dissolved its coalition with the dictator Marcos’ Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL).
The partnership with the KBL had been a deal breaker for the militants, who refused to join a group affiliated with the late dictator. Though the KBL is now no longer an NP partner, Marcos Jr. remains a guest candidate of the party.
With the entry of Ocampo and Maza into the NP, the party now has a full Senate slate and could count on the approximately three-million vote base of the militant groups that make up the Makabayan coalition.
The militants, in turn, could count on the backing of a national party with enough logistics to mount a national campaign.
Ocampo said he and Maza had not decided to support any other senatorial candidates of the NP.
“As of now we are not saying anything beyond this announcement of mutual adoption,” Ocampo said, although he added that he was willing to talk to the other candidates to work out common causes.
In a festive gathering at Quezon City Sports Club Monday, Villar, Legarda, Ocampo and Maza appeared together on stage to sing each other’s praises.
Villar said the partnership with the militants did not come easily, but in the end they both found out that their causes and objectives were not that different. He also said he was “extremely happy” with the development.
“If you can’t understand why we teamed up with Makabayan, you don’t understand what the Nacionalista Party is fighting for,” Villar said.
Legarda said it was time for the organized Left to join politics on a national scale.
Ocampo said that among the presidential aspirants he and Maza had talked with, Villar and Legarda’s platform was the one that meshed well with their own objectives.
Compensation for victims
In a joint statement, Ocampo and Maza said the common programs they had agreed on with the NP include compensation for martial law victims.
“Common to our platforms are the following major concerns: … giving justice and compensation to the victims of human rights abuses from the regime of martial law to the present government and the immediate implementation of the recommendations of UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Philip Alston,” they said.
Villar, in his own statement, mentioned the same. “Justice and indemnification will be provided to the victims of human rights abuses under the martial law regime as well as under succeeding governments,” he said.
Their other common platforms include the review and renegotiation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the holding of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo accountable for corruption and plunder, electoral fraud, human rights violations and other crimes; and the strengthening of agrarian reform through a comprehensive and effective land distribution program, as well as providing debt relief for farmer-beneficiaries.
Marcos thanked Villar for including him and Ocampo in the party’s senatorial slate. “It was a good idea of Sen. Manny Villar to be inclusive rather than exclusive. And this is a continuing process and a necessary process if you are really going to find solutions to the problems we have,” Marcos said.
He pointed out that Ocampo and Maza were already being considered as part of the NP senatorial slate even before it was suggested that he join the slate.