- About Us
Satur, pals eye Senate run
In The Press Posted on August 13th, 2009.
Source:Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — Three stalwarts of the left are aiming for higher office in 2010—from the House of Representatives up to the Senate.
Party-list Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna and Liza Maza of Gabriela trooped Thursday to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Intramuros, Manila, to register their political party, Makabayan, which would be the vehicle for their senatorial bids.
Makabayan is composed of various leftist groups, its leaders said. Bayan and Gabriela were two of these groups that worked to oust former President Joseph Estrada in 2001.
Today they are vocal critics of the current administration, and have joined hands with Estrada and other opposition figures in protests against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The three said they were running for the Senate to give voice to the marginalized sector.
Ocampo, who has served three consecutive terms in the House as the Bayan nominee, said they formed the party, which is allied with the opposition, in response to the public clamor for a reform-oriented government.
“Today we take the fight for the politics of change one step further by registering the Makabayan coalition. This coalition, whose members have been tried and tested in the last three elections, aims to make a bigger presence in the political mainstream by winning three seats in the Senate in 2010,” he said.
That Bayan and Gabriela have consistently led the party-list elections since 2001 shows there is great support for the groups and their advocacy despite the rampant killing and harassment of their members, Maza said.
From three seats in 2001—when sectoral groups representing marginalized constituents were first allowed to run—the party-list groups now have eight seats in the House.
“This merely proves that you cannot kill or defeat a movement whose time has come. Through Makabayan, we reaffirm our commitment against corrupt, repressive and elitist politics that adhere to foreign dictates, as exemplified by the Arroyo administration’s kind of politics and governance,” Maza said.
Like Ocampo, Maza’s House term ends next year, after she shall also have served three consecutive terms. Casiño has served two terms as Bayan nominee.
The three said they were unfazed by the challenges their Senate bids would pose, although they admitted they did not have the funds and political machinery of established political parties.
“Sure, we lack funds and other material resources. But we have a nationwide machinery of dedicated volunteers and activists who can run a grassroots campaign like no other. Plus, we have a voter base of around three million who have stuck with us through thick and thin since 2001,” Ocampo said.
Makabayan co-chair Maita Gomez said Maza, Ocampo and Casiño will ally themselves with opposition candidates. But they had not decided which party this would be.