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Why leftist solons Ocampo, Maza joined NP
In The Press Posted on December 10th, 2009.
MANILA, Philippines — The Nacionalista Party (NP) was the only political group that welcomed the leftist Bayan Muna and its “Makabayan (Nationalist)” platform, according to Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo, adding this was the main reason why he and Rep. Liza Maza joined the party.
NP standard-bearer Manny Villar “welcomed Liza Maza (of Gabriela) and me to be NP guest senatorial candidates” in the May 2010 election, Ocampo told the Inquirer yesterday. But Liberal Party presidential candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino “gave no such opening for us in the LP senatorial slate,” he added.
“Among all the presidential aspirants in the opposition we talked with, Manny Villar, Loren Legarda and Francis “Chiz” Escudero came closest to agreeing with our Makabayan platform. Loren and Chiz later dropped out, so we pursued talks with Manny and also Noynoy. We had talked with (Sen.) Mar Roxas earlier,” Ocampo said.
Ocampo and Maza had initially planned to contest Senate seats under the NP but they reconsidered after Villar’s party forged an alliance with the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL).
Later, the NP set aside its alliance with the KBL “due to issues internal to the KBL.” But it was widely speculated that the two leftist leaders’ insistence on a breakup as a condition for their joining the NP ticket prompted the move.
KBL Rep. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. had welcomed the prospect of working with activists like Ocampo, who was imprisoned by the martial law regime of his father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, in the 1970s.
According to the younger Marcos, “despite what differences we may have and other things, the main issues we agree on are what’s important.”
Marcos will remain on the NP senatorial lineup as a guest candidate, according to party spokesperson Gilbert Remulla.
Ocampo and Maza had filed their certificates of candidacy as independent senatorial candidates under Makabayan, a coalition formed by militant groups as their political vehicle for the 2010 elections.
Bayan Muna, which topped the 2001 and 2004 party-list polls, was formed on Sept. 25, 1999 by several organizations which laid the ground for what they called a “new alternative party in Philippine politics.”
The new party was the “message and embodiment of all the ideas and ideals it seeks to assert—people first, their interests and welfare above all,” said the Bayan Muna website.
Under its Makabayan platform, the party aims to “assert national sovereignty and independence from foreign domination and control; promote a self-reliant and sustainable socio-economic development through genuine land reform, national industrialization and protection of the environment;
Uphold the social and economic welfare of workers, peasants and other marginalized sectors; guarantee the right to self-determination of the Bangsa Moro, Cordillera and other indigenous peoples; and advance a comprehensive policy on peace negotiations.
According to Ocampo, the party embodied the “aspirations of the most oppressed and the least heard—workers, peasants, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, urban poor and other downtrodden Filipinos.”