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Makabayan mulls ending alliance with Duterte

Amid issues of the killings in government's drug war and the rejection of Rafael Mariano and Judy Taguiwalo as secretaries, Makabayan bloc solons say they are ready to cut ties with Pres. Rodrigo Duterte but they will wait until the meeting next week to decide on the matter. Photo from Bayan Muna party-list Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — A Makabayan bloc lawmaker on Thursday stressed President Rodrigo Duterte’s “anti-people, pro-imperialist and fascist” actions and policies have destroyed his alliance with the national democratic Leftist movement.

“We are now inclined to recommend at the National Executive Committee meeting of Makabayan next week to pull out from the alliance with the Duterte administration,” Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said Thursday during a press conference at the House of Representatives.

He said the bloc — represented at the House by Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis and ACT Teachers and Kabataan — are ready to cut ties with the administration but they will wait until the meeting next week to discuss the matter with the coalition.

Makabayan is allied with the administration PDP-Laban-led supermajority bloc although its members have voted against the reimposition of death penalty and the extension of martial law in Mindanao. Both proposals saw massive support at the House of Representatives.

“If ever the decision of Makabayan [is] to formally cut ties... the alliance with President Duterte... and if it will translate in its expression dito sa House, then understandable ‘yan. Magiging automatic ‘yan. Kaya kailangan naming pag-usapan. Hindi lang ‘yung mga kinatawan ang mag-uusap,” Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said.

The lawmakers said various issues “have torpedoed” Duterte’s alliance with the left.

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These issues include the drug-related killings under the government’s war on narcotics, the military and paramilitary attacks on Lumads and farmers, stalled peace talks and the Commission on Appointments' rejection of Judy Taguiwalo as Social Welfare secretary and Rafael Mariano as Agrarian Reform secretary.

Although the CA is a congressional body, the bloc believes that Duterte could have urged his allies to support his Cabinet secretaries.

“President Duterte should be held accountable for his unfulfilled promises and gross violations of human rights and further impoverishing the people. The people demand a stop to all vicious attacks and will continue to press for meaningful change,” Zarate said.

Zarate on Wednesday labeled the rejection of Mariano and Taguiwalo a “brazen maneuver of pro-US militarists, landlords and neo-liberals."

"Ang pangunahing naglaglag kay Ka Paeng ay si President Duterte mismo. And, with this development, the reactionary character of the Duterte regime is now fully unmasked," he added.

“President Duterte should be held accountable for his unfulfilled promises and gross violations of human rights and further impoverishing the people. The people demand a stop to all vicious attacks and will continue to press for meaningful change,” Zarate said.

Although Mariano and Taguiwalo are no longer in the Cabinet, former Gabriela party-list Rep. Liza Maza remains lead convenor of the National Anti-Poverty Commission and former Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon is head of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor. Former Anakpawis party-list Rep. Joel Maglunsod is also an undersecretary at the Department of Labor and Employment.

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