Hontiveros and Casiño

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Monday, December 3, 2012


I AM still stomped as to why two factions of the Left are engaged in a “war” to annihilate each other when both are pushing for unselfish causes. I had a “chat” with a friend identified with the party-list group Akbayan and was surprised when she expressed the hope that the militant Left won’t use violence against them, notably in the countryside.

It’s sad, but I will continue to insist that both factions would be better off working with each other than against each other, that is, if they really want to advance their pro-people causes. In the meantime, I would push for their bets for senator in the 2013 polls.

I am referring to Teodoro “Teddy” Casiño of the party-list group Bayan Muna and Risa Hontiveros of Akbayan. With the Senate already controlled by traditional politicians (trapos) and showbiz and dynastic types, having both Casiño and Hontiveros in that chamber would be a refreshing development. Both are fluent advocates of pro-people causes.

I have written about Casiño before, mainly on his decision to run virtually on his own under the militant Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan), which is a departure from the left’s decision to hook up with the Nacionalista Party of presidential bet Manuel Villar when it fielded Liza Maza and Satur Ocampo as its senatorial candidates in 2010.

It was an error that Casiño and his group obviously do not want to repeat next year. That was what I initially thought. I may have spoken too soon because last month Makabayan endorsed five “guest” senatorial candidates: Loren Legarda and Francis “Chiz” Escudero of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III of PDP-Laban, Cynthia Villar of the Nacionalista Party and Grace Poe Llamanzares.

Some Makabayan supporters frowned on the move despite the group’s justification that the senatorial bets it is propping up share the same advocacies it is espousing. The argument against it is that the alliance will once more dilute the pure intention of Makabayan. What is in the minds of Makabayan strategists is obvious: winning is the only thing.

Despite this latest bump, I still would support Casiño. He is young and has been the face of militant politics for many years now. He knows how to play the game without compromising his group’s basic principles. Even former congressman Antonio Cuenco praised Casiño as a legislator.

It would have been good if Makabayan added Hontiveros as one of its guest senatorial candidates. If you can be bedfellows with trapos, why can’t you not be one with a fellow “traveler”?

Hontiveros almost won in the senatorial race in 2010 when her group hooked up with the Liberal Party of the front runner in the presidential elections then, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. She was 13th, placing higher than Maza, who was in 25th place, and Ocampo who was 26th. Akbayan later gained political clout in Malacañang because of its alliance with PNoy.

Of course, Akbayan is in the same boat with Makabayan as far as political strategy is concerned. But the former is not placed on the same pedestal as the latter, which revels in the “purity” of its politics. Akbayan and Hontiveros can be considered as moderates. That is not a rap on the honesty of their intention to advance the people’s agenda but is merely intended to differentiate them with Makabayan.

Casiño and Hontiveros top my list of favorite 2010 senatorial bets.

(khanwens@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 04, 2012.

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