Wenceslao: Makabayan bloc’s protest

THE ritual that is the State of the Nation Address (Sona) is no longer just about the president who delivers it. Because virtually all media outlets cover the Sona, everyone—politicians, political groups, militants, civil society—attempts to wiggle in to grab even a bit of the limelight. But there’s nothing illegal there.

If the Sona were a telenovela, militants are, by tradition, the kontrabidas to the president’s bida. Or at least that is what has been happening in the past few decades.

The logic hews to this Robert Evans quote: “There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth.” During the Sona, government presents its good side; the political opposition and militants present the bad. The hope is that the public could ferret out the truth.

When President Noynoy Aquino delivered his Sona at the Batasang Pampnasa Complex in Quezon City last Monday, militants also did their traditional march and rally outside. But there was a twist there: seven members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives surreptitiously brought in anti-Aquino placards and flashed them at the end part of the President’s speech.

Some lawmakers belonging to the ruling Liberal Party (LP) labeled the act as unethical and called on the House ethics committee to find out if congressional rules were violated.

"We will confer with House leadership and other on the liability of some of our colleagues who initiated that stunt to embarrass our guest (PNoy). We respect their rights to express our grievances. But there are other ways to do it without resorting to unparliamentary behavior," Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said.

It’s an internal matter so it is up to the House leadership to do what it wants to. But I think it is a small issue—it even went almost unnoticed had not media cameras not caught it and other lawmakers, including Senate President Franklin Drilon, not booed it.

And I agree with Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares about this freedom of expression thing.

“(If) our colleague are free to express their wholehearted support for President Aquino, we also have the freedom to tell the people that the much-vaunted economic development isn’t felt by the poor and the hungry, and the contractualized workers who are disempowered from striking, the Yolanda victims who don’t have shelters until now…,” Colmenares was quoted by gmanetwork.com as saying.


I have long been critical of the manner the Left is conducting the open and legal mass struggle, which includes participation in the electoral battles. Among what I consider its recent “errors” was its aligning with then senator Manuel Villar in the 2010 presidential polls and militant party-list groups accepting their pork barrel allocations.

Posted on Facebook recently was the supposed reaction of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan’s (Bayan) Renato Reyes to legitimate questions from a netizen, one of which was why Bayan has not been protesting against Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is facing corruption, even plunder, charges. Instead of answering, Reyes simply blocked the netizen’s account.

Indeed, even as militant groups upped the decibel of their criticisms of the Aquino administration several notches, their dealings with corrupt politicians have been perceived as inadequate. I think this is a product of a wrong appraisal of the Aquino administration.

When they set Aquino’s ouster as their goal starting I think a couple of years ago, they had to focus all their firepower on him. But Aquino is no Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; he has not been linked to corrupt acts. On the other hand, it is people like Vice President Jejomar Binay, the three jailed senators, etc. who are the subject of the people’s ire.

The problem with the Left, I would say, is the errors it has been committing.



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