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Joint Statement: On NDF Negotiator Luis Jalandoni’s attacks against AKBAYAN August 24, 2004

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The CPP-NDF’s renewed attacks on AKBAYAN only serve to once again highlight the dangerous and narrow mindset that the CPP-NDF has adopted in dealing with progressive forces like AKBAYAN, which have been upfront and vocal of their criticism of the CPP-NDF’s excesses.

Even as AKBAYAN consolidates as a political party, expands and strengthens its electoral performance, the CPP-NDF desperately tries to paint a picture of AKBAYAN as being outside the progressive movement. But outside of the CPP-NDF, hardly anyone accepts such an intolerant and arrogant assertion.

We have said it before and we say it again: the CPP-NDF has no exclusive franchise on progressive politics and the articulation of the masses’ interests. Its long practice, in fact, has put the question of its “progressive politics” in question.

The truth is, it is AKBAYAN’s consistency in denouncing excesses and abuses on the part of the government as well as the CPP-NDF, which makes us a target of the CPP-NDF’s wrath. This is the reason why they have considered AKBAYAN leaders and members as fair game for armed retaliation. They have already taken on this line of argument when they killed several AKBAYAN peasant leaders in Bondoc Peninsula and an Akbayan Barangay Captain in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte.

The CPP-NDF refuses to accept legitimate criticism against practices that violate the tenets of human rights and international humanitarian law, which they claim to adhere to. They resort to extravagant and farfetched conspiracy theories to combat other progressive forces, especially AKBAYAN. Instead of focusing on issues and programs, they would rather violate the sanctity of an individual’s home by putting up threatening posters on the gates, as they have done with Rep. Etta Rosales back in May. Likewise, they would rather kill local AKBAYAN leaders who fight for good governance and social justice through peaceful and legitimate means.

It is the principles of pluralism and tolerance, which are not catchwords but breathing, everyday practices which AKBAYAN lives up to, which allows us to thrive despite harassment from the CPP-NDF. We believe that it is only in the open market of ideas that one can truly prove the worth and tenacity of one’s ideas, and never through machismo and violence.

The CPP-NDF must accept that a critique of its human rights record, not only from AKBAYAN but also from respected groups like Amnesty International, does not automatically make one a front for the military. Instead of accusing, the CPP-NDF is well advised to look itself in the mirror and evaluate its history of violence and prejudice against those who do not share its views. Instead of its continued silence the CPP-NDF should instead answer the issue raised in Amnesty International’s Human Rights Report if it is truly sincere in its pursuit of peace and social justice.

It is sad that the CPP-NDF has to resort to gutter-level attacks against Hontiveros as a person instead of battling our representatives on the basis of issues. Nevertheless, we challenge the CPP-NDF to take stock of its political positioning, especially in regard to the stalled peace talks. Its declaration, and subsequent retraction of an offer to enter into a coalition government with the current administration smacks of blatant opportunism, which one would not expect of a party genuinely interested in peace talks as a process to resolve the long-standing ills of society.

Its refusal to be accountable for its continued practice of extortion through the NPA’s permit-to-campaign fees and its violent interference in elections, which it claims it does not believe in reveal an inconsistency in the CPP-NDF’s stance that it faithfully adheres to the principles of freedom of expression, movement, association and thought.

The murder of poor, landless peasant and village leaders who seek social reforms through peaceful legitimate means, that reveal cracks in the movement that are not only damaging but totally incompatible with the very basic principles and foundations that the CPP-NDF were earlier supposedly built upon.

Rep. Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Rep. Mario Joyo Aguja
Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel
AKBAYAN Party-List
House of Representatives

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On the Party-List Representation to the Commission on Appointments August 17, 2004

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AKBAYAN Representative Loretta Ann P. Rosales says that AKBAYAN welcomes and supports the election of party-list representatives to the Commission on Appointments (CA) and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) as mandated by the Constitution. Rosales clarified news reports out over the weekend over the supposed choice of party-list representatives to the CA and the HRET.

“It is about time to carry out the constitutional provision on the inclusion of the party -list representative in the CA and the HRET. AKBAYAN welcomes the move to realize this provision now. We believe, however, that for the process to be effective, selection of the PL representative must be inclusive and participatory. Nonetheless, we will support the party-list representative in the CA and HRET regardless of who may be chosen.”

Reacting to rumors that AKBAYAN was not invited in the discussion for the party-list representation in the tribunal and the CA, Rosales clarified that indeed, Akbayan and other party-list groups were not invited in the initial round of the selection process. She pointed, however, that the bigger issue is the PL representation itself rather than who gets to sit in the bodies.

“I think the more urgent concern is the unity of the party-list groups. We, in Akbayan support those party list members who participated in the selection process. We also hope that beyond this process, discussions among the party-list groups will be more inclusive as has been the practice under the party -list caucus for the past six years.”

In an open letter addressed to the members of the House of Representatives, Rosales called on the party-list lawmakers to unite and support such a move so that the party-list groups may be in a better position to address long-term issues particularly the amendment of the party-list law. ***

Paglaglag ng US sa Pinas mula sa Iraq, “blessing in disguise” August 10, 2004

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Ikinatuwiran ni AKBAYAN Party-List Representative Loretta Ann P. Rosales na ang paglaglag ng Estados Unidos sa Pilipinas mula sa Coalition of the Willing sa Iraq ay isang ‘blessing in disguise’ na dapat ay ikatuwa at ipagmalaki ng bansa.

Ayon kay Rosales, “Ang giyera sa Iraq ay napatunayan nang ibinase sa kasinungalingan.” Dagdag pa ni Rosales, “Ayon sa pagaaral ng US Senate Committee on Intelligence, walang matibay na ebidensyang nakitang maguugnay kay Saddam Hussein sa mga grupong terorista, at walang nakitang weapons of mass destruction sa Iraq hanggang ngayon. Kaya nga ang karamihan mismo ng mga Amerikano ngayon ay nagiisip na ang giyera sa Iraq ay hindi na kinailangan talaga.”

“Kahit gaano kasama si Saddam Hussein, ang United Nations sa ilalim ng prinsipyo ng pandaigdigang batas at hindi ang Estados Unidos lamang ang may karapatang pasukin ang Iraq,” paliwanag pa ni Rosales.

Para kay Rosales, nararapat lamang na tumayong mag-isa ang bansa sa kaniyang patakarang panlabas at itigil na ang pagsunod sa polisiya ng Estados Unidos. “Sa ganitong paraan, mas mapo-protektahan natin ang buhay at interes ng milyon-milyon nating mga kababayan di lang sa Gitnang Silangan kundi saan man sa mundo kung saan may banta ng terorismo.”

Idinagdag pa ni Rosales “Mas mabuti nang inilaglag tayo ng Estados Unidos mula sa Coalition of the Willing dahil sa ating pagnanais na isalba ang buhay ng isang tao kaysa naman patuloy nating isugal ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan para sa isang giyerang ilegal at imoral.”

“Blessing in disguise ang pagtanggal sa atin mula sa Coalition of the Willing dahil ngayon, pwede nang itama ng gubyerno ang maling polisiya nito na bulag na sumuporta sa giyera sa Iraq. Mula ngayon, dapat sundin nito ang mga polisiyang panlabas na maglalagay sa interes ng ating mga OFW nang higit sa lahat,” ani Rosales.

35 solons push for diplomatic protest against Australia for comments on Iraq pullout decision August 5, 2004

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AKBAYAN Party-List Representatives Loretta Ann Rosales, Mario Aguja and Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel today filed House Resolution 88 which calls on the Executive Department to register a strong diplomatic protest against the remarks made by Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Prime Minister John Howard on the issue of Philippine pull out from Iraq.

Rosales had earlier strongly denounced Canberra’s comments on the pullout as its top officials accused the Philippines of emboldening terrorists to take more hostages after the country pulled out of Iraq following the abduction of Angelo de la Cruz.

“It is not enough that the government rebuke Downer and Howard’s remarks, we must register a strong and formal opposition to such insults as it undermines and disrespects our sovereignty,” Rosales said. HR 88 is urging the Executive, through the DFA, for the recall of the Philippine Ambassador for “consultations on the matter towards a review of the Philippine Foreign policy.”

Hontiveros-Baraquel for her part added , “Letting the Australian remarks pass by with no specific action on our part has only solicited the same condescending remarks from other countries such as Singapore which also belittled the wisdom of our pullout from Iraq.”

Aguja said that the war in Iraq has been founded on lies. “The war in Iraq remains unpopular and dubious to most Americans, the support our government had been misplaced all along, so a pullout was not a dishonorable exit from a justified war, but a justified exit from a dishonorable war.”

House Resolution 88 is expected to draw more signatures in today’s session of the Lower House. HR 88 states that “blaming the Philippines for the surge in kidnappings in Iraq and the fresh wave of threats against Australia have no factual and logical basis,” and that the criticisms of the two Australian officials seem “intended to deflect domestic pressure from a home-grown inquiry into Australia’s policy towards Iraq.”

The office of Rep. Rosales today sent an official letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs seeking an update on the DFA’s Aide Memoir to Ambassador Ruth Pearce and a clarification of the agency’s earlier pronouncement about issuing a formal protest to the Australian government. ***