2013 elections, Governance, Human rights

Bellofied!

Being “Bellofied” is fatal.

Red-baiting on national TV last week was Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello. Lacking a solid argument to explain why his group should not be disallowed from participating in the 2013 party-list elections, Bello claimed that those seeking their disqualification want him dead. “Actually, yung disqualification, secondary option lang nila ‘yan. Yung primary option, physical elimination namin,” Bello declared. Host Anthony Taberna asked Bello if he is accusing youth group Anakbayan, which asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify Akbayan, of plotting to kill him. “Alam naman natin na front group sila ng extreme Left. And the extreme Left in 2005 targeted me as a counter-revolutionary to be eliminated,” Bello retorted. He then went on to name Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) as another front organization. “So let’s face it, let’s put it on the table… like KMU, front groups sila ng extreme Left,” claimed Bello. (Watch the full video below)

Well, Anakbayan and KMU just got “Bellofied”. Don’t mistake it with being Belofied, the Belo Medical Group’s digital makeover that gives a preview of how you will look like after undergoing a cosmetic procedure. But being Bellofied also transforms you – from a legal organization to a communist front. Being Belofied is fun, being Bellofied is fatal. Hundreds of activists from Anakbayan, KMU and other organizations who have been Bellofied were either shot dead or abducted under government’s counterinsurgency campaign Oplan Bantay Laya and Oplan Bayanihan. Being Bellofied will land you an appointment not with a cosmetic surgeon but with a heartless butcher.

Anakbayan, KMU and other national democratic organizations and their allies (the “extreme Left”, said Bello) have been constantly Bellofied by Walden and his cohorts at Akbayan. In January 2005, the Bangkok-based Focus on the Global South of which Bello was then an executive director, asked KMU, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Migrante, the International Peoples Struggles (ILPS) and others to “apply moral suasion” on the leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA). The statement was issued after Bello and former Akbayan Rep. and now Noynoy Aquino-appointee Etta Rosales claimed that they have been targeted for assassination by the NPA. Their basis? A diagram of Filipino counter-revolutionary groups and their international links that appeared on the December 7, 2004 issue of Ang Bayan, the CPP’s official publication and downloadable from its website. Bello and Akbayan’s line echoed the propaganda of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which has been carrying out assassinations and abductions of legitimate political activists.

The supposed threat to Bello’s life courtesy of the CPP-NPA has never materialized. But leaders and members of organizations Walden Bellofied, those he accused of being CPP-NPA fronts, have been killed or abducted, never to be seen again. Think of Jonas Burgos. Think of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño. Think of the many activists that fell in the hands of Jovito Palparan. During the 2010 polls, Akbayan again resorted to Bellofying as part of its black propaganda campaign against then senatorial bets Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza. Refresh your memory how Risa Hontiveros Bellofied the candidates of Makabayan.

Aside from Bellofying, Walden also accused Anakbayan and its allies of simply being inggit because Akbayan made them irrelevant. “Ang problema nito – hindi nila inilalabas sa complaint na galing ito sa inggit kasi napaka-effective ng Akbayan in representing the marginalized masses whereas sila at yung mga parties where they are allied, the ultra-Left, ay talagang they have been drifting into irrelevance,” Bello said. He then went on to recite a litany of supposed legislative achievements. Well, if Bello’s measure of relevance is Congress, the last time I looked, the “ultra-Left” party-list groups have seven representatives in the Lower House, Akbayan has two. But Congress is the measure of relevance only in Bello’s warped mind. The last time I looked, the national democratic movement is still the single most potent political force in the country that can mobilize the biggest number of people on Sona or May 1. The last time I looked, it was Bayan Muna, Kabataan, Anakbayan, KMU, Bayan and others that were at the forefront (together with concerned netizens) in the fight against the Cybercrime Law, both inside the Supreme Court (SC), along Padre Faura and on Facebook and on Twitter, while Akbayan was… never mind. Bello wrote a column against the Cybercrime Law? Yes, but by that time, the protests have already snowballed and Bello and Akbayan are just simply jumping on the bandwagon, lest they become irrelevant.

I don’t know why Walden could not squarely answer the question being raised by Anakbayan. It’s a fair question that even an ordinary voter without any ideological leaning could ask. Why is Akbayan – whose current and former officials and nominees are occupying high ranking presidential appointments – should still be considered marginalized and under-represented, which are the basic requirements of Republic Act (RA) 7941 or the Party-List System Act?

Akbayan used to be a pseudo-progressive party-list group. Now, they’re simply a pseudo-party-list group.

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