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.

Red-baiting: ang maruming laban ni Risa Hontiveros

Ano ang maganda sa laban ni Risa? (photo by rcmanila on Photobucket)

Hindi naman daw red-baiting ang ginagawa ni Risa Hontiveros ng Akbayan/Liberal Party (LP) sa senatorial candidates na sina Satur Ocampo at Liza Maza ng Makabayan. “Nowhere in my press statement did I call them communist,” ani Hontiveros.

Ano exactly ang sinabi ni Hontiveros? Nasa ibaba ang portion ng isang direct quote sa kanyang press statement:

“Actually, the links between the left-wing candidates in the NP slate and the Communist Party is something that nobody really questions.”

Ano exactly ang links na tinutukoy ni Hontiveros? Muli, direct quote sa kanyang press statement:

“It doesn’t help that Satur Ocampo and Lisa Maza keep on pussy-footing on ideological roots and organizational links.”

Wala naman daw nagdududa sa links nina Ocampo at Maza sa CPP. At huwag na raw magkakaila sina Ocampo at Maza sa ideological at organizational links na ito.

Hindi ito red-baiting?

Sa kanyang depensa sa batikos na magkatambal sila ni Gen. Jovito Palparan sa red-baiting, iginiit ni Hontiveros na: “It is actually their refusal to condemn the atrocities and abuses of the CPP-NPA that indirectly helps human rights violators like Palparan to commit further abuses.”

Sa ilohika ni Hontiveros, kasalanan (kahit pa indirectly) nina Ocampo at Maza kung bakit patuloy na pinapatay, dinudukot, at tinutoryur ng Arroyo administration at ng armed forces nito ang mga aktibista. Kung kukundenahin lang nina Ocampo at Maza ang “atrocities and abuses” ng CPP-NPA, matitigil na ang state-sponsored human rights violations?

Ganito mangatwiran ang mga doble-karang oportunista. Mapanganib ang mga taong ganito.

Karapatan s’yempre ni Hontiveros at ng Akbayan na batikusin ang ipinagpapalagay nilang atrocities at abuses ng CPP-NPA. Pero ibang usapin ang red-baiting.

Tandaang hindi ito ang unang pagkakataon na nag-red-baiting ang Akbayan.

Noong January 2005, sa internationally circulated statement ng Bangkok-based na Focus on the Global South kunsaan executive director si Walden Bello ng Akbayan, sinabi nitong: “Being part of a bigger global movement for social justice, we have interacted with, worked with, or even supported groups that are associated or working closely with the CPP such as Ibon Foundation, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS), KMU (May 1st Movement), Asian Student Association (ASA), and Migrante. We now appeal to the sense of decency of individuals in these and other groups and urge them to denounce these actions and apply moral suasion on Sison and other leaders of the CPP and NPA to refrain from the threat and use of force and assassination.”

Mahigit isang libo na ang biniktima ng extrajudicial killings sa ilalim ng Oplan Bantay Laya

Kagaganap pa lamang noon ng Hacienda Luisita massacre nang ilabas nina Bello ang kanilang statement. Ginatungan nito ang propaganda ng militar na mga komunista daw ang nasa likod ng welga sa Hacienda Luisita. Sa dokumentong Knowing the Enemy, na lumabas sa publiko pagkalipas ng ilang buwan, tinukoy ng AFP na communist fronts daw ang mga organisasyong binanggit nina Bello.

Sa mga dokumento ng Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), ang mga “sectoral front organizations” ng CPP-NPA ang target ng neutralization ng AFP. Ito ang kwento ng extrajudicial killings ng mga aktibista sa bansa.

Ang mga doble-karang oportunista ay nagpapanggap na progresibo. Sa isang banda, ipinagyayabang na sila ay human rights at peace advocates.

“How can I be a supporter of a human rights violator, when I filed a case for the disqualification of his (Palparan) party-list? When I authored a lot of resolutions investigating incidents of human rights violations? When I have bills penalizing torture, enforced disappearance, and strengthening the Commission on Human Rights?” tanong ni Hontiveros.

Isang bagay ang mag-file ng maraming bills at resolutions tungkol sa human rights. Ibang bagay ang mag-red-baiting. Ibang bagay ang ginagatungan at inuulit-ulit ang black propaganda ng AFP laban kina Ocampo, Maza, kanilang mga kasamahan at grupo.

Hindi maikakaila ni Hontiveros at ng Akbayan na ang kanilang red-baiting ay ginagamit ng Arroyo administration upang pagtakpan ang napakasahol nitong human rights record.

Noong 2008, nang lumabas ang report ni Prof. Philip Alston, ang Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Execution ng United Nations (UN), binira ng Malacañang ang integrity ng report. Pinagbintangan nito si Prof. Alston na pinapaboran ang CPP-NPA-NDF. Ang ebidensya ng administrasyong Arroyo? Ang mga naunang pahayag nina Bello at Etta Rosales ng Akbayan.

Sa official statement ni Ambassador Erlinda F. Basilio, Permanent Representative to the UN and other international organizations ng bansa, sinabi nitong:

“Prof. Alston’s partiality, selectivity and double standard are fully demonstrated in End Note no. 46 of Prof. Alston’s report. This concerns two leftist government critics – Prof. Walden Bello and Ms. Etta Rosales, whose freedom of expression and right to life were threatened, not by pro-government groups, but by Prof. Alston’s favored group (i.e. the CPP-NPA-NDF). Mr. Bello and Ms. Rosales are leaders of the party-list group Akbayan.”

Bakit hindi si Noynoy ang hamunin ni Hontiveros na i-denounce ang Hacienda Luisita massacre at SDO?

Ang tinutukoy ni Basilio ay ang pahayag noong December 2004 nina Bello at Rosales tungkol sa pagkakabilang nila sa diumano’y NPA hit list. Muli, isang bagay na kundenahin ang ipinagpapalagay nilang hit list (na actually ay diagram ng mga counter-revolutionary groups at kanilang international links, downloadable ito sa CPP website; tingnan ang page 8 ng Ang Bayan, December 7, 2004 issue). Ibang bagay ang malisyosong “umapela” sa mga ligal na organisasyon at institusyong gaya ng KMU, KMP, IBON, CPA, at iba pa dahil sila ay “associated” o “working closely” sa CPP-NPA. Ito ay red-baiting.

Balikan natin ang statement ni Hontiveros. Sabi nito, “She said that the PTC (permit to campaign), the NPA’s human rights violations, and allegations of corruption committed by Villar are valid electoral and political issues that all candidates, regardless of party affiliations, should address”.

Kung valid electoral at political issues ang PTC at NPA, bakit kina Ocampo at Maza lamang ito ibinabato ni Hontiveros? Bakit sina Ocampo at Maza lamang ang kailangang mag-denounce sa CPP-NPA na para bang sila ang kumukumpas sa mga gawain ng CPP-NPA?

Hindi ba’t para sa isang nagsasabing s’ya ay human rights at peace advocate, mas valid na electoral at political issue, in relation to the CPP-NPA, ang peace talks sa halip na denunciation nina Ocampo at Maza?

Kung naghahanap ng valid electoral at political issues si Hontiveros, bakit hindi n’ya hamunin si Noynoy Aquino na i-denounce ang Hacienda Luisita massacre at ang stock distribution option (SDO), na lehitimong human rights issues? Hindi ba’t mas may value ang denunciation ni Noynoy sa Hacienda Luisita massacre at SDO dahil siya at kanyang pamilya ang kumukumpas sa Luisita?

Bakit hindi ang peace talks, Oplan Bantay Laya, o Hacienda Luisita ang gustong pag-usapan ni Hontiveros? Dahil red-baiting ang totoong adyenda nila ng Akbayan.