Unmasked: Akbayan is Aquino’s ‘dilawan’By Rigoberto Tiglao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
THE REPORT on financial contributors to Akbayan’s 2010 election kitty is an exposé: President Aquino’s family, supporters, and big businessmen allied to him gave this miniscule group the electoral war chest to win two seats in Congress.
Out of the 115 donors who gave Akbayan’s P110-million campaign funds, only 24 families, groups, or tycoons accounted for 90 percent of its electoral kitty.
Contributing the biggest chunk of P17 million were Mr. Aquino’s sisters Kris (P10 million), Victoria with her husband Richard (P5 million), and Ma. Elena Cruz (P2 million). Mr. Aquino’s Lopa cousins (Christina, Jaime, Rafael, Michael and Anna) contributed P2 million. Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office chair Margarita Juico gave P1 million.
Apparently, since few of Mr. Aquino’s supporters would agree to be put on record as donors to Akbayan, his fund managers had to scramble for names. One “Edgardo Aguas” contributed P500,000. He is the pro-Cojuangco chair of a barangay in Hacienda Luisita, who was initially tipped by Mr. Aquino’s PR people to swear him into office. One Francis Hernando, who gave P1 million to the party, now occupies a key position in the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. as vice president for gaming and licensing.
If one believes Akbayan’s report, Chinese-Filipino tycoons and big-business executives, now believe in the proletarian cause to contribute substantial amounts to this group that professes to be a socialist party. The simpler explanation: They are Mr. Aquino’s financiers who were asked to fund what would be his lynch mob. Among them:
• The “Discovery” hotel-chain owners—Bansan Choa, Ben Tiu, and Ruben Tiu—gave P15 million.
• The “Belle Corp. group” gave P10 million. Willy Ocier together with Jaime Dichavez controlled Belle when then President Joseph Estrada for a P200-million commission ordered SSS and GSIS to buy its shares at an inflated P2 billion price. Ocier is also president of Pacific Online Systems, the supplier of the PCSO’s lottery terminals. While Ocier is not listed as an Akbayan donor, sources claimed that his contributions totaling P5 million were coursed through his executives such as Belle chief financial officer and Pacific Online director Manuel Gana. Another associate, former Belle president and now GSIS trustee Gregorio Yu, gave P5 million.
• Willibaldo J. Uy, who gave P1 million, is president of Phinma Properties Corp. of the Ramon del Rosario family.
• Johnip Cua, who gave P2 million, was Procter and Gamble Philippines president for several years and director of Macro Asia and Philippine Airlines until Lucio Tan gave up control of these two firms.
• Antonio Moncupa, who gave P2 million, was a cadre during martial law of Akbayan’s archenemy, the Maoist Communist Party. Moncupa changed careers to eventually become president of East West Bank, controlled by the Gotianun family. He claimed, though, that his contribution was “personal” and that the Gotianuns had nothing to do with it. Kris Aquino in March was named main brand endorser for the Gotianuns’ Filinvest Properties.
• Antonio Samson, who gave P2 million, has been an executive since the 1980s of Mr. Aquino’s cousin Antonio Cojuangco.
Some of Akbayan’s donors can even be fictitious to conceal more funding from Mr. Aquino’s camp, which would be perjury and a matter for the Comelec to investigate. One Antonio Correa donated P2.5 million, even if his residence is a decrepit house in “6 Bulusan St., Mandaluyong.” Joel Rocamora (now National Anti-Poverty Commission head) gave P1 million on the same day that Akbayan got P1 million from a “Princess Costales” who lives in a lower middle class neighborhood in Biñan, Laguna. The only information I found regarding one “Efren Berioso” who gave P1 million was that he was a Samar barangay official who died in 2011.
We belabor the point. Akbayan is a small association of mostly armchair revolutionaries who had been living off donations from leftist European NGOs. They are skilled in media work, though, with Walden Bello for instance being the only congressman to have a regular opinion column in the Internet edition of this paper. The marginalized sector Akbayan represents consists merely of its leaders who defected from the Maoist party which marginalized them out of the Left mainstream.
There is no way Akbayan could have raised P110 million on its own. Bayan Muna, whose mass base is that of the nationwide 44-year-old New People’s Army, could raise only P1.3 million. Akbayan spent P100 million or nearly all of its Aquino-source funds for expensive TV advertising, an amount no other “party-list” could ever dream of having, thereby assuring its victory.
No wonder that rather than pursuing a socialist agenda, Akbayan has been stretching its very thin resources to be always at the lead of Mr. Aquino’s lynch mob against President Arroyo, former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, and Chief Justice Renato Corona. Why would a tiny “socialist” party spend its energies against such persons, against whom the entire apparatus of government has already been thrown?
They’ve been paid that role, as the lynch mob to falsely portray in media that the “masses” support Mr. Aquino in his witch-hunts. Akbayan even shamelessly uses cheap agitprop tricks of having old women and children at the forefront of their Aquino-supported demonstrations.
Calling Akbayan mercenary, “bayaran” in Filipino, would be too kind for these hypocrites who have damaged the idea of socialism for our country. In the labor movement in which I was a communist cadre in my youth, we called fake unions controlled by the capitalists the yellow unions, the “dilawan,” despised more than strike-busting goons and scabs as they confused the working class.
Akbayan is Mr. Aquino’s dilawan in the Philippine political landscape, the fake party-list in the service of this yellow administration.
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