Elevate ‘people’s representative’ to Senate
In a Third World country like the Philippines, where democracy is often reduced and played out to mean as if all it is is the right to suffrage, and in-between elections it is left in the hands of traditional politicians and bureaucrat capitalists, the masses should use the polls to elect a leader who would serve as their voice in government. Someone brave enough to fight for their rights and stand up for their interests in an institution dominated by the elite. Such qualities perfectly describe Bayan Muna Representative and House Senior Deputy Minority Leader Neri Colmenares.
The various groups and personalities expressing their support for the progressive legislator’s senatorial bid are actually doing the Filipinos a favor by presenting an alternative candidate who is most qualified to be in the Senate. Unlike other candidates whose main objective is to win for their own private ends, Colmenares is committed to serve the people—something he has been doing for the past three decades—without expecting anything in return.
An outstanding congressman and human rights lawyer, Colmenares has been actively fighting against corruption, high prices of oil and electricity, human rights abuses, unjust wages, landlessness, inadequate social services, US military intervention, and other antipeople policies of the government from the time he became involved in the mass movement in the 1970s. During the dark years of martial law, Colmenares, the leader of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives, was imprisoned and tortured for opposing the dictatorship; he was released in 1986 after the downfall of the Marcos regime. Since then, he has been in the forefront of the Filipino people’s struggle for a just, humane and egalitarian society.
There’s no denying that compared with the candidates of the Liberal Party and other major political parties, Colmenares lacks the resources and machinery to carry out a national campaign. He doesn’t belong to any influential political family nor does he possess the popularity of a TV personality. But as long as there are Filipinos who keep the flame of patriotism alive in their hearts, there is hope for the people’s representative.
May the masses bring Neri Colmenares to the Senate.
—DANIEL ALOC, [email protected]
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