Makabayan's Colmenares defends decision to run with Poe

ABS-CBN News

Did Makabayan, the political coalition of 12 Philippine progressive parties, pick Grace Poe as their presidential bet because of her popularity?

Senatorial bet Neri Colmenares has claimed Monday that was not the case, emphasizing that they are supporting her for the compatibility of their respective platforms.

“Tingin ko nga, principled yung selection namin kay Grace Poe, kasi in the first place, platform yung pinag-usapan. Secondly, in fact, si Grace Poe yung may chance ma-disqualify noon. Pero sa amin naman, mas marami yung platform na may pinag-agree-han kami, that’s why we chose her,” he said on Headstart on Monday.

Colmenares will not be the first progressive lawmaker to give running for the Senate a try. There were Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza, and Teddy CasiƱo—and all have failed to win a seat.

Colmenares said he already learned from the campaign mistakes of his predecessors, acknowledging that they have failed to convert the number of their sympathizers to an “electoral mass movement.”

He attributed this difficulty of campaigning for votes to how the progressives carry issues whether or not election season is on.

“Whether the voters like it or not, may principled position kami dyan, dala namin yan.”

The coalition was also known to be a staunch supporter of the Coco Levy Fund to be distributed among the coconut farmers, but the lines were hazy on where Poe stood on the matter. Colmenares, however, remains confident that despite Danding Cojuangco’s supporting Poe’s candidacy, the presidential hopeful will make good on her promise to give 80 percent of the levy to the farmers.

“The issue is there are people supporting her who may not agree with our platform. Sa akin, we cannot control anymore who—lahat ng presidentiables will be supported by whoever. Pero we will put them to task the moment they renege on our discussions based on platform. Kahit kasi hindi ka suportahan ng kahit sinuman, pag nanalo ka na’t you renege on the platforms we discussed, ibang usapan yun.”

Meanwhile, Colmenaras maintained his stand against the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), claiming that it will only result to “unlimited bases, unlimited time” of the US forces in the Philippines.

Colmenares served three terms in the House of Representatives and passed nine laws. Should he be elected to Senate, he will support the Freedom of Information Bill (which he has authored in the lower house), SSS pension hike, income tax Reform, same-sex unions, and divorce.

He is, on the other hand, against the reinstatement of death penalty, economic Charter Change, institutionalization of the Conditional Cash Transfer program, and the house arrest of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.