MANILA - A vocal leftist leader himself, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares on Wednesday disputed the persisting negative perception among Filipinos against left-leaning, progressive groups.
Speaking to ANC's Headstart, Colmenares said leftists have been branded "evil" because of politicians who want to discredit the left.
"The problem here really is that most of the presidents and public officials that we've exposed as corrupt or abusive, they tried to package us as, of course, Left and that Left is evil. Ang problema is kung madala ang taumbayan sa ganong klaseng box," Colmenares said.
Colmenares, who is running in the 2016 senatorial race, also appealed to the public to examine leftists beyond the negative image.
"That's why we are asking the people that this connotation of Left, just transcend it and see what did we do. Kasi the moment you transcend that, hindi ka na magba-bias pa...they will see that we did a lot of things for them, for the Filipino people," the lawmaker said.
A Makabayan bloc member at the House of Representatives, Colmenares believes the "evil packaging" of the Left has been around to prevent the "real" pro-poor leaders from getting elected to higher public offices.
"At kung manalo palagi ang military o 'yung mga abusive government officials doon sa packaging sa amin whether Left or Left-of-center or Left-leaning, then there will never be a chance that the people would be able to vote for what we believe as the real voice of the people in Congress," Colmenares said.
His colleagues such as Liza Maza, Satur Ocampo, and Teddy Casiño have all failed to secure Senate seats in previous polls. Colmenares is however hopeful for victory.
READ: Colmenares finds new friends in old foes
"We've made our positions known and we've always told any political party or any group that we are independent. And if there are support coming from other sectors, they should not ask anything in return," he added, amid new-found support from political figures.
Colmenares said he would push for the passage of his bills such as lowering taxes on income, electricity and oil, as well as increasing SSS pensions, among others, if he wins in the 2016 polls.