MANILA — Senatorial bets of the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) defended the inclusion of former senator and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda in the list of 12 senatorial candidates the bloc is endorsing in the May 9 elections.
Legarda is part of the senatorial slate of the UniTeam under former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. The Makabayan bloc is against the return of the Marcoses to Malacañang.
"(Legarda) may be a part of the slate of Bongbong Marcos pero ang naging sukatan sa pagpili sa kanila ay ang kanilang track record mismo sa kanilang posisyon, lalung-lalo na sa kanilang pagpupusisyon na kailangan talagang mag-usap ang dalawang panig upang kamtin ang kapayapaan sa ating bayan," labor leader Elmer "Bong" Labog told ABS-CBN News in an interview Friday.
(Legarda may be a part of the slate of Bongbong Marcos but the criterion in choosing them is their track record, particularly their position supporting the need for parties to talk to achieve peace in our country.)
"Sawa na ang taumbayan sa mga kandidatong puro gyera at pagpatay ang nasa isip. Mahalaga na maghalalal tayo ng mga senador na para sa peace talks, para sa kapayapaan," he added.
(The people are fed up with candidates who focus on war and murder. It is important that we elect senators who are for peace talks, for peace.)
Legarda has played some roles in the past in the peace negotiations between the communist movement and the government, and was instrumental in the release of some state troops held captive by rebels, one of whom was then Army Maj. Noel Buan.
Labog stressed the importance of including leaders that will support peace talks in order "to address the root causes of armed conflict in the Philippines."
"Regardless kung naka-line-up sila diyan, mahalaga siguro ‘yung kanilang pag-posisyon sa mga crucial na mga issue at ‘yung timing nung kanilang pagiging participatory sa nagaganap na mga peace talks sa nakaraang panahon at ang kanilang muling panawagan na magkaroon ng usapang pangkapayapaan at ipagpatuloy ang progreso ng ating bayan," he said.
(Regardless of whether they are lined up there, it is probably important that they position themselves on crucial issues, the timing of their participation in the ongoing peace talks in the past, and their renewed call for peace talks and that the progress our country has achieved will be continued.)
"Hindi lang dapat sukatin kung saan sila naka-line-up, kundi ano ‘yung kanilang nagawa nung mga nakaraang panahon."
(We should not gauge them based on where they line up, but on what they have done in the past.)
Atty. Neri Colmenares said many candidates were considered for inclusion in the Makabayan slate, and the 12 were picked "on the basis of commonality" on issues and their track record.
"Hindi ‘yan nagsasara ng cooperation with other senatorial candidate who were not part of the 12, kasi may mga common issues pa rin na pwedeng pagtulungan between Makabayan and other candidates," he added.
(That does not close cooperation with other senatorial candidates who are not part of the 12, because there are also common issues that can be worked on between Makabayan and other candidates.)
"There will be some candidates who may be favored by some and not favored by some. Pero we have to live with the pinaka-common na issues na aming napagkaisahan at nakita ng Makabayan na sufficient para sa endorso ng Makabayan coalition."
(But we have to live with the most common issues that we have agreed upon and which the Makabayan sees as sufficient to get our coalition's endorsement.)
Aside from Labog, Colmenares and Legarda, the following complete the bloc's 12 senatorial bets:
1. Labor leader Sonny Matula
2. Lawyer Luke Espiritu
3. Former Vice President Jejomar Binay.
4. Sen. Leila de Lima
5. Lawyer Chel Diokno
6. Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero
7. Sen. Risa Hontiveros
8. Lawyer Alex Lacson
9. Former Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo earlier said the senatorial candidates they endorsed have shared advocacies with the bloc, such as pursuing peace talks, as well as caring for the environment and indigenous peoples.
"Ang deklarasyong ito ng Koalisyong Makabayan ng mga sinusuportahan kandidatong senador ay naghuhudyat ng lalong paglawak ng oposisyon at ng pagkakaisa para sa makabayang pagbabago," Ocampo said.
"Mahalaga ang pagkakaisang ito upang maipanalo ang interes ng mamamayan at umangat ang kabuhayan ng nakararami, matigil ang paglabag sa mga karapatang pantao, at muling mabuksan ang usapang pangkapayaaan," he added.
(The declaration by the Makabayan Coalition shows the further expansion of the opposition and the unity for societal change. This unity is important to champion the interest of the people and to improve the lives of many, as well as to stop human rights violations and reopen peace talks.)
Ocampo said the candidates have a history of cooperating with the bloc in forwarding the people's interests.
The Makabayan bloc is endorsing Vice President Leni Robredo's presidential bid, and Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan's vice presidential candidacy.
Most of the senatorial bets Makabayan supports come from Robredo and Pangilinan’s slate.
The Makabayan bloc has many allied organizations, including Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan, ACT-Teacher's Partylist, and Anakpawis.