Walden Bello on stepping down as Akbayan rep: Matter of ‘principle’

Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 22 2021 09:41 AM

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MANILA—Former lawmaker Walden Bello on Tuesday said it was difficult to leave as Akbayan party-list representative.

In 2015, Bello stepped down from his post over differences with the party's purported alliance with President Benigno Aquino III.

"I could no longer do that in good conscience. It was a very difficult decision," Bello told ANC's "In Focus."

"If the party have been behind me, I would definitely have stayed on and fought on but if you no longer represent the views of the party because the party decides to support the president [Benigno Aquino III] and you’re no longer in good conscience to then there’s only one way out. Let somebody else take your place.

"I think it shows that people can in fact run on a politics of principle."

Asked if so-called liberals contributed to President Rodrigo Duterte's rise to power, Bello said: "[The] disappointment was part of the reason why Duterte was able to come to power."

Bello, however, said left-learning personalities had no significant role with Duterte's reign, adding that even he, a part of a certain sector of the left, has pushed the liberals to enact pro-people policies.

"I don’t think really that the left played a role in a significant way, because this was a time that I think that the different groups within the left were really having a period of discussion, sometimes even conflict among themselves about what was happening," Bello said. 

"I would say that there were, however . . . sectors of the left that were urging the liberals to in fact enact real reforms in the country.

"Pointing out that if these reforms did not happen then people would be really disappointed, I certainly was part of that sector of the left. I was urging real reforms to take place."

Bello said he will still run despite calls they should withdraw and give way to Leni Robredo in order to give the opposition a fighting chance.

"We’re basically saying, 'No.' We’re going to run because we’re running on a program. We are not just running for ourselves or on behalf of certain groups. We are running for the future of the country," he said.

"It is a well-thought-out program that comes from experience … we have been in the streets, we fought the good fight, we have a record of really fighting for people’s interest. I think that the record and the programs that we represent are what the country needs at this point in time." — ANC, 21 December 2021