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Villar welcomes Ocampo, Maza as NP's guest senatorial bets
In The Press Posted on December 14th, 2009.
MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Manuel Villar’s Nacionalista Party (NP) announced yesterday that the party had officially adopted party-list Representatives Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna and Liza Maza of Gabriela as guest senatorial candidates in the coming May 2010 elections.
“Ka Satur and Liza Maza are two known champions in the advancement of the rights of the underprivileged. They have devoted their lives in fighting for the interests of the working class, the peasants, our women, our fisherfolks and the urban poor,” Villar said during the press conference at the Quezon City Sports Club.
Villar said he and the two militant party-list legislators share common advocacies in agriculture, rural development, agrarian reform, environment and disaster preparedness, delivery of social services, human rights justice and good governance and public accountability.
“It is therefore with great honor that I stand side by side with them today, knowing now without a doubt that we have a synergy of ideals and principles,” Villar added.
Ocampo said that they have agreed to join the NP senatorial ticket as guest candidates after several months of negotiations with Villar and his running mate Sen. Loren Legarda.
“What clinched the alliance was the positive response of Sen. Villar and his party to the people’s issues that we presented to all the presidential frontrunners. Of all the candidates, it was Sen. Villar who engaged us in earnest discussions on a common platform and program,” he said.
He said their common objective “is to emancipate the people from widespread poverty and social injustice.”
Ocampo said their talks with Villar and Legarda focused on the review of economic liberalization, strengthening of the agrarian reform program, giving justice and compensation to human rights victims from martial law to the Arroyo administration, combating graft and corruption and holding President Arroyo accountable for charges of plunder and corruption, and renegotiation of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement.
He added that their adoption by Villar and Legarda as guest candidates “shows their positive regard to and openness to work with progressive forces in pursuing meaningful reforms in government and society.”
Ocampo had told a news conference last Nov. 20, that he and his militant colleagues were rethinking their support for Villar after he forged an alliance with the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL), which was founded by former President Ferdinand Marcoses who ordered the arrest and detention of Ocampo when the late dictator declared martial law in 1972.
“We must first know the terms of the NP-KBL alliance, of which we had not been informed beforehand by Sen. Villar. We have laid down clearly with him our outstanding issues with the Marcoses: compensation for human rights victims and recovery of ill-gotten wealth,” he said. “Should the NP-KBL alliance compromise our stand, we’ll review our impending support for Sen. Villar.”
The NP-KBL alliance made Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as an NP senatorial candidate.
Asked what happened to Villar’s coalition with the Marcoses, Ocampo said Villar has informed them that the alliance has been dissolved.
Ocampo said the NP standard-bearer has also “committed to pursue the compensation of human rights victims during martial law and the recovery of the ill-gotten Marcos wealth.”
Ocampo said: “We’ll avoid campaigning with Bongbong on the same stage.”
Rep. Marcos said he is willing to work closely with Ocampo.
Marcos said the country needs all efforts from all sectors of society in addressing the current problems.
“We’ll have differences in ideology and they already expressed their misgivings about my inclusion, there will be differences in some areas but more importantly there are areas where we agree if we continue to build on those areas I think it will be a good working relationship,” he said.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teddy Casiño said Maza and Ocampo, who were also endorsed by the multi-sectoral group Makabayan, have agreed to support Villar and Legarda.
Casiño, campaign manager for Ocampo, said the mutual endorsement was historic, as it was the first time militant organizations have endorsed candidates for president and vice-president.
The inclusion of Ocampo and Maza completed the Senate slate of NP in next year’s polls, which includes reelectionist Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. as guest candidates, Sen. Pia Cayetano, Rep. Marcos, detained Col. Ariel Querubin, Adel Tamano, Susan “Toots” Ople, Gwendolyn Pimentel, Ramon Mitra, and former Cavite Rep. Gilbert Remulla. – With Cristina Mendez, Helen Flores