Comelec’s suspension of PI proceedings: merely a truce in an escalating power struggle

In the midst of an intensifying power struggle between the competing dynasties of the UniTeam coalition, the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition said it views the recent suspension of the people’s initiative (PI) proceedings by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as nothing more than a temporary truce.

In Metro Manila, the labor group held another picket outside the Senate Building last Tuesday, coinciding with the scheduled committee hearing on alleged irregularities in the PI process.

The Senate action was also part of Nagkaisa’s continuing campaign to press for the enactment of the P150 across-the-board wage hike, end to endo, and other economic measures to address the rising cost-of-living crisis, which for them requires immediate action from Congress and the Executive rather than to revising the Constitution at this point in time.

“Chicha hindi chacha ang kailangan ng mga manggagawa, lalong hindi ang pumili sa pagitan ng polvoron o fentanyl,” asserted Partido Manggagawa (PM) Iloilo spokesperson Mario Andon, as he dismissed claims about the benefits arising from constitutional amendments.

He also observed that the recent counter-rally in Davao on January 28 has further intensified the conflict between former allies within the UniTeam, and it looks like the war of dynasties has reached the point of no return.

“Hindi pa patay ang PI,” Andon insists, noting that the Comelec’s suspension of PI proceedings might only be a tactical move to buy more time for both sides to strategize.

He emphasized the importance of exposing the political and economic motives behind the House-led push for charter change through PI, at the same time cautioning against allowing the anti-charter change narrative to be co-opted by the Duterte dynasty for their own political gain.

Addressing President Duterte’s shifting stance on charter change, Andon remarked, “Duterte may attempt to rebrand himself as an opponent of charter change, but his track record speaks volumes about his true intentions.”

He reminded the Senate that it was Duterte who vetoed the Security of Tenure bill passed by Congress, failed to fulfill his promise of abolishing the provincial rate system in wage setting, and destroyed unions through red tagging during his term, “therefore making him a sham ambassador of the anti-chacha campaign that he wants to elevate into a war against Bongbong Marcos and Martin Romualdez.”

In conclusion Nagkaisa! urged the Senate to prioritize pressing issues such as the proposed P150 wage hike and highlights the importance of distinguishing authentic agenda to improve the lives of workers from the personal and partisan political interests of the warring political dynasties.

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