This was the pronouncement of Makabayan Hong Kong following partial and unofficial 2019 midterm elections count that showed Duterte-backed candidates and groups dominating the Senatorial and Partylist elections in the Philippines and in Hong Kong.
According to spokesperson Eman Villanueva, ‘The elections has shown the regime pulling all stops to ensure a landslide victory especially in the Senate. It exploited the prevailing patronage politics while utilizing the vast resources of the government to buy votes, intimidate, harass, spread disinformation and all other dirty tricks in its book to ensure that its supporters are placed in the Upper House while adding more allies in the Lower House.’
Makabayan Hong Kong mentioned reports from the Philippines of Makabayan members being harassed by the Philippine National Police. There were also materials containing black propaganda, aimed to dissuade voters from voting Neri Colmenares and partylists of Makabayan distributed by PNP elements themselves. According to Villanueva, this is a clear indication of how threatened the Duterte regime is, with its state forces openly engaging in activities against the opposition
‘These were done on top of reports of VCM malfunction, loss of SD cards, transparency server problem, the withdrawal of NAMFREL from COMELEC as official independent poll watchdog and other issues that make the credibility of the recent elections tainted and questionable. Progressives and opposition candidates topped in all mock elections and surveys in universities, colleges and private institutions while Duterte’s candidates ruled questionable commissioned surveys. Obviously, huge funds are at play to condition the minds of the public of the desired election results of the administration,’ Villanueva said.
Villanueva continued that while this must be the dirtiest elections post-Marcos, it has also forged unity among the opposition. ‘The recent elections have shown how opposition to the administration is spreading across political parties and blocs. Even Catholics were bolder and more vocal against those supporting government’s moves and policies. Such show of dissatisfaction from a broad array of groups have contributed to the growing desperation of Duterte.’
Meanwhile in Hong Kong, Villanueva said that the Duterte administration and its candidates have evidently poured resources to woo OFW support. ‘With its vast arsenal of resources, the Duterte administration have ensured that their candidates appeared one after another in OFW events during the campaign period and flooded the social media with malicious and unfounded accusations against Colmenares, other opposition candidates and partylist affiliates of Makabayan,’ Villanueva remarked.
Villanueva said that Duterte-backed candidates may have ruled the polls but OFWs have no basis to hope for the resolution of their concerns. ‘Now that they are most likely to be in the Senate and Congress in the next three years, burning questions have remained: will they stand for OFW rights, will they oppose the impending additions to fees charged by the government to OFWs, will they really work for a country where the millions of Filipinos will not be pushed to work and be enslaved abroad?’
‘You’ve made your pitch and styled yourself as for OFWs. Now, will you really stand up for what is good for OFWs, the people and our country or will your term be filled with self-enrichment and blind kowtowing to Duterte’s orders?’
Villanueva said that for Makabayan Hong Kong, the fight for OFWs and the people will continue with or without elections. ‘Change will not come due to being able to elect the whole Makabayan slate. Meaningful change cannot come from the game of musical chairs dominated by the elite. It may only come from organizing and unifying for a better Philippines, a better world, which the progressive forces have been doing especially outside of the electoral campaign.’###
Coordinator, Makabayan HK
Contact number: +85297585935