|Photo by Lambert Parong © 2019 Kababayan Media|
NEW YORK - On Monday, May 6, 2019, one week before the Philippine midterm elections, representatives of US Pinoys 4 Good Governance, Malaya Movement, and Migrante USA conducted a press conference calling to vote for an independent senate and remain vigilant in ensuring clean and honest elections.
Loida Nicolas Lewis of US Pinoys for Good Governance, Ramon Mappala of the Malaya Movement, and Michelle Luat of Migrante New York united on this call to vote for an independent and free Philippine Senate by advocating for the support of opposition candidates.
Their call came amidst their denouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte’s moves to erode the Philippines’ democratic institutions in the last two and a half years through pushing for changing the 1987 Constitution through charter change and shifting to Federalism, as well as the removal of key critics from government, particularly former Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, former Philippine Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and the unjust jailing of Senator Leila de Lima.
Speakers endorsed Senatorial candidates under Otso Diresto and Neri Colmenares of BAYAN MUNA as opposition leaders who have not only stood critical of policies and moves from the Duterte administration to undermine democratic checks and balances via the Supreme Court and the House of Representatives, but have also criticized the latter’s economic policies and its impact on the Filipino people. These include the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, the War on Drugs and crackdown on human rights defenders, martial law in Mindanao, attacks against press freedom and critical journalists such as Maria Ressa, and condoning of China’s violations of Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.
The speakers also registered their support for the May 6 National Day of Action for Clean and Honest elections initiated by Filipinos in California in response to reports of registered overseas voters not receiving their OAV ballots yet. They called for vigilance in monitoring the conduct of the OAV process, including holding the Philippine government accountable in the event of electoral fraud and/or cheating.