Group demands resignation of Lacierda over Akbayan controversy

THE fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday demanded the resignation of Palace spokesperson Atty. Edwin Lacierda for acting as one of the spokesmen of Akbayan party list, asserting that Lacierda engaged in partisan politics in defending Akbayan party list currently facing a disqualification case before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

In a press statement, Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France advised Lacierda to render his resignation as a presidential spokesman and apply as public relations officer of Akbayan.

“Atty. Lacierda should resign. The Filipino public will not allow him to use his government post and public service to defend and do propaganda work for Akbayan party list which is highly questionable and grossly dubious, legally, morally and politically speaking,” France said.

The Pamalakaya official added:” Please, allow us to remind Mr. Lacierda that he is first and foremost a public official who should speak in behalf of public interest and not on the narrow interest of Akbayan, a party list in power and identified with the ruling Aquino political syndicate in Malacanang. If he wants to engage in a political debate whether Akbayan is marginalized or not, then he should leave Malacanang and do the talking in a proper forum. Using public office to advance the immoral cause of Akbayan is deplorable to the highest order.”

France warned that Atty. Lacierda may face graft and corruption charges and grand violations of ethical standards set among public officials if he continues to use public post for partisan politics and promote party lists allied with President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. ” Atty. Lacierda can be charged before the Office of the Ombudsman for doing this defend and save Akbayan party list escapade to the detriment of truth, justice and fairplay.

During the regular press briefing in Malacanang, Lacierda assailed claims of militant groups that Akbayan should be disqualified in the May 2013 elections for party list, because the pro-Aquino party list group no longer represent marginalized sectors since it is already large and powerful enough to field a senatorial candidate, Risa Hontiveros, under the administration slate for the 2013 polls.

“If that’s the case so should Bayan Muna because it’s fielding Teddy Casiño as a senatorial candidate,” Lacierda said. “What is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.”
dared Akbayan officers currently holding various posts in the Aquino government to resign from their respective posts to avoid conflict of interest and prevent the party list group from using state resources for the group’s campaign in next year elections.

France said like Akbayan, the Palace spokesperson is obscuring the truth and refused to account that Akbayan party list is not marginalized but largely represented and a party in power because officials and ring leaders of the group have occupied powerful and influential positions under the Aquino administration like Ronald Llamas , political affairs adviser, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Etta Rosales, Joel Rocamora, chair of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), former Akbayan Rep. Mario Agujo, now member of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Board of Trustees and former Akbayan chair Percival Cendena, now commissioner at large of the National Youth Commission to resign from their currrent posts.

Pamalakaya also said Akbayan second nominee Barry Gutierrez to resign as Palace undersecretary for political affairs, and Akbayan’s third nominee Angelina Ludovice-Katoh, who serves as commissioner of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor.

Pamalakaya said it is puzzled why Malacanang and Comelec has never recognize the fact Akbayan officers and members are currently holding various government positions including cabinet-level positions that show that the party list group is not marginalized but a party in power sharing the limelight with traditional political groups like Liberal Party and those in the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

“To set the record straight, Akbayan is part of the unholy alliance of LP and UNA and many of Akbayan stalwarts are currently holding juicy positions in the Aquino government as a political gratitude for supporting Aquino in the 2010 presidential elections,” said Pamalakaya.

The militant group assailed Akbayan party list Rep. Walden Bello for reducing the legal, moral and politically correct call for Comelec to disqualify Akbayan to mere ‘ideological partisan reasons and mere jealousy”.

“Bello is obscuring the truth. To be brutally frank here, Akbayan has never said anything against the unbridled increases in the prices of petroleum products not this Palace-backed party list never oppose and rise above the occasion to defend the urban poor being uprooted from their communities and remain silent on the just demand of workers for decent wages and farmers’ call for free land distribution,” said Pamalakaya.

“Akbayan is the junior partner of Malacanang in deceiving the people. That’s the long running record of this party list. Rep. Bello is a triple platinum liar,” added Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya, meanwhile, urged other qualified party list groups to question the participation of Akbayan in the May 2013 elections. “We should explore other venues aside from Comelec. The decision of Comelec allowing this highly questionable party list to run in 2013 elections is a gross political prostitution and triple platinum mockery of the party list system,” the group said.

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