SOUTHERN COMFORT: Why I am voting for Teddy Casiño

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/29 October) — Frankly, I would have voted for him no matter what, but because of the little conversation I had with Rep. Neri Colmenares some three months back, checking Teddy Casiño’s name in the ballot for senatorial candidates next year made it easier.

You see, I was never a fan of the mainstream Left coalescing with the today’s mainstream political parties.

Not only are today’s political parties ideologically and organizationally incompatible with the politics of the Left, they also represent the political and economic interests of the very political system it is trying to supplant.

So when former representatives Satur Ocampo (Bayan Muna) and Liza Maza (Gabriela) “coalesced” with Manny Villar in the 2010 general elections by agreeing to be included in the latter’s senatorial lineup, they not only ended up defending their decision.  They also found themselves in an awkward situation where they were made to explain why they were in the same boat with Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

True, the son should not be made to suffer for the sins of the father.  But Bongbong then showed no remorse whatsoever for what his father did to the thousands of activists who were killed, made to disappear, jailed and suffered from the atrocities of his father’s dictatorship.  Neither now nor tomorrow will he show remorse judging by his recent statements.

I met Teddy in a small hotel in Makati some three months before the 2010 elections and raised the issue.

Teddy, then already the first nominee of Bayan Muna and was running for a third and last term as party-list representative, said they would have preferred to join forces with Liberal Party of then presidential candidate Benigno Aquino III but the social democrats and anti-Left forces within the said coalition had effectively eased them out – nay blocked them out.

Then, the Liberal Party secretariat was dominated by disgruntled former members of both the underground and legal Left and its ideological nemesis, the Social Democrats.

Realizing that a serious campaign to win a seat in the Philippine senate needs party machinery, the Left chose the lesser evil from among the political parties in Villar’s Nacionalista Party while consolidating its own political base which are the people’s organizations it has built through the years of its political struggles.

The results of the 2010 elections of course did not yield the desired results even though these were not unexpected.  But what made the effort even less attractive now is that the Left was not able to strike long-term alliances with Villar’s NP which is now in an alliance for political convenience with Aquino’s Liberal Party.  Even more so, no long term political gains were achieved in that short-lived alliance.

So when Colmenares and I had breakfast in one of the coffee shops here in General Santos, I readily offered an unsolicited advice:  Teddy Casiño, the Left’s most recognizable political figure, should run independently.

“Meaning, it is no longer the politics of winning?” Colmenares asked me.

I essentially said it is better to lose honorably than win in a prostituted way.

The Left’s time will come when it will.

Now that Teddy is running independently, I have no choice but to vote for him. (Edwin G. Espejo writes for