Sunday, February 28, 2010

Profile of Representative Teddy A. Casiño

Representative Teddy A. Casiño
Social reformist and dynamic leader

Congressman Teddy Casiño is a genuine social reformist and one of the most dynamic young leaders in the country today. He was first swept into the politics of change when, as a high school student in La Salle Green Hills, he volunteered for the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) and took part in the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution. The experience changed him so that since then, his life has been characterized by a conscious choice for the road less traveled.

The EDSA experience moved Teddy to become an activist in his freshman year at the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB). He became editor-in-chief of the student paper, The UPLB Perspective, from 1989-1991 even as he consistently made it to the honor roll. In 1991, Teddy was elected national president of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), an alliance of over 700 student publications nationwide. He graduated from UPLB with a bachelor's degree in Sociology in 1993.

After his stint in the student movement, Teddy joined the labor movement as part of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), where he deepened his commitment to serve the people, especially the working class. Teddy was elected secretary general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), the largest alliance of progressive people’s organizations in the country in 1999 and was catapulted to national prominence in 2001 as one of the youngest leaders of EDSA 2. He was appointed commissioner of the EDSA People Power Commission from 2001-2002 and was accorded the UPLB Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2002. Teddy also served as a commissioner in the District Justice and Peace Commission of the De La Salle Schools in 2005-2006.

Teddy is an accomplished writer and journalist. After being a regular contributor to the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Youngblood column, he became a regular columnist for BusinessWorld from 1995-2004. He also wrote columns for the tabloids People’s Bagong Taliba and Frontpage, the OFW weekly Pinoy Gazette and the online magazine In 2002, he had a short stint in ABS-CBN’s Hoy Gising and The Correspondents.

Progressive legislator and advocate of new politics

As a Bayan Muna congressman since 2004, Teddy is proof that integrity, righteousness, competence, patriotism and compassion for the poor and oppressed still has a place in the political mainstream.

Teddy has proven his mettle as a progressive legislator, spearheading the fight against corruption and government abuse and pushing for fundamental reforms in the areas of good governance and people empowerment, justice and human rights, educational reform, economic nationalism, the protection of the national patrimony and the environment, and the appropriate use of information and communications technology. He has figured prominently in the impeachment complaints against Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo as well as in various House investigations on the anomalies hounding the present administration.

In 2008, he was accorded the distinction as “Most Outstanding Congressman” during the annual Congress Magazine awards.

For Teddy, public service is a public trust. In his six years in Congress, he has never figured in any scandal or anomaly. He has maintained his simple lifestyle and has never used his position to enrich himself, his relatives or his friends. He is, in fact, on record as being the second poorest member of the House.

Given the chance, Teddy vows to continue bringing the issues and concerns of the common tao into the halls of the Senate.

Dedicated family man

Teddy was born in Davao City on November 15, 1968 and is the third of five children of Atty. Amador C. Casiño of Lucena, Quezon and Lizabelle I. Acevedo of Kalibo, Aklan. He has four siblings: Fr. Peter OSA, Audie, Shana and Ria.

In November 2002, Teddy married Ruth Garcia Cervantes, herself a former CEGP president and human rights advocate now taking up law at the San Beda College. They have two sons, Elian (6) and Emilio (2).

Teddy's family is his main source of strength and inspiration. The future of his two sons is what keeps him striving for a better kind of politics and a truly just and democratic government and society.


• Bayan Muna Representative, 13th and 14th Congress
• Most Outstanding Congressman for 2008, Congress Magazine
• Commissioner, EDSA People Power Commission, 2001-2002
• Commissioner, La Salle District Justice and Peace Commission, 2005-2006
• UPLB Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2002
• Columnist, BusinessWorld, 1995-2004
• Secretary General, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, 1999-2004
• President, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, 1991-1994
• Volunteer, National Movement for Free Elections, 1986 snap elections

Authored Republic Acts:
• Rent Control Act of 2009 (R.A. 9653)
• Public Attorneys Act of 2007 (R.A. 9406)
• Tax Relief Act of 2009 (R.A. 9504)

Authored Bills:
• Whistleblower Protection and Awards (H.B. 1715)
• Regulation of the Oil Industry (H.B. 3029 and 3030)
• Buy-back of Petron (H.B. 3031)
• Free Open Source Software Policy (H.B. 1716)
• Regulation of Tuition and Other School Fees (H.B. 1274)
• Student Benefits and Entitlements (H.B. 2441)
• Buy Filipino, Build Filipino Policy

Authored Resolutions
• Inquiry into the NBN-ZTE and Cyber Ed programs (H.R. 221)
• Inquiry on the Euro Generals Scandal (H.R. 843)
• Inquiry into the impact of the US economic slowdown (H.R. 428)
• Inquiry into large scale mining in Nueva Vizcaya (H.R. 211, 656, and 594)
• Inquiry into oil exploration in the Tañon Strait (H.R. 212)
• Inquiry into the Laiban Dam project (H.R. 510 and 1278)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Profile of Representative Neri Javier Colmenares

Representative Neri Javier Colmenares

Bayan Muna Representative Neri Javier Colmenares is a long-time human rights lawyer, constitutionalist and expert on international humanitarian law. He was among the youngest political detainees during martial law. Prior to joining the legal profesion, he was a student activist.

He finished his Bachelor of Arts in Economics at San Beda College and completed his law degree with the University of the Philippines. He is completing his Doctorate in Law with Melbourne University on the International Criminal Court and the Legal System Impediments to Prosecution of Human Rights Violators.

Atty. Colmenares acted as counsel or argued before the Supreme Court in petitions and against the constitutionality of the Calibrated Pre-emptive Response (CPR), the initiative to amend the Constitution (the Charter Change case), Executive Order 464 (the Executive Privilege case), the Visiting Forces Agreement (the VFA Case) and Proclamation 1017 (the Emergency Rule case).

He was also counsel to Supreme Court petitions on legal issues involving the anti-terrorism law, urban militarization, the national identification system, the Writ of Amparo and the Bilateral Immunity Agreement in relation to the International Criminal Court. He also argued before the Supreme Court in the Bayan Muna petition to declare all major political parties disqualified from participating in the party-list elections. He also challenged the First Party Rule which the SC recently struck down resulting in the entry of 32 new party-list representatives in Congress.

Bayan Muna’s third representative is considered one of the Country Experts of the Philippines on Universal Jurisdiction by the Amnesty International.

His commitment to human rights is reflected in his advocacies as secretary-general of the National Union of Peoples’ lawyers (NUPL), a nationwide voluntary association of human rights lawyers in the Philippines, committed to the defense, protection, and promotion of human rights, especially of the poor and the oppressed. He was also the main organizer of the Counsels for the Defense of Liberties (CODAL).

A native of Negros Occidental, Neri began his activism at 15 as a youth organizer against martial law in 1976. During the ‘80s, he became an officer of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) and the Visayas Regional Chair of the Student Catholic Action (SCAUP).

He was arrested twice for his student activism by virtue of an Arrest, Search and Seizure Order (ASSO) issued by then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. Neri languished in prison for a total of four years during martial law. He was heavily tortured during his imprisonment and, as one of the 10,000 human rights violations victims in the Marcos Human Rights case, he appeared before the Hawaii District Court in 1998 to contest the unjust US$ 150 Million settlement agreement with the Marcoses.

Neri has been Bayan Muna’s general counsel since the party’s inception in 1999. He was elected the party’s third nominee in 2007 elections, but assumed his post only after the SC granted the petition of Bayan Muna to declare the First Party Rule unconstitutional.

He is lifetime partner to Shalimar Vitan and doting father to three-year old Bien Carlo.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Profile of Representative Satur C. Ocampo

Representative Satur C. Ocampo

Satur C. Ocampo was born on April 7, 1939 in Sta. Rita, Pampanga in the Philippines to a family of landless tenant farmers. He is married to Carolina “Bobbie” Malay, a writer and professor of journalism. He has four children and two grandchildren.

He supported himself through his university education. In 1963, he worked as an economic journalist for the Manila Times until Martial Law shut down the newspaper in 1972.He was a vice-president of the National Press Club (NPC) in 1970-72.

In the developing political ferment in the ‘60s, Ocampo acquired a comprehensive grasp of the country’s problems and its history of struggle. In 1964, he became a founding member of the militant organization Kabataang Makabayan (Patriotic Youth). In 1967-68, he was elected to the National Council of the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN).

Martial Law Period

He joined the revolutionary underground when Pres. Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law on Sept. 21, 1972. In 1973, Ocampo co-founded the National Democratic Front (NDF), which sought to unite various anti-dictatorship forces.

In 1976, he was arrested, severely tortured and detained for the next nine years in various prison camps during which he led prison protest actions against torture and other human rights violations. He was tried by a military court for rebellion but was never found guilty. In 1985, he escaped from prison and rejoined the underground revolutionary movement.

Post-Martial Law

After the dictatorship fell in 1986, and President Corazon Aquino called for peace talks with the NDF, Ocampo headed the NDF peace negotiating panel. He returned to the underground when the talks collapsed due to the killing by state security forces of 18 farmers at a rally near the Presidential Palace on January 22, 1987.

In 1989, he was rearrested with his wife. The couple was charged with and tried for the crimes of murder, kidnapping with serious illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms in pursuance of rebellion. He was freed in 1992, a year after his wife was released, without having been found guilty of any crime.

For the next years, Ocampo worked with people’s organizations and human rights formations. He also wrote columns and commentaries for the Philippine News and Features and several newspapers.

Parliamentary Struggle

Ocampo was elected President of Bayan Muna at its founding in 1999; he was the party’s lead nominee in its first foray into electoral politics in the May 14, 2001 congressional party-list election.

Bayan Muna topped the party-list race with an unprecedented 11.7% of the votes cast, earning it more than the required number of votes for maximum three party-list seats in Congress. Three Bayan Muna-sponsored bills, the Overseas Voting Act, Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, and Strengthening the Public Attorney’s Office Act have been enacted into law.

In the 12th Congress, Bayan Muna initiated the formation of an alliance, the Legislators Against War (LAW), to oppose US aggression in Iraq and elsewhere in the guise of “war on terror,” and the Legislators-Businessmen-People’s Forum (LBPF) to protect Philippine industry and agriculture against the destructive impacts of globalization.

Ocampo headed his party’s nominees in the party list elections for the 13th Congress in 2004 and the 14th Congress in 2007. Bayan Muna topped the 2004 elections with 10.8% of the votes cast, again securing three seats in Congress. In the 2007 elections, Bayan Muna won a fresh mandate to retain its seats.

In the 13th Congress, Ocampo headed the House Special Committee on Peace, Unity and Reconciliation, and was a vice-chair of the Human Rights Committee.

Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela Women’s Party formed an independent bloc in 2005 and broke away from the House majority. As head of the bloc, Ocampo has since been elected a Deputy Minority Leader and is a member of all standing and special committees.

He is a principal author of the law abolishing the death penalty. He has authored bills penalizing torture and enforced disappearances, the Marcos human rights victims compensation bill, command responsibility bill, measures to develop a national drug industry, and others.

As a key opposition figure, Ocampo has survived thus far a sustained government campaign of political repression against his party and himself.

In 2007, he won the dismissal by the Supreme Court of a trumped-up rebellion charge, and bail also by the Supreme Court on trumped-up charges of multiple murder. The Inter-Parliamentary Union and parliamentarians worldwide have taken cognizance of these cases, and have urged the Philippine government to stop the campaign of brutal repression against Ocampo and the legal Left.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bayan Muna Party-list's Program

Guided by our shared commitment and principles, conscious of the lessons of our past and the requirements of building a truly sovereign and democratic present and future, we affirm the following objectives–

  • To establish a democratic, nationalist and popular government by empowering the people, ensuring their representation and participation in all levels of government decision-making.
  • To assert national sovereignty and independence and protect the national patrimony from foreign domination and control.
  • To promote a self-reliant and sustainable socio-economic development through the integrated programs of genuine land reform, national industrialization and protection of the environment.
  • To uphold and protect the people’s basic human rights and freedoms and ensure justice for all victims of human rights violations.
  • To improve the social and economic welfare of workers, peasants and other marginalized sectors by providing a comprehensive and progressive program in basic social services and livelihood.
  • To promote a national culture that is progressive, patriotic, scientific and popular and develop research and development in science and technology.
  • To guarantee the right to self-determination of the Bangsa Moro, Cordillera and other indigenous peoples and ensure their participation in all matters that directly affect them.
  • To remove all forms of gender oppression and discrimination against women and promote their full involvement in national affairs and other fields of endeavor.
  • To advance a national comprehensive policy on peace negotiations to address decisively the root causes of the prolonged armed conflict that has historically beset our country.
  • To foster a just policy of international relations that is independent, peace-oriented and mutually beneficial to our integrity, security and prosperity as a nation.