The Commission on Elections should clarify and make certain common poster areas in cities, especially in Mandaluyong. And Comelec officials should ensure the safety of political opponents of the Abalos' and Gonzales' families. I personally witnessed how the dominant political hegemon in Mandaluyong is denying their political opponents, both national and local, access to these common poster areas.
Last night, while doing my midnight rounds in urban poor communities, I and my group of grassroots organizers were harassed by member of the barangays and the Mayors Action Center (MAC) of Mandaluyong mayor Benhur Abalos. When I was still a journalist, Benhur was a good friend. I even supped dinner with him, when he was still being groomed by his father as a successor to him. Now, I myself, fell victim to the rapaciousness and the almost dictatorial-like behavior of his men.
Unfortunate since I know Benhur to be a good man. And he, definitely, will not tolerate these kinds of behavior.
It seemed though that politics have indeed changed the man.
I learned from barangay officials in Mandaluyong that the Abaloses' gave explicit instructions to deny postering of known political enemies of the family in the city. The COMELEC designated common poster areas in all other cities. I observed, however, that in Mandaluyong, there were no designated common poster areas. If there were, then, these are BANNED from being used by political opponents of the two dominant political clans in the city---the Abaloses and the Gonzaleses.
Fact is, the long stretch of Martinez avenue is banned from Noynoy Aquino and JDV3 posters. JDV3 Movement supporters were warned not to place JDV3 posters in these areas, even in public markets and residences because Joey de Venecia III, according to some barangay officials, is a known political enemy of former mayor Benjamin Abalos sr.
When a Noynoy supporter reportedly posted a tarp of the Liberal party bet infront of his house, which happened to be along Martinez avenue, people wearing vests and with firearms reportedly cased the house and took some photos. After a few days, the house was ordered torn down for allegedly being an "obstruction."
Urban poor residences along the avenue are being constantly warned of dire consequences should they disobey the wishes of the Abaloses. Fact is, suspicions arose that the fire which ate up most of Welfareville was a "warning" to those who were planning to oppose the Ampatuan-like political clans in Mandaluyong. Previous to the big fire, peoples of Welfareville were planning to oppose the Abaloses and were, in fact, supportive of the Domingos who are traditional political opponents of the Abaloses.
Similar instances were also noted when some residents of Parola installed tarps of Noynoy Aquino and plastic posters of Joey de Venecia III. These posters were placed in areas legally allowed by the Comelec. However, some barangay officials reportedly visited these residents and asked them to tore down these posters otherwise " there'll be consequences."
Urban poor supporters of Noynoy Aquino and Joey de Venecia III were reportedly being harassed constantly by barangay officials in Mandaluyong. Supporters of the Domingos and the De Guzmans who are planning to contest the mayoral posts being held by Benhur Abalos are also being asked not to take part in the polls for pain of "harassment or death."
The Comelec and the military should put Mandaluyong in their hotspot list. My colleagues in the Media and civil society should not look far--here in the heart of Metro Manila lives a very dangerous political clan out to terrorize and deprive the people their voices and subvert their wills.
They have been doing this for the past twenty years and the peoples of Mandaluyong are sick and tired of them. Civil society should struggle against this political clan and people must militate against the Abaloses.
What is most comforting is this---one of the Noynoy and JDV3 supporter told me that no amount of coercive or terroristic tactics will ever deny them their right and their will to vote for New Politics in their city.
Joey de Venecia III represents New Politics, as well as Noynoy. The People's will will be followed. And Justice will reign in Mandaluyong if the people unite and civil society help them.
Let the New Patriots of the New Generation train their guns, err, sight on the Abaloses.