The camp of labor leader and presidential aspirant Leody de Guzman on Thursday said they are ready to face the consequences of their February 8 proclamation rally after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it did not have the required permit.
In a television interview, Sonny Melencio, de Guzman's campaign manager, said they rushed to file a permit ahead of the rally, which had a last minute change of venue.
According to Melencio, they had a permit approved by the Quezon City government to conduct the rally in Amoranto, which was their original plan. However, the “lapse” happened when they decided to transfer to the Bantayog ng mga Bayani.
“The team finally decided, kasi may mga requests, to shift to Bantayog ng mga Bayani. It’s also our way of honoring the victims and martyrs of the Martial Law era kasi marami sa 'min do’n nanggaling,” he said.
(The team finally decided, because there were requests, to transfer to Bantayog ng mga Bayani. It’s also our way of honoring the victims and martyrs of the Martial Law Era because many of us experienced it.)
Comelec Director Elaiza Sabile-David on Tuesday said there was no record of a campaign application permit filed by de Guzman’s camp for his proclamation rally at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani.
Melencio said when they heard this, they immediately talked to their lawyers to resolve the issue.
“They rushed para i-file ‘yung permit. So it was filed. Kaya itinuloy namin habang naghihintay ‘yung mga nandun sa iba’t ibang lugar. We said, ‘Come in kasi nakapag file na tayo,’ but we’re ready to face the consequences nung aming ginawa,” he added.
(They rushed to file the permit and it was filed. So, we continued while there were others waiting from different areas. We said, ‘Come in because we’ve already filed,’ but we’re ready to face the consequences of what we did.)
De Guzman’s party pushed through with his proclamation rally.
Asked if that would be an election offense, David earlier said, “Definitely, it is an election offense because the requirement is they need to seek a permit first before conducting a campaign. It is an election offense.”
De Guzman on Wednesday also acknowledged that his camp had lapses on the filing of permit prior to holding his proclamation rally in Quezon City.
The labor leader, however, stressed that they observed the health protocols for the gathering set by the Comelec due to COVID-19 and even said that the proclamation rally had a “good outcome.”
Plans after election
Meanwhile, asked on what de Guzman’s plan is should he loses in the presidential race, Melencio said their long-term goal is to build a “strong movement” to change the brand of Philippine politics.
“Alam naman namin na ang fight na ito ay is not only sa eleksyon, kasi the election is not our game actually. It’s the game of the trapos, the old pulitkos, at laging the cards are stacked up against us kaya alam namin ‘yun,” he said.
(We know that this fight is not only in the elections because the election is not actually our game. It’s the game of the corrupt, of traditional politicians, and the cards are always stacked against us.)
He said he believes their efforts will greatly help in change politics in the country, from one dominated by the elite to one that is people-centered one.
Melencio said de Guzman will continue his presidential campaign and they “will fight to win.”
“We have the political will. Whatever happens, there’s a movement that we are going to build, and we will fight to the last drop of our blood,” he said. —KBK, GMA News