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St. Peter could have tagged along with Alyansa Sabungero the day it filed for party list accreditation recently at the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)—and his presence wouldn't stop doubters from bitching. What the cock are they crowing about? Well, political pundits belittle the political organization's motive for one, declaring even that the group's just out to make a mockery of the party-list system. Foul! So says Nid Anima of the Alyansa Sabungero when he, together with ally Rolando Luzong of Bantay Sabong, sits down with fhm.com.ph recently for one old-fashioned grilling...

What is Alyansa Sabungero?
Nid Anima:
Alyansa Sabungero is a party list organization that seeks to help the marginalized components of sabong—the kristo, mananari, sentenciador, the cock surgeon, the magbabalihibo ng manok the backyard game cock breeders. They earn very little, sometimes they earn nothing. The public only see the moneyed people in sabong like the Aranetas and the Cojuangcos. We're getting a lot of heat when we registered for party list accreditation. I'm very angry that some political figures have made a mockery of Alyansa Sabungero.

Why do you think Alyansa Sabungero qualifies as a party list rep?
Nid:
The fact that it is fighting for the marginalized components of sabong, that's all. I don't have to be a basurero to fight for the rights of the basurero. You need to have intelligence to be able to formulate laws for the marginalized.

How long have you been planning this?
Nid:
I have been waiting for someone to put up a party list for sabungeros since the introduction of the party list system in Congress. I didn't want to do it myself at first. But I told myself that if no group would establish one after the 2007 elections, I'd organize one myself in time for the next election.

And how is Bantay Sabong connected to Alyansa Sabungero?
Rolando Luzong:
Nid and I have been friends for a long time. Bantay Sabong guards the sport of sabong against campaigns being done by animal rights activist here like PETA and the Humane Society. PETA is very active now. They rally everywhere. At first, we were just observiing them. But when they did a demonstration in front of the Araneta Coliseum while the World Slasher Cup in 2008 was being held, that was when we finally understood they were out to stop sabong.

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So I organized Bantay Sabong in 2008 to protect, defend, promote and preserve sabong and oppose groups that depict sabungeros as cruel people. Bantay Sabong is the social movement, while Alyansa is political. Bantay Sabong backs Alyansa Sabungero.


INTERVIEW: GELO GONZALES
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