Ex-gov’t execs, political clans lead party-listBy Jocelyn R. Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—An election watchdog has observed that more than 30 of the 165 party-list groups seeking accreditation from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) have appointed nominees who are either former government officials or members of powerful political clans in the country.
Among the nominees the Quezon City-based group Kontra Daya found questionable included relatives and allies of President Aquino and those of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Kontra Daya cited Mr. Aquino’s aunt, Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, who was chosen as the main representative of Aksyon Magsasaka-Partido Tinig ng Masa, a supposed farmers’ rights advocate.
The poll watchdog said Cojuangco had “no business” representing the farmers sector. “It was created merely by the landlords of this country to circumvent the law,” it said.
Kontra Daya also cast doubt on the Black and White Movement, whose personalities and conveners have been appointed to various positions in the Aquino cabinet, particularly Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and presidential peace adviser Ging Deles.
The group listed Leah Navarro, board member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, as its first nominee.
The poll watchdog also criticized the bid of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, to become the second nominee of a legitimate transport group, Pasang Masda Nationwide Inc.
Kontra Daya described the bid of Agrarian Development Association for party-list accreditation as a move intended by the Singson political clan to gain more seats in Congress.
The party-list group named Eric Singson, a former deputy speaker in Congress and four-time congressman, as the first nominee and the latter’s son, Eric “Owen” Singson Jr., as the second nominee.
“It would be a major defeat for the party-list system, if this powerful political family gets a seat in Congress through a party-list election,” said Kontra Daya.
The group said it will start filing a formal opposition against the groups’ bid for accreditation before the Comelec next week.