Palace: Aquino allies may run in party-list electionsBy TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang won’t stop allies of President Benigno Aquino from joining the party-list elections as long as they comply with the rules set by the Commission on Elections, officials said Saturday.
“Just because someone is an ally of the President, that’s an unfair basis for saying that you should not be part of it. We should look at the ground rules,” Abigail Valte, one of the President’s official spokespersons said over the government-run dzRB.
After all, it’s the Comelec that screens and vets the party-list groups for inclusion in the 2013 elections based on the electoral rules and provisions of the Constitution, Valte said.
“If they qualify under the rules that are set up by the Constitution, by the pertinent law and by the guidelines, then the evaluation should be made on that alone, and not because you are supportive or affiliated with the President,” she said.
Valte conceded that there were by fly-by-night party-list groups during the Arroyo administration, and there could be still some today, but not all could be branded as such.
“In the case of Black and White [Movement], is it a fly-by-night group? What sector is it representing? … And I think Fr. Dizon knows this. To my recollection, he has worked with the Black and White Movement when they were protesting the past administration. So the accusation of fly-by-night is not something that will fly again in this particular organization. Pardon the pun, no pun intended,” she said.
Election watchdog Kontra Daya had asked President Aquino to prohibit his allies from undermining the spirit of the party-list system which is reserved for the marginalized sectors.
The group’s convener, Fr. Joe Dizon, had identified the Black and White Movement, Abante Retirees and Alliance of Mindano as among party-list groups seeking accreditation and whose future nominees included allies of the President.
Kontra Daya compiled a database of dubious party-list groups and submitted this to the Comelec to help clean up the system.
Valte also expressed support for the Comelec’s effort to clean up the party-list system.
“That is something that really should be done by the Comelec to prevent the party-list system to be used for something other than what was intended by the [spirit] of the Constitution,” she said.