20 more party-list groups out from 2013 midterm pollsBy Tina G. Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The civil society group Black and White Movement, one of whose nominees is singer Leah Navarro, may be one of the 20 groups the Commission on Elections (Comelec) may disqualify from next year’s party-list election.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said Thursday that the 20 groups failed to meet the standards for party-list groups set by the Constitution and the Party-list System Act.
Brillantes, however, refused to name the latest casualties of the Comelec’s review of the party-list system that he had described as a “joke.”
Under the Constitution and the party-list law, only 12 marginalized and underrepresented sectors of the population can seek congressional representation: labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers and professionals.
But many of the 289 applicants for accreditation to run in the 2013 party-list election do not represent any of those sectors and their nominees are either former government officials or members of wealthy and influential clans.
Helping the Comelec cleanse the party-list system is the election watchdog Kontra Daya, which has developed a database of dubious groups that serves as one of the guides in the commission’s review of the qualifications of applicants.
Among the groups Kontra Daya has recommended for disqualification is Black and White Movement, one of whose nominees Navarro, is still a member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
But Black and White is fighting for its application. It issued a statement yesterday saying it did not have to be “leftist to qualify”—a dig at Kontra Daya—and “fight for the marginalized.”
Black and White also defended its nominees, including Navarro, whose term on the MTRCB, it said, ended on Sept. 30. Navarro, however, is still serving, and will leave when President Aquino appoints a replacement for her.
“We have meticulously complied with the requirements for a regional political party [in the National Capital Region] participating in the party-list system,” Black and White said. “All of our nominees belong to the sectors being represented. And none of them [is a] former [politician]. None of them [is] associated with any business interest or political clan.”
Black and White claims to represent women, youth and urban poor.
“If elected, we are committed to sponsor and support legislation that [would] protect and advance the interests of the sectors we represent,” Black and White said.
As the Comelec is not yet ready to name the 20 applicants that have been disqualified, it is unclear whether Black and White Movement is still in the running for the party-list election.
“Next week we will announce the partial list of disqualified groups,” Brillantes said.
The disqualification of the 20 groups brings to 37 the number of applicants to lose their attempt to win seats in the House of Representatives.
Brillantes said the commission’s deliberations had already covered 50 to 60 percent of the applicants.
“We’re coming out with a decision in one week’s time,” Brillantes said.
Which groups will be allowed to run will be known “before the end of the month,” he said.
Early results of the Comelec review cited 17 organizations being disqualified.
Among those groups were the Addicts and Alcoholics Carrying the Message Association, the Asosasyon ng Mangangalakal (Askal) and the United Philippine Transport Tricycle, Trisikad, Habal-Habal Operators and Drivers Association.
Also disqualified were Aksyon Mahirap (Amin); 1-Aangat Ka Pilipino (1-AK); Isa Akong Magsasaka Foundation (1 AM); Aniban ng Magtutubig ng Pilipinas (Ama ng Pilipinas); Sararong Bicolnon; Aurora Intergated Multi-Purpose Cooperative (1-Aimcoop); and Nagkaisang Alay sa Bayan ng Maka-DIyos at Makabayang Nangangalakal (1Abayan); Ako at ang Basura Movement (Ako Ba); Alliance for Democracy and Morality–Bantay Pasahero (Adam-Bantay Pasahero); National Crusaders for Peace and Democracy (NCPD); Mindanao Allied Forces (MAF); Vendors Aggruption (@1Vendors); Bangon Mangingisda (BM); and Philippine Banana Pioneer Foundation Inc. (Banana Workers).