Party-list Ako Bicol to question Comelec ruling on disqualificationBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines — Representatives of Ako Bicol party-list on Wednesday said that they would file a motion questioning the constitutionality of the Commission on Elections ruling that barred the party from next year’s elections.
Ako Bicol part-list will also seek a temporary restraining order on the Comelec’s order.
Representatives Alfredo Garbin Jr. and Rodel Batocabe told reporters in a press conference that they were wrongfully disqualified “for being lawyers” and for businessman Representative Zaldy Co’s contracts with the previous government.
Garbin said that they will file a case with the Supreme Court by Monday. “This will be a question of law and the constitutionality of the decision promulgated by Comelec today. We will include a prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order,” he said.
“We are being treated like guinea pigs. We were accredited as a regional political partylist which is accepted under the law. Now they are flip-flopping on their decisions,” said an emotional Batocabe who pointed out that they were initially given accreditation by the Comelec first division which has now been revoked by its second division.
He said that they were being “singled out” for the same allegations, saying that they were fighting “because our constituents need us. Comelec definitely abused its power.”
“Zaldy Co is an ordinary businessman who happens to have contracts with the previous administration,” said Garbin, asking why their being lawyers were being brought up when “many other congressmen here are also lawyers and businessmen, too,” said Garbin.
“Comelec should have at least checked out track record to see the work we have done for our sector. These are properly documented, we did not invent our proof,” he maintained, citing an earlier Supreme Court ruling which stated that partylist lawmakers are not required to be of a certain financial status to be accredited.
Garbin said that they were “deeply saddened” with what they saw as flip-flopping on the part of Comelec which granted them accreditation in the 2010 polls even after facing a similar case before they could serve as members of the House of Representatives.
“We were voted number 1 in 2010, we are confident that in the end justice will prevail,” he said.