‘Unseat us Asap,’ disqualified Ako Bikol lawmaker Garbin dares ComelecBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines— Recently dismissed Ako Bicol party-list lawmaker Alfredo Garbin Jr. on Thursday challenged Comelec to unseat him and fellow Ako-Bicol party mates right away and not wait for June 13 “if we really do not work to represent the marginalized.”
He dared Comelec to have them dismissed at the House of Representatives electoral tribunal.
He also questioned the recent proclamation of Alay Buhay Partylist Representative Weslie Gatchalian, a known businessman.
“They questioned us for being lawyers and businessmen and yet they proclaimed him (Gatchalian) as a lawmaker? I’m not saying that he isn’t qualified but he is also moneyed,” Garbin said.
Garbin maintained that the Supreme Court has made a ruling in the past that party-list lawmakers need not be poor in order to qualify. “The important thing is that we represent the sector and our constituents’ advocacies.”
His fellow Ako Bicol Party-list lawmakers believe that the Comelec was sending a message with the recent resolution that sought to unseat them from the House of Representatives.
“They want to say that if they were able to unseat the number one partylist in the 2010 elections, they can take on any group,” said Ako Bicol Partylist Representative Rodel Batocabe, referring to militant party-list groups that were able to grab several congressional seats before they came along.
Ako Bicol has three seats at the lower chamber of the 15th Congress occupied by Garbin, Batocabe and businessman Christopher Co.
Batocabe said they will push through with filing a case at the high tribunal despite the Comelec’s ruling, which is a decision rendered with finality.