Comelec to ax more party-list groupsBy Jocelyn R. Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Amid brewing tension among party-list groups, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday said the anxious wait to find out their fate in the 2013 election would soon be over.
“Just [keep your cool] because the decisions will be coming out soon,” said Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Tuesday upon learning about the word war that erupted between Akbayan and Anakbayan at the former’s press conference in Manila.
Last week, Anakbayan, a left-leaning youth group, filed a petition before the Comelec seeking the disqualification of Akbayan in the party-list elections next year. The other petitioner was the National Union of Students of the Philippines.
Citing the appointment to government posts of several Akbayan members, including Ronald Llamas, President Aquino’s presidential political affairs adviser, the petition said Akbayan had ceased to represent the marginalized sector, thus it should be disqualified from the elections.
In a press conference in Ermita on Tuesday, Akbayan was explaining why the organization should not be disqualified from the 2013 elections when some members of Anakbayan barged in and chanted “Disqualify Akbayan, fake party list” while the briefing was going on.
Members of the Akbayan, in turn, shouted “KSP [kulang sa pansin]” and “utak pulbura.”
In an interview, Brillantes said it was just a matter of time before the Comelec en banc would be issuing its verdict on Akbayan and other party-list groups whose chances in the 2013 congressional elections hang in the balance.
He estimated that the Comelec would finish handing down its decision on disqualified party-list groups by the end of the month.
“Our problem is we don’t really want to rush up issues that are debatable,” said the Comelec chief in explaining why the poll body was announcing delisted party-list on a piecemeal basis.
He explained that the first two announcements involved party-list groups that were unanimously voted to be disqualified by the Comelec en banc. It would soon come out with the list of groups ineligible to participate in the elections that garnered 5-1 and 4-2 votes from the commission members.
“We can’t issue decisions on these groups immediately because we also have to wait for the dissenting opinions,” Brillantes said.
The Comelec will announce last those groups that got a 3-3 votes. Newly appointed commissioner Grace Padaca on Tuesday agreed to break the tie after reviewing the pertinent documents, according to Brillantes.
In the case of Akbayan, the Comelec en banc has yet to vote on whether it should be retained or dropped from the 2013 elections. “It is still under study,” said Brillantes. This was also his reply to Akbayan Representative Walden Bello when the latter called him up earlier to ask about Akbayan’s status.