Palace should stay neutral in partylist war, say lawmakersBy Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers said on Wednesday Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda should not take sides in the brewing war between rival leftist party-list groups.
“It’s grossly unethical for the Presidential Spokesperson to make partisan statements regarding the accreditation of party-lists. Not only can this be construed as a crude attempt to influence the decision-making processes of Comelec (Commission on Elections), an independent constitutional body. It’s all the more outrageous, considering that the accreditation of Palace-backed party-list groups such as Akbayan and Lacierda’s own Black & White Movement are under scrutiny,” said ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio.
“He should let them thresh out their issues on their own. He does not have to lawyer for them, he is in government already,” said Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay.
Last Tuesday, Lacierda told Malacañang reporters that Bayan Muna should also be disqualified if the Comelec decided to kick out Akbayan in Congress.
Both Bayan Muna and Akbayan are multi-sectoral representatives that are in danger of losing their eligibility after Ako Bikol was disqualified on the grounds that it did not represent a single marginalized sector and was representing the Bicol region, which already had district representatives in the House.
Anakbayan, an affiliate of Bayan Muna, has called Akbayan a “fake” party-list, saying its members have been occupying key government posts, specifically political affairs adviser Ronald Llamas.
Lacierda lashed back: “If that’s the case, so should Bayan Muna because it’s fielding Teddy Casiño who is running as a senatorial candidate. What is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.” Lacierda used the same forum to bat for the eligibility of his group, the Black & White Movement, in the Comelec’s on-going party-list accreditation.
“I know what Black and White stands for, I believe in the principles that it stands for,” said Lacierda who was the group’s blogger before he was picked as one of the spokespersons during the President’s campaign in 2010.
Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino said that Lacierda’s bias for a few party-list groups betrayed Malacañang’s hand in the purge of party-list groups to replace them with its favored groups.
“He (Lacierda) is free to voice out his opinion about the matter. But the longer he speaks and exposes his bias in favor of Akbayan and Black & White, the more he affirms our criticism that Malacañang is directly backing these supposedly marginalized and underrepresented groups,” said Palatino.
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