Axed party-lists get little help from HouseBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Thursday sympathized with incumbent party-list groups that found themselves barred from facing the electorate next year by the Commission on Elections.
In an interview with reporters, Belmonte said that although he shared the sentiments of lawmakers belonging to the axed party-list groups despite being accredited in the past elections, he has power to initiate moves that will make Comelec reconsider its ruling.
He agreed with the Comelec’s method of partial announcement of disqualified groups. He said that it was necessary that the commission was releasing the information that way, saying “you cannot have the one-rule-applies-to-all policy. You have to scrutinize all the party-lists.”
Belmonte, however, did not agree with the Comelec’s disclosure of the estimated number of groups that would be facing disqualification . About 100 party-lists could be weeded out by the poll body, according to Comelec chief Sixto Brillantes.
“If I were in their shoes, I would just go ahead and do it…,” he said.
He said that he has spoken individually to embattled partylist legislators but denied that a caucus had been called to tackle the issue.
Leaders of the axed party-list groups, Belmonte said, should raise the issue with the Supreme Court if they believe that they were treated unfairly by the Comelec.