Comelec won’t let ‘Aangat’ riseBy Jocelyn R. Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday announced that it has unanimously decided to also disqualify the party-list Aangat Tayo (We Will Rise), which claims to represent the youth, the elderly and the urban poor, from the elections next year.
Aangat Tayo party-list is currently being represented in Congress by Daryl Grace Abayon, wife of former congressman Harlin Abayon of Northern Samar. She has also been listed as the first nominee of the group for the 2013 derby.
In a press conference late afternoon Friday, Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Aangat Tayo was delisted from the 2013 balloting basically because it was representing “multiple and conflicting” sectors and its nominees did not belong to the sectors.
Brillantes said Aangat Tayo was similar to Ako Bicol, which was also a multi-sectoral group and was the first to be disqualified to run in the upcoming elections.
“First of all, they are multi-sectoral which creates doubt already… How can you represent the youth and the elderly at the same time?” Brillantes told reporters.
He disclosed that the Comelec also ruled to disqualify Aangat Tayo because of its nominees. “The nominees don’t belong to the sector that they are supposed to be representing,” he pointed out.
“This is what we’ve been discussing before—that you can [represent] multi-sectors which are related and not conflicting,” he added.
A document submitted to the Comelec by poll watchdog Kontra Daya (Against Cheating) showed that Aangat Tayo is a party-list group claiming to represent labor, urban poor, elderly, women, youth and overseas workers.
Kontra Daya also reported that the party was led by Teddie Elson Rivera, a former official of the state-owned Philippine International Trading Corp.
It also noted that Abayon was among the wealthiest party-list representatives in Congress with a net worth of P23.443 million in her 2011 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
So far, the Comelec has delisted four groups with sitting lawmakers in Congress. Aside from Ako Bicol, it also disqualified 1st Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy (1-Care) and the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (Apec).
Sen. Koko Pimentel earlier urged the Senate to investigate the Comelec decision to delist Ako Bicol since it would mean “massive disenfranchisement of the group’s constituents.”
But Brillantes said the legislature had no business investigating a quasi-judicial body and an independent commission like the Comelec in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions.