Comelec favoring Arroyo party-lists, watchdog claims

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02:32 AM December 1st, 2012

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By: Jocelyn R. Uy, December 1st, 2012 02:32 AM

Poll watchdog Kontra Daya on Friday said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gave other nonmarginalized groups it had disqualified from the 2013 midterm election “legal ammunition” by accrediting at least 16 party-list groups linked to President Benigno Aquino III and his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The group said the poll body’s process of reviewing and dropping party-list groups that did not pass scrutiny under the laws and jurisprudence governing the party-list system law appeared to be selective and inconsistent.

“We are appalled by the inconsistent ruling of the Comelec. They effectively shot themselves on the foot with this one,” said Fr. Joe Dizon, Kontra Daya spokesperson and convenor in a statement on Friday.

Nonmarginalized reps

He noted that several party-list groups were still allowed to run in the 2013 election although their nominees do not belong to marginalized or underrepresented sectors.

He identified them as Ang Mata’y Alagaan, which initially listed its nominees as the wife and children of Supreme Court Justice Presbitero Velasco; Bagong Henerasyon identified with Quezon City Councilor Bernadette Herrera; former Secretary Nasser Pangandaman’s group Kasosyo; the Agrarian Development Association of the Singson political clan in Ilocos; and the Abante Retirees of former Rep. Plaridel Abaya, father of Transportation and Communications Secretary Jun Abaya.

Kontra Daya said some groups currently represented in Congress by multimillionaire nominees have also been allowed to participate in next year’s elections.

These groups include the Ang Asosasyon Sang Mangunguma Nga Bisaya-Owa Manguguma Inc. represented by Sharon Garin; the Association of Labor and Employees by Rep. Catalina Bagasina and Ang Kasangga currently represented by Rep. Teodorico Haresco.

Wealthiest party-lister

Bagasina is the wealthiest party-list representative with a net worth of P133.938 million. Garin and Haresco are “multimillionaire party-list solons” with a net worth of P25.865 million and P92.814 million, respectively.

The group also wondered why Alay Buhay, A Teacher, 1Joint Alliance of Marginalized Group Inc., Agbiag!, Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines, Yacap, Arts Business and Science Professionals of Rep. Catalina Pizarro and Buhay party-list linked to the Velardes of El Shaddai were accredited again for the upcoming elections.

“Comelec’s campaign of cleansing the party-list system is not thoroughgoing and appears selective,” said Dizon. “It retained many incumbent party-list groups that are represented or were created by wealthy families that are already well-entrenched in power, while it denied the accreditation of party-list groups that truly represent marginalized sectors.”

Meanwhile, a Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) official on Friday lauded the Comelec for allowing prolife groups to run in next year’s elections.

Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said party-list groups Buhay and Ang Prolife would represent the “marginalized” sector of “mothers and their unborn children.”

“We are happy that these lay groups have been granted accreditation. (Lay people) have established it on their own initiative to protect the welfare of the marginalized sector of the mother and their unborn children, especially the poor,” Castro said. With a report from Philip C. Tubeza

 First posted 7:33 pm | Friday, November 30th, 2012

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