MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) allowed four more partylist groups to run in the 2013 elections and barred four others, Chairman Sixto Brillantes said Friday.
Sanlakas, 1-Abilidad, Ating Guro, and AWAT-Mindanao (Anti War / Anti-Terror Mindanao Peace Movement) may join the polls while 1-Kasambahay, Aasenso Barangay, Alay-Akay (Ang Alyansa Laban Sa Pang-aapi Sa May Kapansanan at Pang-aabuso sa Likas na Yaman) and Urban Poor Development Services should not.
Brillantes said that Sanlakas, the partylist group of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) spokesperson JV Bautista, had to re-apply after not joining the 2007 and 2010 elections. Bautista served as Sanlakas representative in 2004.
“Hindi namin nakita na originally may congressman na ito, tapos tumigil noong 2006 to 2007. Tumigil noong 2010 elections. New applicant pala ito for 2013. Tiningnan pa namin ‘yung records,” he said.
Sanlakas was disqualified in the 2010 elections for failing to garner two percent of all votes cast in the preceding two elections. It garnered only 0.62 percent of the votes in 2007, and 1.5 percent in 2004.
Meanwhile, Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento noted that the case of Sanlakas was similar to the groups Bayan Muna, Akbayan, which he described as “militant left.”
In defending the groups’ approval, Sarmiento cited the 2001 Supreme Court ruling Ang Bagong Bayani vs. Comelec that underground groups may participate in the partylist elections.
“Let them participate in mainstream politics. Let them come out of limbo,” Sarmiento said.
The Comelec has so far approved 84 partylist groups for the 2013 polls but Brillantes said that number could still increase as the poll body awaited the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the reprieve it officially granted to at least 33 disqualified partylist groups.