‘Dynasties helped party lists win’By Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The country’s political dynasties delivered the votes for their favored party-list groups, an official of an election watchdog said Thursday.
Renato Reyes, one of the convenors of Kontra Daya, said the results of the 2013 party-list election showed that majority of the winners came from the elite class—particularly from political clans—while legitimate party-list groups were eased out of the winners’ circle.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to hold Friday a “partial proclamation” of the winners of the party-list election, where 58 seats in Congress are up for grabs.
“In many cases, the political dynasties of a region delivered the votes for a certain party-list group whose nominees belong to that dynasty,” Reyes said.
He said dynasties not content with regular congressional seats have now taken to using the party-list system to expand their power and influence and “to accommodate relatives possibly competing for limited local positions.”
“For 2013, the top party-list group Buhay has multimillionaires and a former Manila mayor as its incoming representatives,” he said.
Reyes noted that Abono was a top party-list group in La Union, getting 191,020 votes based on the Comelec’s unofficial count as of May 23.
“It was also No. 1 in Pangasinan where it got 265,181 votes. Abono got most of its votes from Region I. It is believed that the Ortega and Estrella dynasties delivered votes for the group,” Reyes said.
“Abono’s nominees are Conrado M. Estrella III and Francisco Emmanuel R. Ortega III. Interestingly, another Ortega won as the congressman of the first district of La Union while another Ortega won as provincial governor,” he added.
Reyes also noted that Aambis-Owa was top the party list in Iloilo after it obtained 129,788 votes. He said the group has links to the Garin clan of Iloilo.
“The group got most of its votes from Region VI. Aambis-Owa’s top nominee, incumbent Rep. Sharon Garin, a multimillionaire, comes from the powerful Garin family… Her brother Richard Garin also won as congressman in the first district of Iloilo,” he said.
On the other hand, Alay Buhay was the top vote-getter in Valenzuela with 70,963 votes “because of the powerful Gatchalian family.”
“Alay Buhay’s top nominee is Wesley Gatchalian, a businessman. His brother Sherwin also won a congressional seat in Valenzuela. Another brother, Rex, also won as mayor of Valenzuela,” Reyes said.
In the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the group AMIN also came out on top after getting 111,136 votes. The group’s top nominee, Sitti, is the wife of Mujiv Hataman, who ran and won as governor of ARMM, he added.
In Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboango Sibugay, party-list group Kakusa topped the race after getting 96,250 votes, he added.
Reyes said Kakusa’s nominees include former Zamboanga congressman and convicted rapist Romeo Jalosjos.
“Their family is quite influential in the region with another Jalosjos winning a congressional seat in Zamboanga del Norte,” he said.