Party list elections: Pro-Duterte groups in winning circle
MANILA, Philippines — At least half of the groups assured of a seat in the House of Representatives have either aligned with the Duterte administration during the campaign or whose advocacies have been questioned by poll watchdogs.
Based on partial and unofficial results as of 2:50 p.m. on Tuesday, Anticrime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) had received more than 2.5 million, or 9.47 percent, of the total votes cast for the party list system.
ACT-CIS, backed by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, is assured of the maximum three seats in the House since a single seat requires that a group get at least 2 percent of the total votes.
This means that the sister-in-law of special envoy to China Ramon Tulfo and wife of journalist Raffy Tulfo is likely to become a member of the House in June. Jocelyn Tulfo is the group’s second nominee.
Also able to get at least 2 percent of the total votes is Ang Probinsyano.
Banking on star power
Election watchdog group Kontra Daya has put Ang Probinsyano under scrutiny because its entire campaign practically banked on the popularity of Coco Martin and Yassi Pressman, lead actors of the TV series of the same name as the party list.
A similarly named entity, Probinsyano Ako, also landed as one of the top 10 party list groups. Outgoing Ilocos Norte Rep. Rudy Fariñas’ son, Rudys Caesar, is the group’s first nominee.
Construction magnate and incumbent 1Pacman Rep. Michael Romero is also seen to land another three-year term. His group obtained close to 700,000 votes.
Romero is the richest lawmaker with a reported net worth of P7 billion.
President Rodrigo Duterte also gained another ally in the House with the apparent win in the party list race of Ang Marino.
The group has vowed to push for policies supportive of the administration’s programs and agenda.
Ang Marino has highlighted in its campaign ads Mr. Duterte’s endorsement.
In the Makabayan bloc, only Bayan Muna cracked the Top 10.
Gabriela and ACT Teachers are so far among the top 20 groups, but both have yet to garner 2 percent of the total votes.
Kontra Daya convener Danilo Arao told the Inquirer on Tuesday that it was “unacceptable” that the party list race was being hijacked and won by moneyed groups and those that had the backing of politicians.
Arao wondered how a group claiming to represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors was able to spend so much money just to prop up its campaign.
“It’s an anomalous situation where you claim to be marginalized yet you have money to burn so to speak,” he said.
Arao said that since these groups were poised to gain power, the public should be vigilant and watch their track record to keep them accountable, especially to the people they claim to represent.
“We should promote a culture of constructive criticism. The people deserve nothing less. We should remain vigilant and scrutinize their track record,” he said.
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