MANILA, Philippines—The party-list group of El Shaddai leader Bro. Mike Velarde is downplaying rumors of a brewing rivalry among the Buhay nominees.
Buhay spokesman Bong Arriola said there was no conflict between Lito Atienza and Irwin Tieng, an incumbent Buhay party-list House member, after Atienza replaced Tieng as the party-list group’s second nominee, effectively demoting the latter to third place. Velarde’s son, incumbent House member Mariano Michael M. Velarde, Jr., is the group’s first nominee.
“What is the issue? There is no issue. The placement of the nominees were determined in a convention as early as September last year,” said Arriola in a phone interview. He said Atienza deserved a higher ranking than Tieng because he was among the founding members of Buhay when it was formed in October 1999.
Several sources said that Tieng, whose family owns the Solar Entertainment group, was displeased by Velarde’s decision to demote him. Tieng is on his second term as a party-list lawmaker and his drop to No. 3 will make it difficult for him to get a third term. Tieng did not reply to the Inquirer’s calls.
The law allocates 20 percent of the total seats in Congress for sectoral representatives. Seat allocations for party-list groups are based on their percentage share of the total votes cast for all party-list groups, with a minimum two percent share required for the first seat. Parties can get a maximum of three seats until the 20 percent quota is reached.
Buhay was able to get the maximum three seats only once in the last four elections—in 2007 when it garnered the most votes among party-list groups with 1,169,338, or 7.3 percent of the total votes cast.
In the 2001, 2004 and 2010 elections, Buhay’s votes were only good for two seats.
In the 2010 elections, only the Ako Bikol party-list managed to get three seats.
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