Local dynasties behind many partylist groups, says Atienza
MANILA, Philippines — What’s a better way to win a partylist seat? Go local.
Incoming Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza sounded, on Thursday, the alarm on powerful families in control of local political bailiwicks who put up their own partylist groups to gain seats in the House of Representatives.
Atienza said this was the reason why his own group encountered difficulties and had to focus on its traditional strongholds during the campaign.
“Local leaders of vote-rich provinces realized that partylist groups were trying to get votes from their areas. So they realized, why not put up my own partylist group?” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in Filipino.
Atienza said the strategy worked in the case of organizations whose main supporters were based in a particular province or region.
“If you are someone from the North, why vote for a group that is based in the Visayas? Naturally, you would choose your own,” he explained.
Among the first batch of partylist groups proclaimed by the Commission on Elections were Ako Bicol and An Waray, which both won two seats.
Atienza warned against the “mutation of political dynasties” through partylist groups.
“Political dynasties are now getting into the picture,” he said.
“This should be looked into so that the role of party list groups in lawmaking will not only be maintained, but also enhanced.”
Incidentally, the man behind Atienza’s group, TV evangelist Bro. Mike Velarde of the El Shaddai movement, also fielded another partylist organization in the last elections.
Also in the mix was Pacyaw (Pilipino Association for Country-Urban Poor Youth Advancement and Welfare), whose nominees included Velarde’s son Rene, a former Buhay representative.
But unlike Buhay, whose first nominee was another Velarde son Michael, Pacyaw was unsuccessful. Had Pacyaw won, there would have been two Velardes representing separate partylist organizations in the 16th Congress.