Ex-Alex Boncayao Brigade member sworn in as 290th House lawmaker
MANILA, Philippines—A former member of the Alex Boncayao Brigade is the 290th legislator at the House of Representatives.
Abang Lingkod representative Joseph Stephen Paduano was sworn in by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Wednesday after the chamber received his certificate of proclamation from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Abang Lingkod is a sectoral organization representing farmers and fisherfolk.
It participated in the May 2010 elections but failed to get the needed number of votes to have a seat in Congress. It was able to secure a party-list seat in the 2013 elections.
Militants sought the disqualification of the group as it allegedly represented a gun-for-hire organization supported by landed families in Negros Occidental.
Paduano is known as “Carapali Lualhati,” the national commander of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB), a communist urban hit squad that broke away from the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army.
The Comelec disqualified Abang Lingkod to run in the 2013 elections for failing to represent the marginalized sector but the Supreme Court later ruled in favor of the group.
When they were disqualified, the group took the case to the high tribunal, which stopped the Comelec from implementing the order against them.
Comelec maintained that Abang Lingkod should be disqualified. The group then went to the high court alleging that Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion.
The high court allowed Abang Lingkod to participate in the elections while the case was pending before eventually ruling to compel Comelec to proclaim them.
In 2013, the group obtained 260,215 votes out of over-all 26,722,131 party-list votes, which entitled them a seat at the House of Representatives.
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