Migrante Sees Malacañang’s Hand in its Delisting, Says the Case Could Reach the Supreme Court


Their advocacy has often placed them in conflict with government officials. However, they do this not to spite the government but to remind it of its job of protecting the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). This is the reason why, said Migrante International, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has included their party list group Migrante Sectoral Party (MSP) in the list of 26 party list groups recently delisted by the poll body.

“Something stinks. We challenge the Comelec to explain to us and to many OFWs, who have been clamoring for MSP to run, the reasons behind the delisting of our party list group, especially now that our grassroots base has become stronger,”MSP’s Connie Bragas-Regalado said, “Comelec is denying the millions of OFWs, who have been called modern-day heroes, their legitimate right to be represented in Congress.”

Migrante reacted swiftly, barraging the office of the Comelec with an internationally-coordinated protest action last October 26. At the same time, Migrante has filed a verified opposition to the Comelec’s resolution which delisted Migrante.

In a television interview, Comelec Chairperson Jose Melo, said the MSP has every right to file a verified complaint while opining that it is highly unlikely that the Comelec would reverse its en banc decision. Melo, however, called Migrante a ‘sore loser’ for bringing the issue of its delisting to the media.

Regalado said that it is unbecoming for a chairperson of a government agency to badmouth party list groups like MSP. “We would not stoop down to his level,” she said firmly in a telephone interview with Bulatlat

Julius Garcia Matibag, a member of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) and the legal counsel of Migrante, asserted that the Comelec has no legal basis for delisting the Migrante Sectoral Party.

Republic Act No. 7941called the Party-List System Act provides that any national, regional, or sectoral party, organization, or coalition may be delisted, after due notice and hearing,

if it did not join the last two preceding party-list elections or failed to garner at least two percent of the votes cast under the party-list system in two preceding party list elections.

“The provisions are clear and there is no need to further interpret it because there is not an iota of ambiguity. First, Comelec has delisted Migrate without notice and hearing. Second, Migrante did not participate in only one election (2007 elections), not in two elections, and Migrante failed to obtain at least two percent of the votes cast under the party-list system in only one election (2004 elections), not in two elections. Thus, Migrante should not have been delisted” Matibag said, “Granting for the sake of argument that there is such ambiguity, it should be resolved in favor of the party-list group to give more spirit to the wisdom of the party-list system.”

Malacañang’s Hand

Regalado said that with its 23 chapters from various countries, Migrante is confident that it can truly represent OFWs in the Lower House.

The groups see Malacañang’s hand in the Comelec’s decision. They think the Arroyo administration moved for its delisting because it has been very vocal in exposing the government’s ‘criminal neglect’ in responding to cases of human trafficking, rights violations, abuse and exploitation affecting OFWs in various countries.

“This is double marginalization,” MSP chairperson in Hongkong Vicky Cabantac said. She said the problem of marginalization follows them wherever they go. Cabantac said they feel even more excluded with the faulty delisting of MSP as a legitimate group representing OFWs in the party-list system.

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