It is not the absence of laws, but the incompetence of Comelec officials that has resulted in the entry of spurious partylist groups in the May 10 elections.
This was the analysis of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance) as it vowed to oppose the partylist nomination of Pampanga Congressman and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo son Mikey Arroyo, and the accreditation of his so-called partylist Ang Galing Pinoy.
“For years now, the Comelec has allowed the destruction of the partylist system by accrediting groups that are adjuncts of government or organized by politicians and other influential groups. The Comelec has turned a blind eye to the obvious maneuvers of the Arroyo regime to use the partylist system to entrench Arroyo allies in power. It is merely using the question of laws as a lame excuse to cover up its ineptitude,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
Bayan cited Republic Act 7941 which gives the rationale of the partylist system as a mechanism “which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties xxx to become members of the House of Representatives.”
“When Chairman Melo says that a tricycle driver cannot be expected to represent his sector in Congress, he is not only giving a condescending remark, he is also misinterpreting the law. The law was crafted to enable the tricycle driver or members of the marginalized sector themselves to become members of Congress,” Reyes said.
“The law was not enacted so that politicians and other influential interest groups can represent the marginalized. The partylist system was created so that the marginalized themselves — the farmers, workers, youth, women– would become members of congress,” he emphasized.
The group also said that a 2001 ruling of the Supreme Court in the case Bagong Bayani vs Comelec laid down the parameters for accrediting partylist groups and nominees. The ruling said that “a party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the government. “
The ruling also said that “the participation of the government or its officials in the affairs of a party-list candidate is not only illegal and unfair to other parties, but also deleterious to the objective of the law: to enable citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors and organizations to be elected to the House of Representatives.”
“The SC ruling is clear on the issue of what a marginalized party is and who the nominees should be. Following the SC ruling, Mikey Arroyo and the two other nominees of Ang Galing Pinoy are evidently disqualified because they are incumbent, elected government officials. They even have well-defined political constituencies which are their cities or districts,” Reyes added.
“Melo has shown an unprecedented bias against the marginalized groups by claiming that those coming from these sectors are unfit to be members of Congress and that only the big-time politicians can represent them,” Reyes said.
Ang Galing Pinoy has named Mikey Arroyo, Lubao Mayor Dennis Pineda and Bacolor Mayor Buddy Dungca as its first three nominees. All are currently elected officials of the province of Pampanga and are known Arroyo allies.
“They should have renamed AGP to ‘Allies of Gloria in Pampanga’ because that is what the nominees are,” Reyes added.
Bayan is encouraging the people to report the existence of unqualified partylists to the anti-fraud group Kontra Daya. The Kontra Daya hotline is 0921-2953004 and the email is firstname.lastname@example.org. The anti-fraud group said it will investigate reports of alleged spurious partylist groups and nominees.
Kontra Daya has submitted a letter-complaint to the Comelec calling on the poll body to look into the qualifications of BIDA partylist, a PAGCOR organized entity, as well as Babae Ka, LYPAD, Kalahi and Agbiag which were included in a memorandum by Malacanang’s Office for External Affairs as the groups being supported by the Arroyo government in 2007. Also questioned by Kontra Daya was the accreditation of ADAM partylist which was organized by Energy Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan.