May 8, 2010
The Kontra Daya campaign group today denounced the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for dismissing the disqualification cases filed against presidential son and Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, who is the first nominee of Ang Galing Pinoy Partylist (AG).
A number of groups have sought Arroyo’s disqualification from the party-list race, arguing that he is not from the ranks of the security guards and small businessmen that AG claims to represent, nor is he an active advocate of these groups.
In the 2001 case Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. Commission on Elections, et al, the Supreme Court ruled that a party-list group “must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the government. By the very nature of the party-list system, the party or organization must be a group of citizens, organized by citizens and operated by citizens. It must be independent of the government. 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.”
In the same ruling, the Supreme Court stated that not only the candidate party-list group, but also its nominees, must represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors.
The Comelec’s own Rules on Disqualification Cases Against Party-List Groups/Nominees, promulgated last March 25, states that for a person to be qualified as a party-list nominee, he must “(belong) to the marginalized and underrepresented sector/s, the sectoral party, organization, political party or coalition he seeks to represent.”
Kontra Daya convener Renato Reyes Jr. said that with these, the Comelec should have lost no time in disqualifying Arroyo. “The decision to disqualify Mikey should have been a no-brainer,” he said.
“The junking of the petitions is totally outrageous,” Reyes also said. “It defies the Constitution and plain common sense.”
Reyes added that disqualifying Arroyo could have helped the Comelec gain some credibility at a time when its competence is again in question, especially with the glitches in what is going to be the first automated election in the country’s history.
“With the junking of the disqualification petitions, the Comelec now raises suspicions that it is not independent of Malacañang and the Arroyos, that it is under the thumb of the Arroyos,” Reyes said. “This is worrisome, now with more uncertainties in the May 10 polls. The Comelec has diminished whatever little is left of its credibility.”
Reyes also called on the public to reject all party-list groups with links to the Arroyo administration. (Bulatlat.com)