June 16, 2010
The party-list group Batang Iwas Droga (BIDA), founded by former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) chief Efraim Genuino and which fielded Genuino’s daughter Sheryl Genuino-See as its first nominee during the May elections, received funds from the government gaming agency, documents show. This, the anti-fraud group Kontra Daya said, boosts its position that BIDA is ineligible for competing in the elections as a party-list group and should thus be disqualified.
Kontra Daya received copies of checks Pagcor paid to BIDA Foundation Inc. and BIDA Production Incorporated.
BIDA Foundation Inc. received a total of P28.2 million in check payments – P26.7 million on Dec. 23, 2008 and P1.5 million on March 17, 2009 – for production expenses for the film Baler and for food packs, respectively.
BIDA Production Incorporated, meanwhile, was paid a total of P24.98 million for services rendered for the Pagcor project Maligayang Barangay, as well as for promotional and video materials for the same project; promotional materials and judging for the Pinakamaligayang Barangay project; and BIDA members’ IDs and pins, as well as tarpaulin and collaterals. Payments for BIDA members’ pins alone amount to a staggering P8.82 million.
“These documents boost our assertion that the Commission on Elections, or Comelec, should never have accredited BIDA as a party-list group,” said Kontra Daya convener Fr. Joe Dizon. “BIDA is clearly a government-funded project and has no place in the party-list system.”
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.”
Kontra Daya filed a petition for disqualification against BIDA before the Comelec on March 31. The Comelec’s 2nd Division, headed by Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer, dismissed the petition, but Kontra Daya filed a motion for reconsideration before the Comelec en banc.
“The Comelec should now decisively act on our petition to cancel BIDA’s accreditation,” Dizon said. “Genuino’s resignation as Pagcor chairman does not remove the fact that BIDA received funds from Pagcor.”
Dizon also called on the Commission on Audit (CoA) to preserve the records of these transactions and to look into the anomalies surrounding these. (Bulatlat.com)