MANILA – Workers, public transport drivers, families of migrant workers and informal workers from urban poor communities trooped to COMELEC today to demand that Manggagawa Partylist be allowed to run in the coming mid-term elections.
COMELEC decided last year December 19 to dismiss the appeal of Manggagawa for accreditation as a party-list organization. But a copy of the decision reached the officers of the Manggagawa Partylist only on January 14, 2019. The group has been following up on the decision since December.
On January 19, they filed a petition at the Supreme Court questioning the COMELEC decision to disqualify the workers’ partylist. They asked the Supreme Court to issue a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order on the COMELEC’s decision.
“While we are waiting for the deliberation of the Supreme Court on the petition that we filed, we are urging our Justices to tell COMELEC to still include Manggagawa Party List in the official list of candidates and be included in the ballots,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, National President and First Nominee of the MANGGAGAWA Partylist.
The COMELEC decision stems from the Manggagawa Partylist’s failure to state that it is not funded by the government. But the MANGGAGAWA Partylist said they stated in their Petition and Motion for Reconsideration that they do not receive any funds from the government.
“As the COMELEC can see, the members of our organizations belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors of our society. Our nominees are legitimate leaders of people’s organizations from trade unions, urban poor, jeepney drivers, OFWs and their families. Our organizations have been at the forefront of the workers’ fight against contractualization, against oil price increases, against demolition of urban poor communities, for higher wages, and for protection and services to our OFWs,” said Labog.
MANGGAGAWA Partylist was established with the support of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON), Migrante, and Kalipunan ng mga Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY). Its nominees came from leaders of these organizations.
“The organizations and members comprising the Manggagawa Partylist show all are legitimate people’s and grassroots organizations. It is the clear proof that our Partylist represents the marginalized and underrepresented sectors and that we do not receive Government funds. Instead of allowing genuine partylists to run in the elections, the COMELEC has been accrediting “bogus or fake” partylists who are linked to well-entrenched political dynasties, special business interests and who have questionable advocacies,” lamented Labog.
The disqualification of the Manggagawa Partylist has shown again the loopholes of the current partylist system, where the real marginalized and underrepresented continue being marginalized. Labog said that while they are being pushed out, the ‘partylists’ of political dynasties are freely being allowed to run. Combined with the loopholes, the COMELEC has been enabling the abuse of these loopholes throughout the years, Labog added.
During the picket in front of the COMELEC, the supporters of Manggagawa Partylist urged the COMELEC to immediately act toward ensuring the main objective of the partylist system is being met. The partylist system, they said, is supposed to expand political participation of the marginalized sectors.
Labog warned that if the COMELEC did not in favor of the Partylist system’s objectives, they will make sure the COMELEC will be held accountable for its part in “bastardizing the Partylist system.”