In the recent 2022 National and Local Elections, 56 party-lists have a chance to garner a seat in the 19th Congress based on Comelec’s unofficial, partial results as of May 13, 2022.
By DOMINIQUE FLORES and RAEVIEN PINTANG
with reports from Marian Abio and Leila Magno
MANILA – Instead of providing genuine representation for marginalized sectors, the party-list system has become a tool for political clans to remain in power. The provision of the Party-list System Act allowing national and regional parties and organizations to run has made it difficult for groups representing the disempowered to gain seats in Congress.
Of the 56 party-list groups, 20 have nominees coming from political clans, another eight nominees previously held other government positions, while four have nominees linked to famous personalities.
Here are the leading party-lists and their affiliations with political clans:
The first nominee of the party-list is former Eastern Samar congressman Marcelino Libanan, who is one of the involved local officials in a fertilizer fund scam involving P6.1 million.
The party-list is led by Yedda Marie K. Romualdez, the wife of Martin Romualdez who is the cousin of Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. Martin Romualdez is eyed by his allies to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives.
First nominee Bryan Revilla is the son of Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. Four other Revilla family members also won local seats in Cavite province.
This party-list has ties to the Fariñas family of Ilocos Norte. First nominee Rudys Caesar Fariñas is the son of former Congressman Rudy Fariñas. His brother and sister are also incumbent LGU officials.
An Waray first nominee Florencio Gabriel Noel is the spouse of incumbent and representative-elect Josephine Veronique Lacson-Noel of the lone district of Malabon. Their son Nino Lacson-Noel also won his reelection bid as first district councilor in the same city.
The party-list will have one seat in the 19th Congress but both first and second nominees, Richelle Raia Louise S. Michael and Allen G. Singson, are children of Ilocos Sur Mayor Luis “Chavit” Singson.
First nominee Shernee Tan Tambut’s family members hold or have held several government positions in Sulu. Her father is Governor Abdusakur Tan while her mother, Hadja Nurunisah Abubakar-Tan, formerly served as vice governor. Her brothers, Samier Tan and Abdusakur Tan II, are incumbent congressman and vice governor, respectively.
First nominee Angelica Natasha A. Co’s father is former Ako Bicol representative Christopher S. Co. Her uncle represented the same party-list in both the 2019 and 2022 elections.
This party-list is led by Claudine Diana D. Bautista-Lim. Her father, Claude Bautista, was elected in 2016 as the first governor of the country’s newest province, Davao Occidental. LGU officials in the province include her uncle, Vice Governor Franklin Bautista, and her aunt, Lone District Rep. Lorna Bautista Bandigan. Members of the Bautista family also held government positions in Davao del Sur prior to the foundation of Davao Occidental in 2013.
Bautista-Lim also made headlines in 2021 for her Balesin wedding.
First nominee Margarita Ignacia B. Nograles is the child of former House Speaker Prospero Nograles.
ANAKALUSUGAN was represented in the 18th congress by Mike Defensor. He ran for mayor of Quezon City in the recent elections.
First nominee Lex Anthony Cris A. Colada is connected to the Garin family in Iloilo through his wife, incumbent and Mayor-elect Jennifer Garin-Colada. Other family members include 1st District Representative and former health secretary Janette Loreto-Garin, Vice Governor Christine and San Joaquin Mayor Ninfa.
Anna Marie Villaraza-Suarez also represented ALONA in the 18th congress. She is the spouse of incumbent Quezon Province Second District Rep. David Suarez. Suarez is also the incumbent representative and served as Quezon governor from 2010 to 2019.
First nominee Michael Edgar Aglipay is the son of former PNP chief Edgar Aglipay. His sister is former Diwa Representative and Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay Villar, making him the brother-in-law of Public Works Secretary and Senator-Elect Mark Villar.
Politicians with past positions in government, though not from known political dynasties, also ran for another term through several party-lists groups.
ANG PROBINSYANO’s fifth nominee Albay municipal councilor Jesciel Richard Salceda, who is also the nephew of current Albay Rep. Joey Salceda.
MARINO’s fifth nominee is Quezon City Councilor Karl Castelo, who is the nephew of Quezon City Rep. Precious Castelo.
AGAP’s second nominee is Diorella Maria Sotto Antonio, who is an incumbent councilor of Quezon City. Antonio is also the daughter of Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
The first nominee is Anthony Rolando T. Golez, Jr., formerly the lone district representative of Bacolod City.
First nominee Robert Raymund M. Estrella served as a representative of Pangasinan’s sixth district from 2001 to 2010. He was among the 23 representatives named in the pork-barrel scam in 2013, allocating P97 million in bogus projects.
Galing sa Puso (GP) Party
The first nominee of the GP Party, Jose Gay G. Padiernos, served as the vice governor of Nueva Ecija prior to his election to the 18th Congress. The party-list’s second nominee is Raymond M. Umali, whose brother Aurelio M. Umali serves as the incumbent Nueva Ecija governor.
BAGONG HENERASYON (BH)
Prior to being elected to Congress, Bernadette C. Herrera-Dy served as a councilor of Quezon City from 2001 to 2010.
First nominee Nicolas C. Enciso VIII served as the former deputy director-general of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Prior to BICOL SARO, he previously sought a House position as the third nominee of 1-PACMAN.
The party-list’s Jose Joson Teves, Jr. served as vice governor of Catanduanes from 2010 to 2016.
First nominee Jernie Jett Valdecanas Nisay served as City Councilor of Balanga in the province of Bataan.
Manila Teachers’ first nominee Virgilio Lacson was a councilor of Malabon City in 2001 but was later dismissed from service due to a prolonged absence without official leave, which spanned for eight months. He served in the 18th Congress as representative of the party-list.
Several party-list election winners have ties to entertainment personalities and business people, whose popularity and resources were apparently used to favor them in the last elections.
The Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Partylist was endorsed by the Tulfo brothers Erwin and Raffy Tulfo, the latter placing third in the senatorial race. ACT-CIS topped the 2022 party-list groups, a feat they also achieved in 2019.
USWAG ILONGGO’s first nominee is James “Jojo” A. Ang, Jr., an Ilonggo businessman and civic leader who heads the International Builders Corporation. The party-list second nominee is Raisa Maria Lourdes S. Trenas-Chu, daughter of Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas.
TUTOK TO WIN
TUTOK TO WIN’s first nominee, Samuel S. Verzosa, Jr., is the CEO of Frontrow, a multi-level marketing company in the health, beauty and wellness industry. Willie Revillame backed the party-list during its grand rally in May 2022 as Frontrow was a major advertiser in his previous television gameshow.
PINUNO first nominee Ivan Howard A. Guintu is the CEO of HG-III Construction and Development Corporation, a real estate company. The party-list is among the 53 party-list groups granted registration by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in 2022. Senator Lito Lapid is backing the party-list, whose moniker is named after his character “Pinuno” in Ang Probinsyano.
SAGIP, formerly represented by Rodante Marcoleta from 2016 to 2022, was endorsed by Iglesia ni Cristo’s executive minister Eduardo Manalo. Its current first nominee in the 2022 elections is Caroline Tanchay, the Chairman/President/CEO of Oriental Peninsula Resources and the proprietor of Dean and Deluca Philippines.
This partylist is backed by boxer and Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Similar to SAGIP, two other party-lists that would have a seat in the 19th congress are backed by religious groups.
This party-list is led by evangelist Eduardo Villanueva commonly known as “Bro. Eddie”. He is the president-founder of the Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide. Villanueva is also the father of Sen. Joel Villanueva.
KALINGA is endorsed by the Pentecostal Missionary Church of Christ (4th Watch).
Meanwhile, progressive party-list groups have been targeted with red-tagging and disinformation prior to the elections, significantly affecting their place in the results. Kabataan, Gabriela, and ACT-Teachers party-lists have successfully garnered one seat each, but Bayan Muna and Anakpawis—which represent indigent sectors and workers—were behind the race.
With the recent results of the party-list race, powerful clans are able to clinch more seats while opportunities for genuine representation of marginalized groups have shrunk further. (JJE, RTS, RVO)
This report is a collaboration between Union of Journalists of the Philippines – UP Diliman and Bulatlat.