By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW and VINCENT MICHAEL L. BORNEO
BAGUIO CITY — Progressive party lists and groups hail the Supreme Court decision to increase to 55 the number of party-lists of the marginalized in the House of Representatives. They, however, will move to disqualify Retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan as he does not deserve a seat in Congress due to his human rights records and does not represent a marginalized sector.
The Supreme Court came up with a decision Tuesday, April 21, which increased the present 22 party-lists to 55 under the formula that the party-lists will fill up the seats equivalent to 20 percent of the House as prescribed by the Constitution. This will leave the Panganiban formula which mandates that only those who acquired 2 percent of the party list vote will have a seat in the House.
The decision will entitle Bantay Party list with Palparan as its nominee.
In an interview, Manny Loste, Bayan Muna Cordillera Region Coordinator, said that Palparan “does not deserve the House seat.” He pointed out that given his notorious human rights records, known as the butcher of activists, does not entitle him for that seat.
The militant Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) claims that the people don’t need a berdugo (killer) in Congress.
“What marginalized sector does he (Palparan) represents but that of the ruling elite,” pointed Beverly L. Longid, CPA chair.
Even women’s group claims Palaparan must answer the human rights violations alleged to have been committed by him.
“Di ba marami siyang kailangang sagutin sa taumbayan gaya ng extra-judical killings, abductions, torure and others. Hindi siya karapat dapat sa Congreso at anumang position sa gobyerno,” clarified Flora Belinan, in an interview.
In Manila, House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur C. Ocampo said “We welcome the unanimous High Court decision that has liberalized the partylist system to allow more marginalized and under-represented sectors to enter the legislature.
He declared though “that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s loyal butcher does not deserve a seat in Congress or in any government office. Palparan is a notorious human rights violator and has been instrumental in the extrajudicial killings of members of marginalized and under-represented sectors in society.”
Ocampo added that they are preparing an urgent motion for the disqualification of Palparan as a partylist nominee. “Rewarding this acknowledged notorious human rights violator with a seat in Congress will be a mockery of the partylist system,” he added.
But the Bayan Muna solon, in seeking the disqualification of one of Gloria’s favorite retired generals, said “Palparan is not marginalized, he does not represent any marginalized sector.”
Citing the SC decision which upholds its June 26, 2001 ruling, he said that decision states: “However, it is not enough for the candidate to claim representation of the marginalized and underrepresented, because representation is easy to claim and to feign. The party-list organization or party must factually and truly represent the marginalized and underrepresented constituencies mentioned in Section 5. Concurrently, the persons nominated by the party-list candidate-organization must be “Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties.”
Palparan has been appointed by President Macapagal-Arroyo as director of Freeport Services Corp. (FSC), a subsidiary of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA). The recent Supreme Court decision gives him a choice to become congressman.
“Macapagal-Arroyo has always praised and rewarded Palparan. But the buck stops here. He is simply not qualified to run in the partylist system,” Ocampo said.
The militant solon also challenged the executive department, particularly the Department of Justice “to uphold the October 7, 2008 Supreme Court landmark ruling penned by Chief Justice Reynato Puno that upheld a Court of Appeals (CA) decision on December 26, 2007 directly linking Palparan to the abduction of brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo and found convincing Raymond’s accounts of how they had been tortured by their abductors. The CA ruled based on an earlier petition by the Manalo brothers for a writ of amparo. Palparan should be arrested. Not given a House seat or appointed to any government post.”
“In February 2009, 40 solons filed House Resolution 999 opposing Palparan’s appointment to any post. It would be very wrong for the executive to allow Palparan, a criminal, to get a seat in Congress,” Ocampo said.
The resolution, initiated by Ocampo, was signed by 40 others from Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), Nacionalista Party (NP), Lakas-CMD, Balane, Liberal Party (LP), CIBAC, An Waray, Anak Mindanao, Kampi, Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), Partido Demokratiko-Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (PDSP), and Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP). # nordis.net