January 24, 2010 in Featured
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The militant umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on their website criticized the Commission on Elections (Comelec) after nine partylists tagged as pro-Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration were accreditied by the election offcials.
Bayan Secretary General Renato M. Reyes Jr. asked if the Comelec is giving special treatment and consideration for partylist groups identified with the administration.
According to Reyes, the partylist system is supposed to be for the marginalized or underrepresented sectors of the society. “However, over the past years, through the efforts of Arroyo and the COMELEC, the partylist system has been undermined and corrupted to favor the incumbent in Malacanang,” he said.
Reyes said that the questionable partylist groups have been accredited again despite previous questions by legitimate partylists on their qualifications. Reyes added that the Comelec in contrast made it hard for the legitimate partylists and critic to the administration like Ang Ladlad, Migrante, ACT Teachers’ Partylist and Courage.
The Ang Ladlad Partylist has only been included in the list of partylists after the Supreme Court issued a restraining order to the Comelec. ACT meanwhile was recently accredited.
The group Bayan said that among the partylist groups previously identified having connections with the administration who have been accredited by the Comelec for the 2010 elections are Agbiag Timpuyog Ilokano (AGBIAG); Babae para sa Kaunlaran (Babae Ka), Kalahi Sectoral Party (KALAHI); League of Youth for Peace Advancement (LYPAD); Ahon Pinoy (AHON), its previous nominee was Dante “Klink” Ang II, son of Dante Ang who chaired the Commission on Filipinos Overseas; Akbay Pinoy OFW-National (APOI), previous nominees included former Arroyo DILG officials; Aangat Ating Kabuhayan Filipinas (ANAK), previous nominee included an official of PNP-NCRPO; Bigkis Pinoy Movement (BIGKIS) identified with PAGCOR chair Efraim Genuino; and Byaheng Pinoy Labor Association (Byaheng Pinoy), previous nominee was brother of former COMELEC chair Abalos.
According to Bayan, Agbiag, Babae Ka, Kalahi and Lypad were previously cited in a memo from the Office of External Affairs dated October 16, 2006. Reyes said that they were then considered the four main partylist groups to be supported by the administration in the 2007 polls and were supposed to receive Palace funding according to the OEA memo. Reyes said that partylists receiving official funding from the administration should already be a basis for their disqualifications.
Bayan based its findings on a list released by the poll watchdog Kontra Daya in 2007 and on the said 2006 EOA memo.
Reyes suspects that Arroyo may be attempting to utilize the partylist system to create a power block in the House of Congress that will include her and other members of Arroyo family and cabinet offcials. He added that this power block may be used for the charter change which the Arroyo government is pushing in the pastand Arroyo will be the Prime Minister.
Bayan also cited the Bigkis Pinoy Movement (BIGKIS) identified with PAGCOR chair Efraim Genuino as another questionable partylist group accredited by the Comelec. The group’s previous nominees include PAGCOR officials Edward King and Ramon Agoncillo, consultants Mario Cornista (2001), Ismael Tabo (2004), and Tomas Toledo (2007)and Sheryl Genuino-See, the daughter of PAGCOR chair Genuino. The group has failed to get elected to Congress the past three elections.
Reyes said that it is anomalous that Bigkis that has failed to get elected three times is allowed to run again. “Isn’t it the rule that if a partylist group fails to participate or obtain at least 2% of the votes cast under the party-list system in the 2 preceding elections, they are to be delisted? Why is it that that rule doesn’t seem to apply to a partylist group that is identified with PAGCOR and Genuino?” Reyes blurted.
Kontra-Daya in its 2007 list also identified the groups Aangat Tayo (AT), BANAT, Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD) and Kasangga sa Kaunlaran (Ang Kasangga) as partylist groups to have links with the adminstration. After an SC ruling on the appropriation of of seats under the partylist system, said groups have been given seats in the Congress.
According to Bayan, Ang Kasangga’s congressional representative is a sister of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. Bayan added that BANTAY’s representative is notorious human rights violator Gen. Jovito Palparan who claims to represent security guards and baranggay tanods. ANAD meanwhile is a group dedicated to fighting communism. The group said Both ANAD and BANTAY are believed to be supported by the military. BANAT meanwhile has recently endorsed administration presidential bet Gilbert Teodoro.
Reyes said that they have been recieveing reports that another member of the Arroyo family is poised as a partylist nominee. He said it is really sad that the Comelec has turned a blind eye to the abuses of the partylist system.
“The disclosure of partylist nominees is a crucial aspect of transparency in the elections. We can better analyze and pinpoint the pseudo –partylist groups if the Comelec makes public the nominees,” Reyes ended # nordis.net