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Pro-admin partylist groups accredited again by Comelec

Posted on 05 May 2011 by admin

Paninindigan January 2010
FEATURES

By Renato Reyes

At least nine partylist groups with linked to the administration have been accredited by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). Bayan has come up with a preliminary listing and said this could be just the tip of the iceberg.

Bayan based its findings on a list drafted by poll watchdog Kontra Daya in 2007 and on a 2006 memorandum from the Office on External Affairs (OEA) in Malacanang which identified administration partylist groups to be supported. In 2007, several pro-admin and pseudo-partylist groups were fielded in the elections with the expressed intent of drawing away votes from legitimate partylist groups that were critical of the administration.

The table below shows the partylist groups previously identified with the Arroyo administration and have been recently accredited by the Comelec).

Initial list of pro-Arroyo administration partylist groups accredited by the Comelec for the May 10, 2010 national elections as monitored by Kontra Daya
Partylist group Details/Remarks
Agbiag Timpuyo Ilokano (AGBIAG) previously cited in OEA memo
Ahon Pinoy (AHON) 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
Babae para sa Kaunalaran (Babae Ka) previously cited in OEA memo
Bigkis Pinoy Movement (BIGKIS) identified with PAGCOR chair Efraim Genuino
Byaheng Pinoy Labor Association (Byaheng Pinoy) previous nominee was brother of former COMELEC chair Abalos
Kalahi Sectoral Party (KALAHI) previously cited in OEA memo
League of Youth for Peace Advancement (LYPAD) previously cited in OEA memo

Four of the partylist groups – Agbiag, Babae Ka, Kalahi and LYPAD – were previously cited in a memo from the OEA in October 16, 2006. They were then considered the four main partylist groups to be supported by the administration in 2007 and were supposed to receive Palace funding according to the OEA memo. Receiving official funding from the government should already be a basis for disqualification.

For the May elections, these groups have been accredited again despite previous questions on their qualifications as legitimate partylist groups. In contrast, COMELEC has made it difficult for the legitimate partylist groups like Ang Ladlad, Migrante, ACT and Courage to get immediate accreditation.

Ang Ladlad has been included in the list of partylist groups only after a Supreme Court restraining order on the Comelec. Meanwhile, ACT was only recently accredited after it was initially disqualified.

Bigkis Pinoy Movement (BIGKIS), identified with PAGCOR chair Efraim Genuino, is 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 chairman Genuino. The group has failed to get elected to Congress the past three elections.

It is thus anomalous that this partylist group that has failed to get elected the last three polls is allowed to run again. Election rules state 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 should be delisted. But it appears that the rule does not apply to a partylist group that is identified with PAGCOR and Genuino and the Comelec is apparently giving special treatment to favored groups.

Kontra-Daya in its 2007 list also cited groups Aangat Tayo (AT), BANAT, Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD) and Kasangga sa Kaunlaran (Ang Kasangga) as partylist groups identified with the adminstration. These groups have since been given seats in Congress after a Supreme Court ruling on the appropriation of seats under the partylist system.

Ang Kasangga’s congressional representative is a sister of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. 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. Both ANAD and BANTAY are believed to be supported by the military. BANAT meanwhile has recently endorsed administration presidential bet Gilbert Teodoro.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer also reported another partylist group, ARARO or Alliance for Rural Agrarian Reconstruction, has among its founders former police general Quirino dela Torre who was implicated in the ZTE-NBN deal and who was the Central Luzon police chief during the Hacienda Luisita Massacre in 2004.

The partylist system is supposed to be for the marginalized or underrepresented. 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.

Bayan and various poll watchdogs will closely monitor the partylist groups and will seek the disclosure of nominees by the Comelec. The disclosure of partylist nominees is a crucial aspect of transparency in the elections so that the electorate can better analyze and pinpoint the pseudo –partylist groups. ###

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