MANILA, Philippines - A group of former military rebels linked to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and a group of former addicts and alcoholics are among the 172 groups seeking to be allowed to run for the House of Representatives in the 2013 party-list elections.
Trillanes' Magdalo Para sa Pilipino, filed as a group of retired and former members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as well as its urban poor and the youth members based in the National Capital region.
It listed Trillanes as chairman, and Francisco Ashley Acedillo as secretary general.
Addicts and alcoholics
The Addicts and Alcoholics Carrying the Message Association or AACMA, on the other hand, also filed for accreditation as party-list group.
AACMA Chairman Clemente Abella Jr., a drug user for 22 years, sees a party-list seat as their chance of contributing to society.
Abella said they are marginalized since addiction is a disease and not a choice on the part of the addicts.
"We’re advocating better health services…Sa tingin mo, papano yung mga nagsusugal, nagju-jueteng diyan nag i-Internet, nambababae? [It’s an] addiction, not just drugs. It's about behavior, not a moral issue. It’s a health concern," he said.
Abella said existing legislation for addicts tend to overlap.
"Parang may over-legislation a lot of oversight. we have to cut through all these. Yun gusto ko i-share sa mga kapatid kong addict, may pag-asa. Madaming kakulangan and it might be premature to talk about it now [but] we can make the difference in this addiction thing in the country."
Abella said their group also includes the families of addicts.
Comelec: No problem for rehabs
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is not yet done with its deliberations on the registration of 172 groups seeking to join the party-list elections, but Chairman
Sixto Brillantes seems to have no problem letting the group of addicts and alcoholics run for Congress.
"Sinasabi ko, pwedeng-pwede yun, for as long as [rehabilitated] sila. Di tunay na addict. Mahirap naman iyon. kung rehab na sila pwede na. [If there is a record of] violation naman ng law pagkaganun di sila pwede. Tatanggalin naming ang nominees na na-convict. Pwede lahat, basta kung na-rehab, para kang pinardon na eh,"
The applications are pending before the Comelec’s 1st division.
Division chairman Rene Sarmiento advised groups to first review the party-list law, as well as relevant rulings of the poll body and the Supreme Court, to check if they will qualify before even applying.
"Kami ay naglabas ng resolution. Nandun ang qualification ng nominees , eto ang pamantayan na susundin ng Comelec..,” he said.
Others in the list of 172 applicants include a deluge of groups of security guards and helpers;
the Adult School Dropouts Party List;
the Philippine Banana Workers Pioneer Foundation; Ang Tubig ay Bigay Policy Reform Movement;
Ang Guardia Alliance, Alyansa ng Lapiang Security Guards;
The Association of Guard, Utility Helper, Janitor, Agent and Nanny of the Philippines;
Isang Kasambahay Po;
Best Guardians Party-list;
Balo Solo Parent Senior Citizen Civic Community;
Partido ng Champions at Mannlalaro (1-Pacman); Moneychangers' Group; and,
the Asosasyson ng Kasambahay sa Pilipinas.
On the other hand, the following groups have applied to be accredited as political parties:
The National Unity Party;
the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamayan or Makabayan; the United Nationalist Alliance; and,
the Black and White Movement.