MANILA - Incumbent and former government officials and their relatives or allies stand out among the list of nominees of existing party-list groups and new party-list applicants who want to run for the 2013 mid-term elections.
This, despite the exit of President Aquino’s aunt Margarita 'Tingting' Cojuangco as nominee of party-list applicant Aksyon Magsasaka-Partido Tinig ng Masa, and former President Arroyo’s son Mikey Arroyo, whose Ang Galing Pinoy is set to be excluded from the party-list elections.
Mikey is himself on his 3rd term as congressman, as he served as district representative for 2 terms before running as party-list representative.
Tingting Cojuangco is instead running as for senator under Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist alliance.
AMONG THE REGISTERED PARTY-LIST GROUPS:
Newly-sworn in Rep. Weslie T. Gatchalian of party-list group Alay Buhay Community Development Foundation, Inc. is a businessman and brother of Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian and Valenzuela Congressman Rex Gatchalian.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco’s wife, Lorna, and children Tricia Nicole and Vincent Michael are nominees of Ang Mata’y Alagaan.
ARMM Officer-in-Charge Governor Mujiv Hataman’s wife Sitti Djalia T. Hataman is running as nominee of Anak Mindanao.
Josenino Santos Aventajado is 1st nominee of Pro-Active Climate Change Leaders, Inc. Aventajado is a son of Estrada Cabinet member, businessman Roberto Aventajado, and brother-in-law of journalist Maria Ressa. He lists himself as a businessman and husband to Ressa’s sister Michelle.
Arroyo administration Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman is a nominee of AA KAsosyo. He is the father of district Rep. Hussein Pangandaman.
Estrada administration Agriculture Secretary Leonardo Montemayor is a nominee of Alyansang Bayanihan ng mga Magsasaka, Manggagawang Bukid at Mangingisda.1
Former Presidential Security Guard (PSG) and AFP Intelligence Chief Romeo Prestoza is a nominee of 1ANG Pamilya. Incumbent 1ANG Pamilya Rep. Reena Obillio is the sister of Prestoza’s wife Lilian.
AMONG THE NEW APPLICANTS FOR PARTY-LIST ACCREDITATION:
1AAA Party nominee Pantaleon Alvarez was Transportation Secretary during the early years of the Arroyo administration.
1Banat and Ahapo nominee Silvestre Bello served in the Cory Aquino, Ramos and Arroyo Cabinets.
Abante Retirees nominee Plaridel Abaya is the father of new Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya.
Abyan Ilonggo Nominee Rolex Suplico was a former district representative.
Ako Karay-A nominee Sally Perez is a former governor of Antique.
Alona nominees Joanna Suarez, Danilo Suarez Jr. and Alexis M. Suarez are children and in-law of House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez.
Batang Pinoy nominee Jewel May Lobaton is a former beauty queen and estranged wife of Senator Koko Pimentel.
Black and White Movement nominee Leah Navarro is a singer and incumbent MTRCB member.
ISIKAP Pinoy Nominee Gary Jason B. Ejercito is actor Gary Estrada, a nephew of former President Estrada.
Kalikasan nominee Raymond Palatino is incumbent party-list representative of Kabataan.
Former Oakwood mutiny participants Gary C. Alejano, Francisco Ashley L. Acedillo, Manuel G. Cabochan are nominees of party-list group applicant MAGDALO.
Melchora party list applicant nominee Grace Ibuna is the former partner of deceased rep. Ignacio Arroyo.
Party-list applicant NCPD’s nominee is former police officer Romeo B. Maganto.
Ako ang Batang Sora movement nominee Vanessa Rosa Susano Francisco is a niece of former Quezon City congresswoman Annie Susano.
KABAKA nominee Amanda Christina L. Bagatsing is the daughter of Rep. Amado Bagatsing, who was congressman of the 5th District of Manila.
'A WAKE-UP CALL'
Commission on Elections Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the on-going purge of the party-list system should be a wake-up call for lawmakers to amend the party-list law.
Sarmiento said he mentioned this to lawmakers during the recent budget hearings after the poll body barred incumbent party-list groups Ako Bicol, 1Care, AANGAT-Tayo and APEC from running in the 2013 mid-term elections as they do not represent marginalized sectors.
Sarmiento stressed that the Comelec is merely an implementing agency for laws Congress passes. Sarmiento explained that the comelec is empowered to review and cancel the accreditation of party-list groups by the party-list law and jurisprudence from the supreme court.
He said this is the first time the party-list system is being cleansed, primarily because the commission now has reform-minded members.
Sarmiento said it’s high time the party-list registration be reexamined because it won't do the country nor the party-list law any good.
He explained that he was a dissenting vote to many grants of party-list accreditation in the 2010 elections.
Sarmiento said Congress can amend the law to clarify the meaning of marginalized and underpresented. He pointed out that the law doesn’t define very well what is marginalized and underpresented and leaves room for mere advocates to be nominees even if they are not members of the marginalized sector.
He said that another possible amendment is the regulation of family members of district representatives from running for party-list groups. As it is, Sarmiento pointed out that the party-list system has become an extension of political dynasties.
Earlier on Monday, the group SWEAP or Social Welfare Employees association of the Philippines picketed the Comelec’s office in Manila to call for the accreditation of COURAGE as a party-list group. The accreditation of Courage has been denied at the Comelec division level.