Padaca defends party-list purge

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 03 2012 10:21 PM | Updated as of Dec 04 2012 10:05 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Grace Padaca on Monday defended the poll body's purge of party-list groups, pointing out that the 2013 elections may have the lowest number of accredited party-list organization in the last 3 elections.

Padaca, in a statement on her Facebook account, also revealed that she only took part in the resolution of the accreditation of 12 party-list groups.

"Sa pangkalahatan, ang naging desisyon ay mas maraming nalaglag na party list kaysa na-aprobahan. Sa 124 na dati nang accredited, 58 na lang ang natira (wala pang kalahati). Sa mga 165 namang bagong party list na nag-apply, 21 lang ang pinayagan o wala pang 13%. Sa mga na-aprobahang ito, kakaunti pa ang unanimous. Karamihan ay may mga dissenting opinions o mga hindi pumabor sa pag-aproba," she said.

Padaca said 153 party-list groups were approved in 2007, 187 in 2010 and only 79 for 2013.

She said "maaring madagdagan pa ito sa Lunes, December 3, pero hindi na ito aabot sa sampu, kaya wala pang 100 ang party-list sa 2013 elections."

Padaca also stressed that when she took office, the poll body had already deliberated on the fate of most of the party-list groups.

Some were already resolved months before she assumed office.

"'No part' ang aking pirma sa mga desisyong ito dahil nga sa hindi ako nakasali sa mga pagtatanong at pag-aaral ng mga nabanggit na party-list," she explained.

"Nagkaroon kasi ng hearings sa Comelec kung saan isa-isang nag-presenta ang mga kinatawan ng mga aplikanteng party-list para ipaliwanag kung ano ag kanilang grupo at para sumagot sa mga tanong ng mga Commissioners. Hindi naman po makatarungan na wala ako sa mga hearings na iyon pagkatapos ay pagpapasyahan ko ang tungkol sa kanila," she added.

Padaca also said she had no part in the resolutions of the accreditation of controversial groups Akbayan, Bayan Muna, and the Black and White Movement.

Akbayan and Black and White are associated with the Aquino administration, just like Padaca.

Padaca said she only took part in the resolution of 12 party-list groups and only upon the consent of her colleagues.

"Ibinigay sa akin ang mga records ng 12 na party-list at binigyan din ako ng sapat na panahon para ang mga ito ay pag-aralan. Sa Comelec ay may mga katulong kaming abogado sa tanggapan ng bawat Commissioner. Kasama kong nag-aral sa kaso ng 12 na party list ang apat na abogado."

These were the groups wherein the poll body was deadlocked.

Padaca would later on confirm that she was among those who granted to accredit groups which were deliberated after she took office.

"Halimbawa, isa ako sa mga pumayag sa accreditation ng ANG NARS, Piston, Veterans Freedom Party, Amor Seaman, Migrante."

She said that while she was against the accreditation of some groups, she only had one vote in the collegial body.