MANILA, Philippines - An incumbent party-list representative said Thursday that he is confident the Supreme Court (SC) will not allow Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo to run as representative of security guards in Congress.
"According to the Supreme Court [in a decision] in 2001, a party-list nominee should come from the sector that he represents," Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño told ANC's Headstart ahead of their group's filing of a disqualification case against Arroyo.
Casiño said Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza, who are both running for senator as guest candidates of the Nacionalista Party (NP), will file the disqualification case before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday afternoon.
He said they cannot go directly to the SC because the Comelec has immediate jurisdiction over the disqualification case.
The activist congressman said one of the issues they will raise in the petition is Arroyo's qualification as representative of Ang Galing Pinoy (AGP), a party-list group that claims to represent security guards.
"We can't say that Mikey Arroyo represents tricycle drivers or security guards. He has a lot of security guards but he cannot represent the sector," he said.
He added that Arroyo cannot be a member of the party-list group because he is currently a ranking member of the ruling party Lakas-Kampi-CMD.
The Constitution says a party-list nominee should be a member of the group for at least 90 days.
"He has always been a leader of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD. He is a representative in Congress as a ranking member of Lakas-Kampi-CMD. I don't know when he decided to switch parties," he said.
Casiño said their group is also planning to seek the disqualification of other party-list nominees, including Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, who is being considered by transport group 1-UTAK as their nominee for the May 10 elections.
He said Reyes's pending nomination would be ironic since most members of various transport groups are angry at him for his failure to stop oil price increases since he was appointed secretary of the Department of Energy.
Forming a powerful block in Congress
Casiño and other members of the opposition believe that the party-list and district representation bids of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her allies, including her son, is a clear sign that the administration is attempting to form a "very powerful block" at the House of Representatives.
The other Arroyos seeking congressional posts are Mrs. Arroyo's son Diosdado "Dato" in Camarines Sur, brother-in-law Ignacio "Iggy" for the 5th district of Negros Occidental, and sister-in-law Marilou for party-list Ang Kasangga.
Mikey has denied accusations that the Arroyos' congressional bids will help Mrs. Arroyo become House Speaker in the next Congress.
“I don’t understand that scenario. Assuming there are 4 Arroyos in Congress, 4 Arroyos cannot make Speaker. It will still be a vote of the majority," Rep. Arroyo told ABS-CBN News on Wednesday.
Casiño, however, said that if all the Arroyos and their allies win seats in Congress, "she will have a strong block to support her move."
"This block can be used to push for Charter change or to push for an impeachment of the next president. That's a very powerful block," he said. "There are many ways to maneuver within Congress, given who Mrs. Arroyo is and the kind of power and influence that a former president can yield."
He said that Mrs. Arroyo can also use her influence at the House to block "investigations into the things that she did during her term as president."
Members of the political opposition have threatened to prosecute Mrs. Arroyo for alleged corrupt activities during her presidency.