Ako Bicol: We were singled out

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 11 2012 11:35 AM | Updated as of Oct 12 2012 12:40 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A representative of Ako Bicol partylist group said the party will question before the Supreme Court the Commission on Elections' decision to disqualify them in the 2013 partylist elections.

Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe said the Comelec singled them out when it said that political parties cannot join the partylist elections.

"The Constitution does not say that only a marginalized sector can run in the partylist elections. It also allows political parties to join in the partylist elections, particularly the small parties," he told radio dzMM.

Batocabe said his fellow Ako Bicol representatives were surprised by the Comelec decision especially since the poll body had already ruled in 2010 that they could run in the election and sit in Congress.

"We are not the only political party that ran in the partylist election but we were singled out. They already said we can run but now they are changing their minds," he said.

He added: "Bakit kami ang inuna? If they can remove us, they can remove anyone. It sends a chilling effect to the other parties."

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes earlier said the accreditation of Ako Bicol Party, currently with 3 seats in the House of Representatives, and 12 other existing partylist groups have been revoked by the commission en banc.

In its resolution, the commission en banc said Ako Bicol does not represent or seek to uplift a marginalized and underrepresented sector within the contemplation of the partylist system as stated in the case of Ang Bagong Bayani OFW labor party vs. Commission on Elections.

It said the Bicolano ethic group which the group seeks to represent does not belong to the 110 groups recognized by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

It also noted that the representatives, Co (a businessman), Batocabe and Garbin (lawyers) are not marginalized. The decision keeps Ako Bicol’s registration as a political party.