MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes on Thursday refuted claims by Ako Bicol party-list congressmen that they were singled out, saying more incumbent party-list congressmen will see their groups barred from running in the 2013 mid-term elections.
Brillantes said the poll body will release a ruling on another disqualification case Monday. He said about 7 to 8 incumbent party-list congressmen will see their accreditations revoked as well.
Even administration coalition partner Akbayan may lose its accreditation at the end of deliberations, he said.
Brillantes said new Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca may break the tie in some cases where the commission was evenly split.
The Comelec Chairman said it was only in the Ako Bicol case where the commission en banc voted unanimously.
He also clarified Ako Bicol's being a regional party is not the only reason they were stripped of their accreditation. He explained it would be acceptable for a national or regional party to run in the party-list elections for so long as they also represent a marginalized sector.
Unless that is the case, they party-list group will duplicate the functions of the district congressman.
Brillantes stressed that the Comelec has the authority to review the groups' compliance with the continuing qualification. This is why party-list groups have to file manifestations to participate in the elections. B
Brillantes said the poll body wants to cleanse the party- list system.
The Comelec has already disqualified 52 of 72 new applicants for party-list accreditation. Ako Bicol is one of 115 incumbent party-list groups.
Brillantes says the previous commission which accredited Ako Bicol may have been lax in implementing the law.
He said the party-list law has been abused, pointing out that the party-list congressmen are multimillionaires.
He said while there is no limit to the net worth of party-list congressmen nominees, they should belong to the marginalized sector.