SYDNEY, Australia – President Benigno Aquino III defended Akbayan party-list, which is facing a disqualification case for allegedly not representing a marginalized sector.
Aquino said Akbayan can demonstrate that it represents marginalized sectors, pointing out that it has taken up the cause of farmer groups like the Task Force Mapalad in pushing for the extension and reform of the comprehensive agrarian reform program.
Aquino stressed that Akbayan can still be considered as a representative of marginalized sectors even if it is allied with the administration party and a number of its officers have been appointed by Aquino in government positions.
"Ilang taon na ba silang na-list and… 'Di ba marginalized na sectors talaga ang nire-represent nila. They can demonstrate it. 'Yung Mapalad na farmers, amongst others. It's one thing to ask for the delisting, siguro it's another thing to prove it. They are allied to us but it doesn't make them any less parang representative of marginalized sectors. Pinu-plural ko, ano, dahil hindi lang naman isang sector," Aquino told reporters covering his state visit to Australia.
Aquino does not see any problem if his sisters had indeed contributed campaign funds to Akbayan during the 2010 elections, while saying he has to confirm the details of his sisters' reported campaign contributions, he said any party is entitled to have its own supporters.
"Basta hindi ka nagva-violate… 'nung spending limits, is that an issue? 'Yun bang 'pag marginal party ka ba or a party who is representing a marginalized sector you're not entitled to have supporters? How does a political party exist without supporters? As far as my sisters are concerned, I'll have to check the records…I don't remember all of the details," he said.