Brillantes: No pressure to approve Akbayan

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 26 2012 03:24 PM | Updated as of Oct 26 2012 11:24 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections is under no pressure to retain the party list accreditation of Akbayan party, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said Friday.

This is after President Aquino rose to defend Akbayan as a legitimate party list group, and his sisters for contributing to Akbayan’s campaign war chest in 2010.

“No. I think we will be basing our decision on  the documents we have. Sufficient naman. Dahil collegial kami, mahaba debate. Kanya-kanyang opinion,” he said.

Brillantes predicted that the debates on Akbayan will be spirited. “I don’t think we will have a unanimous decision on Akbayan,” he said.

The Comelec chief also added that they will consider party list groups’ financing when they rule on party list accreditations.

Brillantes, however, said that by itself, there was nothing wrong on both Akbayan and the Aquinos’ sides for the contribution.

Three of President Aquino’s sisters gave P14 million to Akbayan in 2010 as campaign contribution. TV host Kris Aquino was the party’s largest donor with P10 million.

Maria Elena "Ballsy" Aquino Cruz and Victoria Aquino-Dee each gave P2 million.

“There’s really nothing wrong. Walang political party o party list  na tumatanggi sa kontribusyon. Tulong yan. At the time ginawa contribution, Aquino was not president,” Brillantes said.

He said a formal disqualification case has been filed against Akbayan already.

Why share airtime?

Brillantes, however, finds problematic Akbayan’s admission that they shared campaign airtime with the President during the 2010 election campaign, which he says, skirts the election regulations on campaign advertisements.

The poll chief said they will no longer allow this in the 2013 campaign.

“We might make a revision. Before, it was actually allowed. Strictly, it should not have applied. Baka di na namin payagan. My own position is we can’t ask party lists and individual candidates to join up,” he said.

Earlier on Friday, President Aquino said he 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. With a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News