MANILA, Philippines – Former presidential son Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo on Thursday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to spare his party, Ang Galing Pinoy, after he was criticized by the poll body for "sheer laziness."
Comelec earlier castigated Arroyo, currently the representative of Ang Galing Pinoy, in its per curiam resolution canceling the accreditation of AGP. The party, which represents security guards and tricycle drivers in Congress, is disqualified from joining the 2013 midterm elections.
“Interestingly its incumbent representative Mikey Arroyo authored only a single legislation pertaining to security guards. This bill has just gone past the first reading and was referred to the House Committee on Public Order and safety,” Comelec said in its per curiam resolution dated October 30, 2012.
“If one is truly an advocate, he/she is expected to exert his/her best efforts to push for legislation that will alleviate the cause of the sectors he/she is representing. We do not know if this is just sheer laziness but to us, this is a glaring lack of zeal and empathy for the plight of the marginalized,” it added.
In response, Arroyo said he backs Comelec’s purge of the party list system but urged the poll body to spare AGP.
“I respect very much and I agree with their drive to purge the party list system because the party list system is not perfect. It’s very commendable on their part. They’re doing their best to cleanse it. I just hope this is not a clamp down and that it is across the board lahat ng party list i-check nila,” he said.
He added: “If ever I did not live up to the Comelec’s standards, they should punish me not the party list. Why will they cancel the party list [accreditation]? The Comelec voted that I am a legal nominee, the Supreme Court agreed with that.”
Arroyo also noted that his party list did not get any funding from the government and yet he was able to work for the sectors his party list group is representing.
“We started not having any centavo from the government. I was able to provide our members with a legal desk, financial aid, burial aid. Whenever a security guard dies in the line of duty, we were able to provide insurance. That’s why I was always going abroad. I was networking with other groups,” he said.
“I support their drive it’s a right move, but to punish my party list just because Comelec thinks I did not live up to their standards… my party list thinks I did a good job. They could have replaced me halfway. Just because di nila ako gusto, they will punish my party list.”
Arroyo noted the House of Representatives electoral tribunal already ruled that he is eligible to sit as party list representative.
AGP was the subject of a letter complaint by watchdog Kontra Daya on August 13, 2012.
Kontra Daya alleged that AGP does not have the track record to bolster claims of representing the marginalized sector it claims to represent. It said Arroyo is the eldest son of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
In its resolution, the Comelec said that the party’s failure to send a representative during the August 28 summary evidentiary hearing “showed its wanton disregard for the rules and regulations of the commission.”
The poll body said Ang Galing Pinoy does not intend to represent any marginalized and underrepresented sector as evidenced by its lack of track record. It said the only instance the party mentioned marginalized sectors was in a November 29, 2006 memorandum to Comelec.
The memo said Ang Galing Pinoy “conducts seminars lectures and organizing multisectoral forces coming from among others: security guards, tricycle drivers, fx, taxi, jeepney bus drivers who are not members of associations as well as crime watch force composed of vendors, tanods and some small scale businessmen.”
Comelec said the party submitted a list of members but did not indicate what sectors they belong.
Another ground for AGP's disqualification was that the Comelec found that its nominees for 2013 were not members of a marginalized sector.
Arroyo himself is not nominated due to term limits. He was district representative of Pampanga’s 2nd district for 2 terms before representing AGP on his 3rd term.
For 2013, AGP nominated lawyer and businessman Charlie Chua, physician Eder Dizon, businessman Jerold Dominick David, Ryan M Cadiao, an employee; basketball coach Allan Trinidad and consultant Bernardo Corella.
“Based on the above mentioned list, not even one from among its nominees is a security guard, a tricycle/fx/taxi/bus driver, a vendor, a tanod or a small scale businessman. What is even more ludicrous is that its incumbent representative Mikey Arroyo is the son of the former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and is one of the richest in the House of Representatives who does not in any way belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors that AG is claiming to represent.”
For 2011, Arroyo declared a net worth of P99,254,309.00.