'Comelec ruling on Akbayan complicates party-list'

By Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Nov 20 2012 06:11 PM | Updated as of Nov 21 2012 02:12 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) expressed disappointment over the Comelec’s ruling to allow Akbayan to run in the 2013 elections.

Bayan’s secretary-general Renato Reyes said although the decision was not surprising to them, they are “extremely disappointed, considering that Malacañang has on several occasions been very vocal about its endorsement of Akbayan as its favored party-list group.”

“It’s quite hard for the 5 Comelec commissioners including the one who abstained not to see the evidence presented before them that the nominees of Akbayan are not exactly marginalized. They do not belong to any of the marginalized sectors that they claim to represent,” Reyes told ANC’s “Top Story” on Tuesday.

Comelec commissioners Christian Robert Lim, Elias Yusoph, Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco voted in favor to allow Akbayan and Bayan Muna to participate in next year’s elections.

Comelec Commissioner Sixto Brillantes and commissioner Lucenito Tagle dissented.

Reyes reiterated that Akbayan is a “party in power” that has an “undue advantage over other party-list groups and access to government resources.”

“This further complicates the whole messy party-list system, it will not result in the cleanup of the party-list system,” he said.

Track record

One of the reasons cited for approving Akbayan was its track record, which Bayan disputed, saying it shouldn’t be the determining factor in the eligibility of a party-list group.

“Akbayan’s track record is really in favor of all the policies of the Aquino administration, including policies which are against the policies of the marginalized sector,” said Reyes.

He also said a party-list group’s track record is only one of the criteria required under the law.

He added that if other criteria were considered, then Akbayan should have been disqualified.

“Akbayan may have been a genuine party-list group from the time it was founded in 1998 up to before 2010, but the moment it became the ruling coalition and became party in power, then it ceased becoming a marginalized group or party. It was no longer qualified to participate in the party-list election,” said Reyes.

Reyes said Bayan has yet to receive a copy of the resolution, which they will study and determine from their review if it they will file an appeal.

He also noted that Bayan is not singling out Akbayan, saying that they are also in protest of other party-list groups that are “clearly non-marginalized groups.”