Poll watchdog wants 13 party-list groups junked

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 05 2012 04:53 PM | Updated as of Sep 06 2012 04:50 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Election watchdog Kontra Daya has filed a second petition letter to Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes, seeking the exclusion of 7 incumbent party-list groups and 6 new party-list groups from the list of party-list groups accredited to run for the 2013 mid-term elections.

The incumbent groups are: Ako Bicol, Aangat Tayo, A Teacher, Buhay, Alliance Advocating Autonomy Party, Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines, You Against Corruption and Poverty (YACAP) and Senior Citizens.

Buhay is identified with El Shaddai whose leader, Mike Velarde, has a son representing the group in Congress. Buhay has been the consistent top-notcher in party-list elections.

Meanwhile, the 6 other party-list groups Kontra Daya wants excluded are: Ang National Coalition of Indigenous People's Action Na, ABS, Bantay, Abot Tanaw, Pasang Masda, and Manila Teachers' Savings and Loan Association, Inc.

Bantay is led by the wife of retired military general Jovito Palparan, Maria Evangelina F. Palparan.

Just like their first letter, the supplemental letter questioned the qualifications of the party-list groups to represent marginalized sectors as envisioned in the party- list law.

The letter was signed by Fr. Joe Dizon, Santiago Dasmarinas, Wilfredo Marbella and Gloria Arellano.

The letter says it is against party-list groups and their respective nominees "who seriously violate, and are defying and disregarding, the Honorable Commission's Resolution No. 9513 (02 August 2012) and the doctrines enunciated in Ang Bagong Bayani- OFW Labor Party v. Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party Go! Go! Philippines (G.R. No. 147589, June 26, 2001) and Bayan Muna v. COMELEC (G.R. No. 147613, June 26, 2001), as said party-list groups do not represent the marginalized and underrepresented sector/s, and whose nominees do not belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sector/s-but in fact come from the privileged sectors, with economic power and political influence, and who can otherwise win in regular elections."

The group contended that the groups are using the party-list system as a "backdoor" to extend and "perpetuate such power and influence, thereby taking away the party-list seats from the marginalized and underrepresented sectors for whom the Constitution specifically allots and designates for."

The group says groups and nominees who do not belong to the marginalized sector cannot represent the interests of that sector.

"Indeed, the law crafted to address the peculiar disadvantages of Payatas hovel dwellers cannot be appropriated by the mansion owners of Forbes Park. The interests of these two sectors are manifestly disparate."

The letter adds, "Logic shows that the system has been opened to those who have never gotten a foothold within it -- those who cannot otherwise win in regular elections and who therefore need the "simplest scheme possible" to do so."

Comelec is in the process of going through the accreditations of new and incumbent groups seeking to run in the 2013 mid-term elections.

Brillantes says the groups have been asked to respond to Kontra Daya's allegations.

The poll body hopes to finalize the list before the filing of candidacies first week of October.

Each party-list congressman gets P70 million in priority development assistance funds annually.