Party-list groups to get term limits?

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 03 2012 03:07 PM | Updated as of Jul 03 2012 11:07 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the poll body is studying whether officials of party-list groups are also covered by term limits in the House of Representatives.

Under the Constitution, members of the House can only serve a maximum of three 3-year terms.

Brillantes also made the comment after noting that the current Ang Galing Pinoy Party-list Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo is term-limited from another seat in Congress, having been district congressman in Pampanga's 2nd district from 2004 to 2007 and 2007 to 2010.

Arroyo's mother, former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, now holds that seat.

Nonetheless, party-list nominees or representatives, and not the party-list group itself, currently observe the term limits.

Meanwhile, Comelec is now close to ruling on the application for accreditation of 172 party list groups, and the review of some 127 existing party-list groups.
They hope to finalize the list of the party-list groups by the deadline of the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) on October 5. The Comelec will start accepting COCs on October 1.

Brillantes also stressed anew that nominees of party-list groups must be members of the group they represent.
"Kung security guard, dapat security guard ka rin. Ganun mga examples. May nakikita na kami…for dismissal pero di pa naming nilalabas yun desisyunan naming ngayon. It’s in the divisions eh,” he said.

Arroyo himself has not been nominated, Brillantes said.

As this developed, the party list group ACT Teachers' Party called for the opening of party-list records.

In a statement emailed to ABS-CBN, ACT Rep. Antonio Tinio said, "The people can help COMELEC weed out bogus party-lists, but they have to be armed with information which, right now, is mostly in the hands of COMELEC. If these information are hidden from the public then bogus party-lists can slip into Congress.”

"They can, for example, confirm to COMELEC that this group's track record proves that it has actually worked against their sector's interest, or that person is not really a member of their sector or has never advocated for them,” he added.

Brillantes, however, said Comelec's records are already open to scrutiny.