Party-list race leader has ties to Duterte admin: poll watchdog

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 16 2019 09:55 AM

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MANILA - The runaway leader in the 2019 midterm elections party-list race has ties to the Duterte administration, which needs allies in Congress to push for its remaining campaign promises, an election watchdog said Thursday. 

ACT-CIS or Anti-Crime and Terrorism Through Community Involvement and Support got 9.47 percent of the votes, according to partial results from the Commission on Elections' transparency server past 8 a.m. 

The party-list's second nominee Jocelyn Tulfo is a sister-in-law of Duterte's special envoy to China Ramon Tulfo, noted Kontra Daya convenor Danilo Arao. 

Based on the partial count, 34 out of 59 party-list seats would go to nominees who have links to incumbent government officials like Tulfo, members of political dynasties or representatives of special business interests, he said. 

The Duterte admininistration, he said, "needs as much numbers as possible [in the House] to push for certain controversial measures" including the shift to a federal system of government and expansion of the tax reform law.

"With regard to the party-list race, it's really important that the marginalized and underrepresented should really have a voice, but these are being compromised right now," said Arao, who is also an associate professor at the University of the Philippines. 

The Commission on Elections, he said, should have organized forums where the media and poll watchdogs could have questioned party-list groups. 

"In times like this, we cannot just think in terms of legal technicalities. We have to think outside the box to make sure that these political dynasties, special business interests would really be held to account," said Arao. 

Click here for ABS-CBN's election results.