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Oscar Cruz, militants want Akbayan disqualified

Posted at 10/24/2012 1:26 PM | Updated as of 10/24/2012 2:58 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Party-list group Akbayan is facing another disqualification complaint before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Kontra Daya and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) filed the 2nd complaint against Akbayan, asking the Comelec to remove the group from the list of accredited parties.

An allied group, Anakbayan, filed the first complaint against Akbayan.

The pleading was signed by Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, Kontra Daya’s Fr. Joe Dizon, Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes, Jr., Hacienda Luisita peasant leader Rodel Mesa of the Ugnayan ng Manggawa sa Agrikultura, Peter Gonzalez of Pamalakaya-Southern Tagalog, Santiago Dasmarinas Jr. of the Confederation For The Unity, Recognition and Advancement Of Government Employees (COURAGE), UP Student Regent Cleve Kevin Robert Arguelles, Isabelle Therese Baguisi of the National Union Of Students Of The Philippines (NUSP), Henri Kahn, a concerned citizen and businessman; and Cristina Palabay of Karapatan.

In a picket at the Comelec lobby, Reyes told media that Akbayan has graduated from being a party that represents the marginalized to a party in power.

“Akbayan is already a party in power. It has significant influence in government and has undue advantage over others, given the position of their high officials,” said Reyes.

The complaint listed nine Akbayan personalities who are Malacanang appointees, including Presidential Political Affairs Adviser Ronald Llamas, Loretta Ann Rosales, chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights; Joel Rocamora, chairperson of National Anti-Poverty Commission; Mario Agujo, member of the GSIS Board of Trustees; National Youth Commission commissioner-at-large Percival Cendaña, Undersecretary for Political Affairs Ibarra M. Gutierrez III, Commissioner Angelina Ludovice-Katoh of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, Social Service System commissioner Daniel Edralin and NAPC spokesperson Risa Hontiveros Baraquel.

In the complaint, the groups said Akbayan 2nd and 3rd nominees Gutierrez and Ludovice-Katoh are top government appointees “and therefore could not be considered by any stretch of the imagination as underrepresented or marginalized.”

“While Gutierrez indicated “professor as his occupation in his Certificate of Acceptance of Nomination (and despite the fact that at the time of accepting he was also the Undersecretary for Political Affairs) this would not qualify him as a nominee of Akbayan. This is precisely because “professionals” is not one of the sectors listed and claimed by Akbayan in its Constitution (and testimony during the summary hearings), as one of its represented sectors. “

Bello not an OFW

Separately, party list applicant Migrante International said Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello is not an overseas Filipino worker, which is the sector he claims to represent.

Migrante International chairperson Garry  Martinez said OFWs “hold no affinity” with Bello.

“Even during his short stint in the United States, he was not part of any OFW advocacy group or migrants’ rights organization. So we ask now how Bello perceives himself to be a representative of our sector?” he asked.

Bello, Akbayan’s representative to the 15th Congress and its first nominee for the 2013 partylist elections, is currently the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Overseas Workers’ Affairs (OWA).