Akbayan, Bayan Muna allowed to run in 2013

Posted at 11/20/12 1:54 PM

MANILA (3rd UPDATE) - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced on Tuesday it is allowing party-list groups Akbayan and Bayan Muna to run in the 2013 elections.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the the commissioners voted 4-2-1.

The four who voted in favor are Comissioners Christian Robert Lim, Elias Yusoph, Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco.

Those who dissented were Commissioners Brillantes and Lucenito Tagle.

The one who did not take part in the voting process was Commissoner Grace Padaca. Padaca explained she no longer took part because when she came in as commissioner, the issue was already being discussed and finalized.

Meanwhile, Brillantes would not explain why he dissented and told reporters to just wait for the resolution, but Commissioner Sarmiento explained he approved Bayan and Akbayan because of their long track record and the number of bills passed in Congress.

When asked why the Comelec has already come out with a decision on the two groups but not yet on the others, Sarmiento said, "Ito yung kontrobersyal na dalawa kaya inuna na namin."

Both Akbayan and Bayan Muna had been criticized by several parties for failing to “represent” the marginalized.

Palace influenced ruling, says Bayan

Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes criticized the Comelec ruling allowing Akbayan to run.
"As petitioners in the disqualification vs Akbayan, we are aghast at the result of the voting of the Comelec. It appears that Malacañang's favorite won in the end."

Reyes said the Comelec failed to see "that Akbayan is a party in power, has influential cabinet officials and multi-million peso donors from the country's ruling elite? Seems that the Palace worked its 'magic' on the Comelec, after Malacanang's repeated statements favoring Akbayan."

He lauded the "2 dissenters though for making a principled stand."

"We shall continue to expose  Aquino's favorite party-list group and the anomalies associated with their officials occupying posts in government," he added.

Last week, Brillantes said Akbayan, an ally of the administration, has many similarities and differences with the case of excluded party-list group Ako Bicol. Both are multi-sectoral political parties.

He had pointed out, however, that Akbayan has a track record while Ako Bicol has none.

The en banc had also considered the issue of the appointment of some of Akbayan's officials into government posts. This was raised by some groups in seeking Akbayan’s disqualification.

Among the former Akbayan officials in the Aquino government are Presidential Political Affairs Adviser Ronald Llamas, National Anti-Poverty Commission executive director Joel Rocamora, and Commission on Human Rights chief Loretta Ann Rosales -- with reports from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News