Watchdog says party-list purge 'inconsistent'

Posted at 11/30/12 11:30 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Election watchdog Kontra Daya fears the latest decision of the Commission on Elections to allow supposedly "bogus" party-list groups to run in the 2013 elections could jeopardize the poll body's efforts to clean up the party-list system.

Joven Evangelista, legal counsel of Kontra Daya, said Comelec was inconsistent when it allowed some groups to remain in the race despite having nominees who supposedly do not belong to the underrepresented and marginalized sector, one of the criteria in approving a party-list group's nomination.

"Sobrang nakaka-disappoint. Maraming groups na hindi naman karapat-dapat na sumali sa party-list elections ang pinayagan ng Comelec," Evangelista told dzMM.

"Yung mga iba naman doon, na-disqualify, like Ako-Bicol. Itong bandang huli, may mga pinayagan pa na sobrang ka disqua-disqualify."

The Comelec on Thursday said 79 party-list groups have so far been allowed to run in 2013. Some of the groups are allied to President Aquino, such as Akbayan, Anak Mindanao (of ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman) An Waray, Bagong Henerasyon, CIBAC (of TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva) and YACAP.

Evangelista particularly noted the inclusion of Ang Mata'y Aalagaan, which nominated family members of incumbent Supreme Court Justice Presbitero Velasco; and Bagong Henerasyon, whose nominee Bernadette Herrera-Dy was earlier questioned by Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes.

Evangelista said he recalls Brillantes saying that Herrera-Dy does not belong to the marginalized sector for being a former councilor.

Kontra Daya said the Comelec's decision could embolden more disqualified parties to seek reprieve from the Supreme Court.

"Gagamitin itong desisyon ng Comelec na ito, na pinayagan ang bogus party lists groups, tapos yung mga pinayagan, eh similarly situated naman [doon sa mga na-disqualify]," he said.

Evangelista also appealed to the Comelec to explain further its basis for disqualifying or not disqualifying a particular party-list group.