We welcome the disqualification of Ako Bicol and 12 other non-marginalized partylists. Ako Bicol’s reps are big businessmen and influential families, clearly not marginalized and underrepresented. It is an injustice to allow them to continue holding seats in Congress to continue “representing the marginalized.” They should be removed from congress as well.
However, we are hoping that the COMELEC’s campaign to ‘cleanse’ the party-list system include Malacanang-backed party-lists like Akbayan and Black and White movement. We challenge Brilliantes to prove COMELEC’s independence from the Palace by removing these groups from the list of accredited list of PLs. COMELEC should not shield them from the process and in effect, give them undue advantage in the polls.
It is a big joke to for COMELEC to allow AKBAYAN to represent to be marginalized and underrepresented when its leaders, members and current set of nominees are holding key government positions including cabinet-level appointments. These include:
-Ronald Llamas, former AKBAYAN president, now the Presidential Political Affairs Adviser of President Aquino;
-Loretta Ann Rosales, former AKBAYAN president and representative, currently the Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, and appointee of President Aquino;
-Joel Rocamora, former AKBAYAN president and ideologue, currently the Chairperson of National Anti-Poverty Commission, and appointee of President Aquino;
-Mario Agujo, former AKBAYAN representative, currently a member of the GSIS Board of Trustees, and appointee of President Aquino;
-Percival Cendena, former AKBAYAN chairperson, is currently the National Youth Commission commissioner-at-large, appointee of President Aquino;
Its set of nominees for 2013 submitted to the COMELEC also currently hold high appointive positions:
-Ibarra M. Gutierrez III, AKBAYAN’s 2nd nominee is an Undersecretary for Political Affairs, and appointee of President Aquino;
-Angelina Ludovice-Katoh, AKBAYAN’s 3rd nominee is a Commissioner in the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor.
Black and White Movement, a group closely-related to the president is also seeking accreditation before the Comelec. Its first nominee is Movie and Television Review and Classification Board member Leah Navarro, a presidential appointee. Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman and peace adviser Ging Deles, former Department of Tourism heads Vicente Romano and Bertie Lim are also members of the group.
COMELEC chief Sixto Brilliantes was quoted a few weeks ago saying the partylist system has become a joke. The biggest joke of all, however, would be if COMELEC allows these Palace-backed groups to run and further make a mockery of the party-list system.
- Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson, Anakbayan