Party-list representatives: Mikey, Reyes
By Rainier Allan Ronda
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – They may not be candidates in the May 10 elections, but presidential son Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo and Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes may end up in the House of Representatives anyway.
The two are reportedly the nominees of two party-list groups running in the upcoming polls.
The militant transport group Pagkakaisa ng Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston) yesterday slammed the public transport party-list group United Transport Koalisyon (1-UTAK) for naming Energy Secretary Reyes as its first nominee.
Piston secretary-general George San Mateo said they have information that incumbent 1-UTAK Rep. Vigor Mendoza is sliding down to second nominee to give way to Reyes.
Homer Mercado, president of the Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines, is the group’s third nominee.
San Mateo claimed he got this information from an official of 1-UTAK who is a supporter of Piston.
San Mateo dared Mendoza to reveal the complete list of the group’s nominees submitted to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
San Mateo said Piston had opposed the naming of Reyes, if not of Mendoza himself, as nominees, since they were not from the ranks of the thousands of public transport operators and drivers.
“Again, we from Piston will oppose any move to put Reyes as a nominee of 1-UTAK,” San Mateo stressed.
San Mateo added Reyes and Mendoza, the incumbent representative, have no right to represent the transport sector, accusing them of being the “lapdogs of the Big 3 oil cartel.”
“And both of them have not been members of any legitimate transport association whether from bus, jeep, taxi or tricycle associations,” he said.
Mendoza, for his part, admitted Reyes was being considered as a nominee by 1-UTAK, but stressed the selection is not yet final.
“1-UTAK has not yet selected their nominees. We’re still undergoing a selection process. But definitely, Secretary Reyes is being considered by the group as a nominee considering his contributions to the transport sector,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza said the choice of Reyes as a nominee is allowed by law.
“We will select our nominee based on the guidelines of the Supreme Court on who can be our nominees, and it does not prohibit us from naming Secretary Reyes,” Mendoza said.
Presidential son Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo has been named as the first nominee of the party-list Ang Galing Party (AGP).
Bacolor town Mayor Buddy Dungca revealed Arroyo has been nominated along with outgoing Lubao town Mayor Dennis Pineda.
Dungca said the AGP would represent underprivileged multi-sectoral groups like transport drivers and security guards, among others.
Arroyo will seek party-list representation since his mother, President Arroyo, is running for Congress to replace him as representative of Pampanga’s second congressional district.
Mrs. Arroyo is expected to win in the congressional race and prospects of her son Mikey making it as party-list representative are also bright, paving the way for a House of Representatives with five Arroyos. The others are reelectionist presidential brother-in-law Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio Arroyo, her other son Rep. Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo for whom a new district was created in Camarines Sur, and sister-in-law Kasangga party list Rep. Ma. Lourdes Arroyo.
Mikey earlier admitted that some party-list groups had been inviting him to represent them in the next Congress.
Mikey and Pineda were not available for comment but Dungca revealed the two are scheduled to hit the campaign trail for the AGP.
“As a matter of fact, we are scheduled to go to Mindanao for this on March 10,” Dungca said.
The Comelec has given the 144 party-list organizations it approved for the May elections up to March 26 to submit the names of their top three nominees and two additional representatives.
After five days, the Comelec will publish the list in three newspapers to inform the public of the sector representatives.
Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the poll body is “mandated by law to screen the list of nominees and ensure that they are a member of the sector being represented.”
Sarmiento said the AGP would have to prove that their nominees, including Rep. Arroyo, are qualified and eligible to represent the party-list group in Congress. –With Ding Cervantes