Watchdog files raps vs 6 ‘gov’t’ party-list groups

Watchdog files raps vs 6 ‘gov’t’ party-list groups
By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Election watchdog Kontra Daya Monday filed a complaint in the Commission on Elections (Comelec) against six party-list groups it said were government fronts.

Kontra Daya tagged Batang Iwas Droga (Bida), Adhikain ng mga Dakilang Anak ng Maharlika (Adam), Agbiag Timpuyog Ilokano (Agbiag), Babae para sa Kaunlaran (Babae Ka), League of Youth for Peace and Development (Lypad) and Kalahi Advocates for Overseas Filipinos (Kalahi) as government-sponsored groups.

Kontra Daya said their inclusion on the list of 187 accredited party-list groups was a violation of the law establishing the party-list system, which is supposed to provide congressional representation for marginalized and underrepresented sectors of society.

The watchdog also asked the poll agency to check if Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, the President’s son, and Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes were nominees of party-list groups Ang Galing Pinoy and 1-United Transport Koalisyon (1-UTAK), respectively.

It said both Arroyo and Reyes should be disqualified as nominees.

Kontra Daya said Bida itself announced on its website that it was the brainchild of Efraim Genuino, who heads the government Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

The Dangerous Drugs Board and Department of Education were also involved with the group, it said.

Adam, on the other hand, has for one of its nominees Energy Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan.

“Being himself a current government official, and one who comes from a prominent and influential clan in Maguindanao, Ampatuan and Adam’s qualifications are at the very least questionable,” Kontra Daya said.

Agbiag, Babae Ka, Lypad and Kalahi, Kontra Daya said, were named in an October 2006 memorandum from Malacañang’s Office of External Affairs as groups to be backed to “provide full support to several Comelec-accredited (party-list) groups that are ascertained as pro-administration and ensure the winning of nine to 12 seats in the House of Representatives.”

Sought for comment, Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said the party-list groups went through a “rigorous process of verification.”

“There was an opportunity for people to oppose their accreditation. If they don’t want them to win a seat, all they have to do is not vote for them,” he said.

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.