Palace denies GMA ties with party-list groups

Palace denies GMA ties with party-list groups
By Paolo Romero and Sheila Crisostomo
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang denied yesterday any links with party-list groups branded as fronts for the administration.

Deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar said the Palace has maintained its distance on matters involving the Commission on Elections (comelec).

“The accusation, I think, is that the party-list groups are fraudulent or non-accredited,” he said.

“To my knowledge, this is not something that is being done (by the administration), and if there are these allegations, the Comelec would be the one to judge and decide on the matter.”

“The Comelec has oversight over the electoral process, including the accreditation of party-list groups so we will leave it to the discretion and the authority of the Comelec.”

Critics must keep the Palace out of the issue, Olivar said.

Kontra Daya has asked the Comelec to investigate six party-list groups for alleged ties with President Arroyo.

The complaint cited an alleged memorandum dated Oct. 16, 2006 from Malacañang’s Office of External Affairs that the party-list groups be supported.

In a letter to Comelec Chairman Jose Melo, Kontra Daya said Agbiag Timpuyag Ilocano Inc. (Agbiag), Babae Para sa Kaunalaran (Babae Ka), Youth League for Peace Advancement (Lypad) and Kalahi Sectoral Party (Kalahi) would “bastardize” the party-list system if allowed to run on May 10.

Kontra Daya said Adhikain ng mga Dakilang Anak Maharlika (ADAM) was formed by Energy Undersecretary Zamsamin Ampatuan.

The Comelec must also be watchful over the possible endorsement of Ang Galing Pinoy (AGP) and 1-Utak whose nominees are Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo and Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, Kontra Daya said.

Clarification

Kontra Daya clarified yesterday that the party-list group it wanted out of the May 10 party-list polls is Batang Iwas Droga, not the Binigkis na Interest ng mga Drayber sa Adhikain Inc.

The acronym of both groups is officially listed in Comelec’s Resolution 8744 as BIDA.

Renato Reyes, Bayan secretary general and co-convenor of Kontra Daya, said Batang Iwas Droga should be disqualified from the party-list system because of alleged links with Mrs. Arroyo.

In a letter to Comelec Chairman Jose Melo, Kontra Daya said Batang Iwas Droga declares itself in its website, www.bida.org.ph, as the ‘brainchild of PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) chairman and chief executive officer Ephraim Genuino.

“Pagcor’s partners in this project are Dangerous Drugs Board and the Department of Education.

“This group is no different from Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga (MAD).”

MAD was a party-list group that was disqualified from the 2001 polls for links with the government.

Karen Ang

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