Kontra Daya calls on public to report dubious party-list groups, nominees

Kontra Daya calls on public to report dubious party-list groups, nominees
Kontra Daya

The anti-fraud and election monitoring group Kontra Daya today called on the public to report to its hotlines the dubious party-list groups and nominees that they know of.

Kontra Daya convener Fr. Joe Dizon said exposing the questionable party-list groups and nominees is important in preventing the bastardization of the party-list system, which is supposedly meant to empower marginalized and underrepresented sectors.

“These dubious party-list groups and nominees are crowding out the groups that genuinely represent the marginalized and underrepresented,” Dizon said. “Exposing them is an important contribution to getting them out of the way.”

Kontra Daya recently filed before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) a letter to Chairman Jose Melo, seeking the disqualification of the following party-list groups: Batang Iwas Droga (BIDA), Adhikain ng mga Dakilang Anak ng Maharlika (ADAM), Agbiag Timpuyog Ilocano (AGBIAG), Babae para sa Kaunalaran (BABAE KA), League of Youth for Peace and Development (LYPAD), and Kalahi Advocates for Overseas Filipinos (KALAHI).

BIDA declares in its own website (www.bida.org.ph) that it is “the brainchild of Ephraim Genuino, chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).” PAGCOR, in partnership with the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and the Department of Education (DepEd), launched BIDA in 2003 as an anti-drug campaign for elementary school students.

ADAM has for its first nominee Energy Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan, nephew of former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. Undersecretary Ampatuan has himself declared that he formed ADAM as “(his) own” party-list group, while at the same time denying that it has anything to do with the powerful Ampatuan clan.

AGBIAG, BABAE KA, LYPAD, and KALAHI were identified as in a 2006 memorandum from Malacañang’s Office of External Affairs (OEA) as the main organizations to be supported in a party-list campaign that intended to support “pro-administration” party-list groups and secure for them 9-12 seats in Congress.

The signatories of the letter to Melo cited Sec. 2 of Republic Act No. 7941, also known as the Party-List System Act, which provides that “the State shall promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall develop and guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall provide the simplest scheme possible.”

They also pointed to the Supreme Court’s decision in the 2001 case Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. Commission on Elections, et al, which states that a party-list group “must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the government. By the very nature of the party-list system, the party or organization must be a group of citizens, organized by citizens and operated by citizens. It must be independent of the government. The participation of the government or its officials in the affairs of a party-list candidate is not only illegal and unfair to other parties, but also deleterious to the objective of the law: to enable citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors and organizations to be elected to the House of Representatives.”

In the same ruling, the Supreme Court stated that not only the candidate party-list group, but also its nominees, must represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors.

Dizon also noted that several of the party-list groups that have submitted their lists of nominees as of March 22 have nominees that cannot claim to represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors.

The most glaring example, Dizon said, is Ang Galing Pinoy Party-List, which claims to represent security guards and small businessmen. Its first nominee is Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, son of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The group’s second nominee is Dennis Pineda, mayor of Lubao, Pampanga and son of alleged jueteng lord Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda; while the third is Romeo Dungca, mayor of Bacolor, Pampanga.

The Alliance of People’s Organizations (APO) has for its first nominee former Ilocos Sur Rep. Salacnib Baterina, who is currently the president of Bio-Energy Northern Luzon Inc., while its third nominee is Anna Marie Ablan, daughter of Ilocos Norte Rep. Roque Ablan Jr. Bandila (Bagong Bayan na Nagtataguyod ng Demokratikong Ideolohiya at Layunin) Party-List has as its third nominee former actor Juan Miguel “Onemig” Bondoc, who hails from a family of wealthy businessmen and himself owns several businesses including the Benedictine International School of Quezon City. The first nominee of the Alliance of Mindanao Elders (AME) is Alfonso Goking, a councilor of Cagayan de Oro City who is a member of the Lakas-Kampi coalition. The Philippine Coconut Producers Federation (Cocofed) is comprised of both landlords and farmers, as well as businessmen, and counts among its nominees Jose Lobregat, a scion of the wealthy Lobregat clan of Zamboanga, who also owns a cable TV company.

The Sulong Barangay Movement’s first nominee is Herminio Aquino, a half brother of the late Sen. Benigno Aquino Sr. and grand-uncle of presidential candidate Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III. The Aquinos have been among Tarlac’s wealthiest families for several generations.

The Pilipino Association for Country / Urban Poor Youth Advancement and Welfare (PACYAW), which claims to advocate sports development for urban poor youth, has as its first nominee Tourism Assistant Sec. Janet Rita B. Lazatin, a member of the ruling Lakas-Kampi coalition. Its second nominee is businessman and former Los Angeles Consul Reynaldo Pineda.

The fifth nominee of Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (Buhay) Party-List is Mariano “Mike” Velarde, who is not only the leader of the Catholic charismatic group El Shaddai but is also a millionaire who owns Amvel Land Development Corporation. Its first nominee is his son Mariano Michael. Buhay’s other nominees include William Irwin Tieng, whose family controls Solar Sports, and Ma. Carissa Coscolluella, whose family is in the construction business.

“More than a hundred party-list groups were accredited for the May 2010 elections and most of them have yet to submit their lists of nominees,” Dizon said. “We should expect more of these cases. We urge the public to report to Kontra Daya these spurious party-list groups and nominees.”

Kontra Daya may be reached through its hotline 09213953004 and its e-mail address, [email protected] Concerned groups and individuals may also visit its website at www.kontradaya.org.

Karen Ang

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