Lypad

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.

Probe sought on 6 party-list groups

Probe sought on 6 party-list groups
By Sheila Crisostomo
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) was asked yesterday to investigate six party-list groups for alleged links to President Arroyo.

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.

In a memorandum dated Oct. 16, 2006, Malacañang’s Office of External Affairs said these party-list groups must be supported, the letter added.

Kontra Daya said Adhikain ng mga Dakilang Anak Maharlika (ADAM) was formed by Energy Undersecretary Zamsamin Ampatuan, while the Binigkis na Interes ng mga Drayber sa Adhikain Inc. (Bida) was founded by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chairman Efraim Genuino.

“We urge the Comelec to immediately conduct an investigation and a public hearing on the issues raised,” Kontra Daya said.

“This can serve as an initial step in correcting the abuses of the party-list system.”

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

JDV III: Protect counting machines

Senatorial candidate Joey de Venecia III has urged Comelec to make a “full revelation” of arrangements in the transporting of vote counting machines to protect them from software designed for digital dagdag-bawas.

“While the more than 80,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines are now safely under guard, these will be under threat from contamination once their distribution commences,” he said.

“There are very real dangers that the PCOS machines can be waylaid and tampered with by individuals possessing the technical know-how to insert malicious software intended to alter the results as ballots are inserted into them on Election Day.”

De Venecia said three years ago, a study conducted by the Center for Information Technology Policy of Princeton University showed the most widely used automated voting machines in the United States were vulnerable to “malicious software.”

“While the machine tested by Princeton University researchers was a direct recording (touch screen voting) machine (the Diebold AccuVote), its internal architecture is basically similar to the PCOS machines leased by Comelec from Smartmatic.”

De Venecia said the study showed “malware” introduced into the voting machine can modify all of the records, audit logs, and counters kept by the voting machine.

“So, even careful forensic examination of these records will find nothing amiss and anyone who has physical access to a voting machine, or to a memory card that will later be inserted into a machine, can install said malicious software using a simple method that takes as little as one minute,” he said.

De Venecia said such vulnerability points to the clear and present danger of precinct level “digital dagdag-bawas,” the likes of which will totally compromise the integrity of the elections.

“I was among those whose earnest efforts at pushing for anti-corruption reforms and promoting information technology to bring in investments and create jobs (and) whose winning bids for the Senate can easily be knocked out by automated election fraud,” he said.

“We urge the Comelec to revisit the safeguards for both the technical integrity of the PCOS machines alongside the critical need of transporting these to all precincts securely and on time.” – With Jose Rodel Clapano

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.

Letter of complaint to the Comelec on bogus party-list groups and questionable party-list nominees

Letter of complaint to the Comelec on bogus party-list groups and questionable party-list nominees
Kontra Daya

HON.JOSE MELO
Chairman
Commission on Elections

March 15, 2010

Dear Chairman Melo:

Warm greetings of peace!

We, conveners of the Kontra Daya campaign, are writing to express our outrage over the participation of several groups either sponsored or supported by the government in the race for party-list seats. We are also dismayed that some individual government officials are reportedly being considered for nomination by certain party-list groups.

This situation is a clear and grave violation of the law and jurisprudence defining the intent and scope of the party-list system.

Republic Act No. 7941, also known as the Party-List System Act, provides among other things 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. (Sec. 2)

The Supreme Court, in its decision on the 2001 case Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. Commission on Elections, et al, argued that:

x x x (The) party or organization 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.

Existing law and jurisprudence clearly reserve the party-list system for groups genuinely representing marginalized and underrepresented sectors while precluding the participation of government agencies or officials in it.

We thus manifest our strong objection to the recent accreditation of the following party-list groups:

* Batang Iwas Droga (BIDA) – Launched in 2003 as an anti-drug campaign for elementary school students, BIDA declares itself in its own website, www.bida.org.ph, as “the brainchild of PAGCOR Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Ephraim C. Genuino.” PAGCOR’s partners in this project are the Dangerous Drugs Board and the Department of Education. This group is no different from Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga (MAD), which competed for a party-list seat in 2001 and became the subject of Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. Commission on Elections, et al. We have attached entries from the website of BIDA and PAGCOR as proof of that BIDA is a government adjunct. These are sufficient grounds to disqualify BIDA.

* Adhikain ng mga Dakilang Anak ng Maharlika (ADAM) – The group has for its first nominee Energy Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan, nephew of former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. While denying that ADAM has anything to do with the Ampatuan clan which has held sway in Maguindanao for several generations, Undersecretary Ampatuan has himself declared that he formed ADAM as “(his) own” party-list group. 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.

* Agbiag Timpuyog Ilocano (AGBIAG), Babae para sa Kaunlaran (BABAE KA), League of Youth for Peace and Development (LYPAD), and Kalahi Advocates for Overseas Filipinos (KALAHI) – These four groups are identified in an Oct. 16, 2006 memorandum from Malacañang’s Office of External Affairs (OEA) as the four main organizations to be supported in a party-list campaign that aimed to “provide full support to several COMELEC-accredited (party-list) groups that are ascertained to be pro-administration and ensure the winning of nine (9) to twelve (12) seats in the House of Representatives,” among other objectives. We have attached the scanned copy of the said Palace Memorandum. The memorandum should be seen as a ground for the disqualification of these party-list groups.

We would also like to draw the Comelec’s attention to reports that Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo and Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes are being eyed as nominees of Ang Galing Pinoy (AGP) and 1-United Transport Koalisyon (1-UTAK), respectively.

Arroyo comes from the dominant political party Lakas-Kampi, is an incumbent congressman from Pampanga, and is the son of the incumbent president. Nothing in his current status qualifies him as a party-list representative. We call on the Comelec to exercise special vigilance in this regard, once the nominees of party-list groups have been submitted. Comelec has no choice but to disqualify Arroyo.

Reyes meanwhile is the current Secretary of Energy and has held previous positions in the Arroyo cabinet including Secretary of Defense and Interior and Local Government. He has also been the AFP Chief of Staff, another position that makes him influential and privileged. Nothing in his credentials makes him qualified to be a party-list nominee. We call on the Comelec to exercise special vigilance in this regard. Should he be included in the list of nominees of 1-Utak, Comelec has no choice but to disqualify Sec. Angelo Reyes.

Comelec cannot turn a blind eye to the clear pattern of abuse and distortion of the party-list system being done under the Arroyo administration. The 2010 elections will not be the first time interest groups would claim to be representing the marginalized. The lack of strict implementation of the law has allowed representatives of major political parties, influential persons, cabinet and military officials to take advantage of the party-list system.

For the 2010 elections, we can already see a concerted effort on the part of the allies of the Arroyo administration to use the party-list system so that they can remain in power as members of Congress.

To allow these issues to remain unresolved is to be an accomplice to a brazen bastardization of the party-list system.

We urge the Comelec to immediately conduct an investigation and a public hearing on the issues raised above, in relation to the party-lists BIDA, ADAM, AGBIAG, BABAE KA, LYPAD, and KALAHI. This can serve as an initial step in correcting the abuses of the party-list system. We reserve the right to file before the Comelec additional complaints on other party-list groups that do not conform to the law. We also reserve the right to file our opposition to the nomination of the Rep. Mikey Arroyo and Sec. Angelo Reyes once the final list of nominees is submitted.

For the Conveners,

FR. JOE DIZON
ENGR. RODOLFO NOEL LOZADA
MO. MARY JOHN MANANZAN
RENATO REYES JR.
GRACE POE-LLAMANZARES

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.