Ronald Kempis

Ex-AFP officers, Cabinet man join party-list race

Ex-AFP officers, Cabinet man join party-list race
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Retired military officers, including a former colonel implicated in the “Hello Garci” scandal, have been named nominees of some party-list groups, according to the militant group Bagong Alyansa Makabayan (Bayan).

Abante Tribung Makabansa (ATM) has former Army Col. Allen A. Capuyan as its first nominee, Bayan said in a statement.

Capuyan was among those implicated by former T/Sgt. Vidal Doble in the “Hello Garci” controversy, Bayan reminded.

The scandal implicated President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and senior military and poll officials in widespread electoral fraud during the 2004 presidential election that put into question Ms Arroyo’s legitimacy as the winner.

Citing Doble’s testimony, Bayan said Capuyan was among those who implemented “Project Lighthouse,” the wiretapping of personalities during his service as head of the special operations group of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Aside from Capuyan, there are other former and active military officers seeking to become party-list representatives.

ANAKalusugan has Col. Ronald E. Kempis, a doctor and commanding officer of the AFP Medical Center, as its first nominee, according to Bayan.

The Confederation of Non-Stock Savings and Loan Associations Inc. (Consla) has as its nominees former Air Force Col. Ricardo Nolasco Jr. and Navy Rear Admiral George T. Uy.

Bayan identified BAGO’s third nominee as a retired general. Brig. Gen. Manuel E. Mariano Jr. was the assistant commander of the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in 2008.

A nominee of Pilipino Association for Country/Urban Poor Youth Advancement and Welfare (Pacyaw) is also a government official, according to Bayan.

Tourism official

The group, whose name is a reference to popular boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and is advocating sports development, has as its first nominee Tourism Assistant Secretary Janet Rita B. Lazatin, according to Bayan.

Lazatin is a member of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD ruling coalition and hails from the first district of Pampanga.

Pacyaw’s second nominee is former Los Angeles consul and businessman Reynaldo Pineda, who is also based in Pampanga.

Some 45 party-list groups have submitted their nominees to the Comelec as of March 22. The deadline for submission is March 26. About 187 party-lists are on the ballots for the general elections on May 10.

Amid protests over moves by elective and appointive officials to gain seats in Congress through the party-list system, a Cabinet Secretary has accepted the nomination of a party-list group.

Secretary Eleazar Quinto yesterday said he was resigning on Friday to accept the nomination of Kalahi, a group representing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), as its No. 1 nominee.

“The moment I accept the nomination I will have to resign,” he said in an interview after he launched the Gibo Multipliers Movement at a park in Quezon City.

Quinto is the director general of the Office of Political Coalition Affairs under the Office of the President, a post he assumed in mid-February after a short-lived stint as acting environment secretary.

His reassignment to the Office of the President came on the heels of a furor over a “major reshuffle” of mid-level officials at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources that he initiated.

President’s son

Quinto is set to join a growing list of elective and appointive officials, including President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s own son, who are being tapped as nominees by party-list groups.

Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo and outgoing Mayor Dennis Pineda of Lubao, Pampanga, are the top two nominees of Ang Galing Pinoy. Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes is a nominee of 1-UTAK.

Quinto, 53, downplayed criticisms about elective and appointive officials agreeing to become party-list nominees regardless of whether they advocated the cause from the start.

“To each his own observation,” he said in reaction to the young Arroyo’s nomination. “If you look at my roots, I come from a poor family. And as I’ve said, my five siblings are OFWs (overseas Filipino Workers).”

Having five OFWs in the family, Quinto said he could relate to the concerns of overseas workers and their families.

Atienza wing

Quinto served as secretary general of the Liberal Party (Lito Atienza wing) until he and several others were expelled from the party last year by the other faction led by former Senate President Franklin Drilon.

After his expulsion, he became a member of Kalahi which had an unsuccessful run as a party-list group in the 2007 elections.

Quinto is the son-in-law of President Macapagal-Arroyo’s image consultant Lupita Kashiwahara. His wife is a first cousin of Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. Reports frrom Kristine L. Alave, TJ Burgonio and Philip C. Tubeza