Anti-fraud group Kontra Daya today submitted to the Commission on Elections a letter containing an initial study of partylist groups vying for posts in the 2013 elections. The filing of the letter was done after the Comelec issued Resolution No. 9513 which seeks to conduct an automatic review by the Commission En Banc of pending petitions for registration of party-list groups, and setting for hearing the accredited party-list groups organizations which are existing and which have filed Manifestations of Intent to Participate in the 2013 National and Local Elections.

The group’s initial study shows the existence of partylist groups formed by political clans, rich and powerful individuals as well as groups that have nominees that are outright disqualified from participating in the partylist system.  The group also asked the Comelec to probe certain groups who do not appear to be representative of actual marginalized sectors or whose nominees do not belong to the sectors they claim to represent.

“In line with (Resolution 9513), KONTRA DAYA has come up with a list of party-list groups which, we assert, do not represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors as required under the 1987 Constitution, Republic Act No. 7941, and Supreme Court decision in Ang Bagong Bayani and Bayan Muna case. Worse, these party-list groups even represent interest antagonistic to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors that the party-list system aspires to empower and protect.  The nominees of these groups are disqualified to be nominees because not only are they not representative of marginalized and underrepresented, but they come from the rich, the powerful and the over-represented. Many are also disqualified, not just because they are part of powerful economic and political clans but are politicians who ran and lost in the previous election and therefore disqualified under RA 7941,” the group said in its letter to Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes.

Among the glaring examples of violations of the partylist system cited by the study  are those of the family of Supreme Court Justice Presibitero Velasco, his wife and two children, who are all nominees of partylist group Ang Mata ay Alagaan. Former Tarlac Governor Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco meanwhile is running to represent the farmers under the Aksyon Magsasaka-PartidoTinig ng Masa.

Meanwhile, partylist Alliance of Organizations, Networks and Associations of the Philippines, Inc (ALONA) has Danilo Suarez Jr, Joanna Suarez, and Alexis Abastillas-Suarez as nominees. All of them are related to Quezon representative and House Minority leader Danilo Suarez, Sr.

Some partylist nominees have ties to the ruling Liberal Party. Alliance of Mindanao Elders first nominee is Jorge L. Banal, a former Quezon City councilor and father of QC representative Bolet Banal. Abante Retirees first nominee is Plaridel Abaya, a former Cavite congressman and father of current Cavite representative Jun Abaya, also belonging to the Liberal Party.

“It is unthinkable and unacceptable for us marginalized sectors to have the likes of Tingting Cojuangco representing the farmers, considering that her family has controlled Hacienda Luisita and has directly contradicted the interests of the farmers,” said Willy Marbella, of the farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.

Gloria Arellano of the urban poor group Kadamay observed that many rich people now claim to represent the urban poor even if they live in exclusive subdivisions and are not marginalized.

Kontra Daya also called the attention of Comelec to nominees who are outright disqualified from participating in the partylist elections because they ran and lost in the previous 2010 elections. The Partylist Law or  RA 7941 orders a party list group not to submit the name of a person who has ran and lost in the previous election. Sec. 8 of the law says that “each registered party, organization or coalition shall submit to the COMELEC xxx a list of names, not less than five (5), from which party-list representatives shall be chosen in case it obtains the required number of votes. xxx  The list shall not include any candidate for any elective office or a person who has lost his bid for an elective office in the immediately preceding election.

Nominees who ran and lost in the previous elections include Salvacion  Zaldivar- Perez of Ako Karay-a, the nominees of 1Pinoy Para sa Kalikasan such as first nominee Roselyn Espina Paras, who ran for Naval Vice Mayor in 2010 but lost, second nominee Azalea D. Hidalgo ran and lost in the 2010 mayoral race, third nominee Julienne L. Baronda ran and lost in the 2010 vice mayoral elections. Also disqualified are Nerissa Corazon Soon-Ruiz of Ako Bisaya Political Party who ran and lost in the Mandaue mayoral election in 2010. Gwendolyn Pimentel, second nominee of Ang Kasangga for 2013, also ran for Senator in 2010.

The poll watchdog said that the Comelec can do three things with the questionable partylist groups. “KONTRA DAYA respectfully prays that this Honorable Commission investigate these party-list groups and their nominees and if it is determined by the Commission that they are not qualified as party-list groups and nominees:  1) deny due course to the Petitions for Registration of the enumerated party-list groups; 2)  remove and/or cancel the registration of enumerated accredited party-list groups or, 3) deny due course  to the Certificate of Nomination filed by the party-list groups. ###