Ex-rebel leader now congressman

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Thursday, May 29, 2014


AFTER more than a year of waiting, former rebel leader Joseph Stephen Paduano is finally joining the House of Representatives as congressman of Abang Lingkod party-list.

Also known as Carapali Luahalti when he was still national commander of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade, Paduano was sworn into office on Wednesday by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte during the regular session of the Congress.

Paduano received his Certificate of Proclamation from the Commission on Election (Comelec) after it was approved by the Comelec en banc.

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The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Comelec to proclaim previously disqualified Abang Lingkod as one of the winning groups in the May 2013 party-list elections.

In its October 22 decision released to the public on November 27, the SC granted the petition of the group to reverse their disqualification only a few days before the May 13 polls.

The Comelec then filed a motion for reconsideration but the SC upheld its decision in March, Paduano said.

Abang Lingkod is among the groups disqualified after they were found not representing any marginalized sector.

The High Court, however, said the Comelec "gravely abused its discretion in cancelling the registration of Abang Lingkod under the party-list system."

The High Court pointed out that the group had participated in the May 2010 elections, and was also able to get enough number of votes in the May 2013 elections to secure a seat in Congress.

The official tally of votes shows that the group garnered 260,215 votes, or 0.91% of the total number of votes for party-list groups.

Paduano said that of those votes, 200,000 were Negros votes for Abang Lingkod.

Based on the computation for party-list seat allocation, the group managed to secure one seat, allowing its number one nominee to join Congress.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 29, 2014.

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