‘Bogus’ partylist

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Friday, July 4, 2014


WHAT do Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, and Arturo Brion have in common with rebel priest Frank Fernandez?

All have dissented in the Supreme Court decision to declare Abang Lingkod (AL) a party-list. Justice Leonen argued that Abang Lingkod falsified the documents it submitted to the poll body, which is a clear ground for cancelling their registration.

The online news agency Rappler reported that Abang Lingkod was disqualified for submitting to Commission on Elections (Comelec) photographs of its activities – all with the group’s name and logo digitally superimposed – as proof of their track record as a party-list group.

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“Allowing a party-list organization that willfully presents false credentials betrays the public trust, and we should not be party to its countenance,” he said. Indeed in the digital era, a picture speaks a thousand words. With Photoshop, it tells a thousand lies!

However, the dissenters were outvoted by their peers. The ponencia stated that the party-list law does not require groups to submit proof of their track record as a group, as “it is enough that their principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and concerns of their sector.”

Abang Lingkod insists that it’s a sectoral organization representing farmers and fisherfolk and had obtained 260,215 votes in the May 13 elections, qualifying it for a seat in the House of Representatives.

The SC ordered Comelec to proclaim AL as a winner in the May 2013 local elections, criticizing the poll body that “gravely abused its discretion in cancelling the registration of Abang Lingkod under the party-list system.”

On the other hand, rebel ex-priest took umbrage and screamed hell that “Stephen Paduano was installed as representative of the bogus Abang Lingkod Partylist!”

But for some weird reason, Fernández attacked not just the “reactionary Comelec and the Supreme Court,” but Third District Rep. Albee Benitez and Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. as their “sheer creation.”

Of course, he failed to show proof that Governor Marañón took part in AL’s creation. A Google check would have sufficed the aging rebel to show that its nominees are Joseph Stephen Paduano, Patrick Leonard Lacson, and William Saratobias.

Patrick Lacson ran for Board Member under the banner of the Nationalist People’s Coalition together with gubernatorial candidate Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez who ran against Marañon.

Perhaps Fernandez should use this capitalist device to bolster his arguments with facts. Although I have no love lost for the RPA-ABB, I agree with Paduano to a debate and that Fernandez shows the public other reasons why AL is a bogus party and should be disqualified from Congress.

That would help Comelec argue their case with the Supreme Court. Otherwise, mere assertions and name-calling won’t convince the Supreme Court and the court of public opinion of the errors of their ways.

*****

(bqsanc@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 04, 2014.

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