Comelec on party-list nominees: Let voters judge

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

THE poll body on Wednesday said the voting public will be the ultimate judge of rightful party-list representatives in the coming 2010 polls.

“Matalino ang ating mga Pinoy eh, magagaling yan eh. Let the people be the judge, they cannot go wrong," Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Jose Melo said.

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Issues against party-list groups came after presidential son and Pampanga Representative Mikey Arroyo was named last Tuesday as the first nominee of Ang Galing Pinoy party-list organization.

Ang Galing Pinoy claims they represent security guards.

Melo said the commission will only look at the qualifications of the nominees but the voters will determine whether or not the nominees are indeed deserving of their posts.

He admitted that the identification of party-list groups qualified to represent marginalized sectors remains to be a "big question".

“How to identify and certify a party-list is still a big big question. What does it mean to say marginalized? So there is more reason why we really cannot pinpoint who should be nominated,” he explained.

Melo added in example that a group of tricycle drivers cannot simply nominate a tricycle driver to represent them in Congress because some might not have finished primary school.

“You will nominate a tricycle driver to represent in the Congress? What can he do? How can they cope? How can they really represent the interests of tricycle drivers?" stressed Melo.

The Comelec official also said that unethical matters revolve around the question of whether or not incumbent congressmen should be allowed to participate in the party-list elections.

“For example, a congressman has already completed his or her term then he or she will be nominated by a party-list group. That's another way of circumventing the constitutional provision on the three-term (rule)...they are qualified but there may be unethical matters,” he said.

“If I'm the only one who will decide, he or she should not represent a party-list anymore,” he added.

38 groups backed by Palace/b>

On a related note, Kabataan party-list group second nominee Mark Louie Aquino urged the Comelec to review the accreditation of 38 Malacanang-backed party-list organizations.

“The people behind these 38 party-lists are all Arroyo allies. Some of them are party-lists included in the 2007 Office of External Affairs memo while others are being fielded by Cabinet members and known allies of the Arroyo administration,” Aquino said.

The groups alleged to be supported by the current administration includes: Babae ka, Lypad, Kalahi, Agbiag, Abono, Kasangga, Aging Pinoy, 1-Utak, 1Ganap/Guardian, 1st Kabagis, A Ipra, A Teacher, Abakada, Adam, Ahon, Ang Galing Pinoy, Aksa, Alif, Anad, Anak, Apec, Apo, Araro, Arc, Apoi, Aangat Tayo, Ave, Banat, Bantay, Bida, Bigkis Pinoy, Biyaheng Pinoy, Butil, Coop-Natco, Kakusa, Tucp, Veterans Freedom Party, and Yacap.

In the Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the Ang bagong bayani vs Comelec case, which disqualified Mamamayang Ayaw sa Droga (MAD), it was stated that party-lists must not be associated with or funded by the government.

“Pwede nila yung i-complain. In the past, there were party-list groups disqualified because of that," Melo said.

The deadline of party-list nominations is set Friday, March 26.

Comelec will then be coming out with the list of nominees, which is open to be challenged. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)

Comelec party list nominees let voters judge

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