Comelec 'too liberal' in past party-list polls-A A +A
Monday, October 15, 2012
THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) "may have been too liberal" in the previous elections, its spokesperson said, after representatives of disqualified party-list groups slammed the poll body for being inconsistent in its rulings.
"The Comelec may have been too liberal in the past. Not anymore," spokesperson James Jimenez said in a text message.
On Monday, the poll body disqualified 1st Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy Partylist (1-Care) and the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (Apec).
Both groups have sitting members in the House of Representatives.
1-Care has two incumbent representatives, Michael Angelo Rivera and Salvador Cabaluna III, while Apec has one representative, Ponciano Payuyo.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said the commission en banc unanimously voted to cancel the accreditations of the two party-list groups.
"We don't think there is a sector for electricity consumers," he said.
In an ambush interview, Payuyo said Comelec should be "decisive." He said disqualification cases against his group were junked in the past 2001 and 2007 elections.
"We were disqualified before and we were forced to defend ourselves before and yet we were allowed to run. Not just once, but twice, 2007 and 2001," he said.
Ako Bicol Representative Rodel Batocabe raised the same argument when his party-list group was disqualified last week to join the 2013 party-list race.
Batocabe recalled that two disqualification cases filed against his group in 2010 were both junked by the poll body.
Four Comelec commissioners, namely: Rene Sarmiento, Elias Yusoph, Lucenito Tagle and Armando Velasco, were among the poll body's officials who upheld the Ako Bicol position in 2010.
Batocabe said Comelec is committing grave abuse of discretion and betrayal of public trust.
1-Care party-list Representative Rivera, for his part, said his group was surprised with the decision of the poll body because they knew they had a good record.
Rivera said "big men" from distribution companies are behind their disqualification.
1-Care, Apec, and Ako Bicol party-list groups vowed to appeal Comelec's decision before the Supreme Court (SC).
But Jimenez said the poll body is confident that the SC will uphold its ruling.
"Comelec stands firmly on its decision, confident that it is in accordance with the essence of the jurisprudence, law and the Constitution," he said. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)