Nearly half of party-list roster 'not marginalized, underrepresented'

ALMOST half of the party-list organizations set to participate in the May 13 elections have questionable qualifications, according to a poll watchdog group.

In a statement, Kontra Daya questioned the inclusion of at least 62 party-list groups, saying they do not represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors.

“At least 62 party-list groups approved by the Comelec (Commission on Elections) may be classified as: (1) having links to political dynasties or officials already elected in other positions; (2) representing special business interests; and (3) possessing questionable advocacies and nominees,” said Kontra Daya.

The group said party-list organizations identified with established political dynasties or officials already elected in other positions are: Abono (Estrella, Ortega); LPGMA (Albano, Ty); Tingong Sirangan (Romualdez); Aambis-Owa (Garin, Biron); Aangat Tayo (Abayon, Ong); Agbiag (Antonios of Cagayan); Probinsyano Ako (Fariñas); AA-Kasosyo (Pangandaman); Mata (Velascos of Marinduque); and SBP (Belmontes of Quezon City).

Similarly, Kontra Daya said 1AAAP has as its first nominee the daughter of former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, while Abamin's first nominee is the wife of the former nominee Maximo Rodriguez.

Among the party-lists that have special business interests, Kontra Daya said, are 1Pacman, whose first nominee is the chairman of Harbor Centre Port Terminal and is considered the richest lawmaker in the country with a net worth of P7 billion.

Also accredited as party-list groups are those of big construction firms supposedly representing marginalized construction workers, namely, Construction Workers Solidarity (CWS), which has as its nominees former Public Works undersecretary Romeo Momo Sr. and other big contractors, like the Gardiola family; and Sandigan ng Manggagawa sa Konstruksyon, whose nominees are also big contractors and real estate developers led by Enrique Olonan.

Kontra Daya also pointed that being the most striking among party-list groups with questionable advocacies is the Duterte Youth, which is headed by National Youth Commission Chair Ronald Cardema, as its pronounced goal is to support the incumbent president and to counter Left-leaning party-list groups.

“The party-list system remains controlled by the rich and powerful,” said Kontra Daya.

Worse, it added, is that party-lists that were organized by the marginalized sectors were disqualified from the party-list race.

Among them, Kontra Daya said, are Manggagawa Partylist, Aksyon Health Workers, and People Surge, which was organized by Yolanda victims.

“Reducing the number of duly-registered PLs (party-lists) by disqualifying groups that actually represent the marginalized does not solve the mockery of the party-list system,” said the group.

“This double standard further makes a mockery of the party-list system,” it added.

On Thursday, January 31, the Comelec released the list of 134 party-list organizations running in the May 13 polls.

To recall, a total of 182 party-list groups had submitted their manifestations of intent to participate and their list of nominees in October 2018. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)


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