ANG Kasangga party-list nominee, Teodorico Haresco, insisted that he is still the rightful representative of his group despite the earlier decision of the poll body in disqualifying his bid.

Haresco said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has no legal basis to disqualify him because its en banc sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) has already issued his Certificate of Proclamation.

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The proclamation declared Haresco as “a qualified nominee of Kasangga sa Kaunlaran, Inc. to sit as representative in the House of Representatives of the Congress of the Philippines, and to serve for a term of three (3) years ending June 30, 2013 in accordance with Section 7, Article VI of the Constitution”.

Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal, a member of the first division, affirmed to Sun.Star that Haresco is still the representative of the party-list group in Congress.

"He's still the nominee unless palitan siya ng organization or he withdraws as a nominee," Larrazabal said.

Haresco has filed a manifestation pointing out that the disqualification case filed against him before the Comelec has already become moot and academic and is prepared to lift his case to the Supreme Court.

He said that after having been proclaimed, it is already the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) and not the Comelec, which has sole and exclusive jurisdiction to pass upon the elections, returns, and qualifications of its Members.

Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes, one of the petitioners, meanwhile told Sun.Star that Haresco should abide by the decision of the poll body.

“Comelec has disqualified him based on pending petition even before he was proclaimed and even before he took his oath. His whole basis for running as nominee has been nullified by the Comelec," said Reyes.

The disqualification petition filed by Reyes together with Kontra Daya members and the National Union of People’s Lawyers stressed that the group's first two nominees do not belong to the ranks of the micro-entrepreneurs.

Haresco is the CEO of the Winace Holdings. Eugene Jose Lacson, the other nominee, is a major stockholder of Fidelity Stock Transfers, Inc. and ATR Kim Eng Financial, and also a three-term mayor of San Carlos City in Negros Occidental.

The seat of Ang Kasangga was previously occupied by Ma. Lourdes Arroyo, sister of former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo.

In a related development, Haresco called on President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to harness the full potential and capabilities of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

"MSMEs are the backbone of our economy. If we are determined to get the Philippines out of poverty, as we often proclaim, we have to give priority to their growth and development by extending assistance to them and expanding their access to financial resources," he said in a statement.

Haresco added that Aquino should make sure that the Magna Carta for MSMEs or Republic Act (RA) 9501 is fully implemented.

RA 9501 mandates banks and other lending institutions to allot a minimum eight percent of their loan portfolio for micro and small businesses. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)