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Comelec told: Remove Bida party list from May polls

Posted on: March 1, 2010

Comelec told: Remove Bida party list from May polls
March 01, 2010 14:25:00
Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — An election monitoring group urged Monday the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the accreditation of Batang Iwas Drog, or Bida party list group in the May 10 automated polls.

Kontra Daya convener Fr. Joe Dizon said Bida should not have been accredited for the 2010 elections because the group “was government-sponsored and initiated by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) Chairman Ephraim Genuino.”

Dizon cited the 2001 Supreme Court decision in the case of Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor party versus Comelec, which states that a party list group “must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the government” and “must be independent of the government.”

The Supreme Court in the same decision argues that “the participation of government and its officials is not only illegal and unfair to other parties, but also deleterious to the objective of the law,” which is to allow marginalized and underrepresented sectors to elect their own representatives to Congress.

In an interview, Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said that all party lists accredited and deemed eligible to join the May polls are “screened” by the poll body’s two divisions.

Bida’s name is included and printed in the official ballots under party list elective office, after it was accredited in January.

Sarmiento, however, said that nominees of Bida can be reviewed or questioned by the public if they deem that they do not pass the qualifications for nominee. A petition or appeal will then be heard by Comelec to review the qualifications of the party list nominees.

All party lists have until March 26 to name all their nominees and print them in all their campaign materials, said the official.

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