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38 party-list groups funded by Malacañang, says Kabataan party-list

Posted on: March 26, 2010

38 party-list groups funded by Malacañang, says Kabataan party-list

By Anna Valmero
First Posted 21:20:00 03/24/2010

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Politics, Inquirer Politics

MANILA, Philippines—The Kabataan party-list group on Wednesday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to review the accreditation of 38 party-list groups allegedly funded by Malacañang.

“The people behind this 38 party lists are allies of President Gloria Macapal-Arroyo, who is the first sitting president to seek re-election as second district representative of Pampanga,” said Kabataan party-list second nominee Mark Louie Aquino.

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

The OEA memo, exposed in 2007, supposedly contained a request of P5.5 million budget to bankroll the campaigns of the Palace-backed party-list groups, purportedly formed to create a block in Congress that would support the administration.

Aquino said the 38 party-list groups getting support from Malacañang are: 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.

He underscored the need to revise the party-list law. “There is a pertinent need to reform the party-list law so that bogus party-lists would be prevented from bastardizing the party-list system. We are studying filing of disqualification cases against these party-list groups,” said Aquino.

Aquino noted that the Supreme Court disqualified Mamamayang Ayaw sa Droga (MAD) because “party-lists must not be associated with or funded by the government.”

In another interview, Comelec chairman Jose Melo assured that the accreditation process followed due, transparent process and allowed interested parties to submit a verified petition for disqualification for a group within five days after August 17, 2009, the deadline for filing accreditation of party-list groups.

“The party-lists were accredited based on the merits of their petition. There were public hearings in which interested parties who filed a disqualification case could attend to issue their arguments. They could also file verified petitions on grounds that the party-lists are government-assisted, a religious group among others,” said Melo.

Melo said that the Comelec will issue a resolution on the criteria for accepting nominees of party-list groups.

“Since the identification of the party-list group nominees is new, we are formulating a resolution that will list down the requirements and qualifications of these nominees. I would propose also that we hold a public hearing or that the public file written comments on the resolution for feedback and to further improve the screening process of the nominees,” said Melo.

“The resolution will outline who can be qualified as a legitimate party list nominee, in terms of citizenship and if he really is a representative or member of the marginalized sector he advocates for, among others,” said the poll chief.

Party list groups have until March 26 to file their list of nominees before the Comelec legal department.
Of the 187 party list groups listed on the official ballot, around 50 have submitted their list of nominees, records from the Comelec legal department showed.


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