5 October 2012
Calling it a ‘gross ignorance of the law’ and a ‘blatant double-standard,’ youth group Anakbayan slammed Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Sixto Brillantes’ statement today regarding the petitions for disqualification of pro-Aquino partylist group Akbayan.
Last Tuesday, youth groups Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, National Union of Students in the Philippines, Student Christian Movement in the Philippines and Kabataang Artista para sa Tunay na Kalayaan, along with labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno, filed a letter to the Comelec seeking the disqualification of Akbayan on the grounds that the party and its nominees are ‘adjuncts of the government.’
Today, however, Brillantes claimed that there was nothing wrong with ‘government officials participating in the party-list race.’
“Commissioner Brillantes should brush up on his law. The rules on the party-list system have been clarified by the 2001 Supreme Court decision of Ang Bagong Bayani. Not only does it reiterate the need for party-list representatives to belong to ‘marginalized’ sectors, it also explicitly forbids the likes of Akbayan from participating,” said Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan National Chairperson.
In the said decision, the Supreme Court laid out an eight-point guideline on the qualifications for those parties and candidates participating in the partylist race, including:
– Partylist nominees must belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors
– Partylist groups must not be “an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the government”
“We repeat: how can high officials of the Aquino government be ‘marginalized’ or ‘underrepresented?’ More importantly, even if we grant for the sake of argument that they are, the Supreme Court ruling still forbids them from participating as ‘adjuncts’ of the government,” said Crisostomo.
Akbayan’s 2nd nominee, Ibarra Gutierrez II, is a presidential undersecretary for political affairs. Their third nominee, Angelina Ludovice-Katoh, is a commissioner of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor.
Other Akbayan national officials and former reps also occupy high posts in the Aquino administration. These include:
– Former Akbayan president Ronald Llamas, now presidential advisor for political affairs
– Former Akbayan president Joel Rocamora, now head of the National Anti- Poverty Commission
– Former Akbayan presidentand party-list representative Etta Rosales, now head of the Commission on Human Rights
– Former Akbayan chairperson Percival Cendena, now commissioner of the National Youth Commission
The youth leader decried Comelec’s statement as indicative of ‘a double standard’ in the light of the Comelec’s refusal to recognize a partylist group of rank-and-file government employees.
Previously, the Courage GE Partylist was denied recognition on the grounds that government employees were ‘already over-represented.’
“What is bizarre in the Comelec’s reasoning is that they define government officials, with high salaries and in a position of power, as ‘under-represented’ and ‘marginalized,’ yet they do not think that regular government employees belong in the same category,” said Crisostomo.
Vencer Crisostomo, 09328618369
#89 K7 Street corner Kalayaan Avenue, Quezon City
Anakbayan is the comprehensive mass organization of the Filipino youth, advocating genuine national independence and democracy as a solution to the nation’s problems. It is open to anyone from 13 to 35 years old, and currently has a 20,000-strong membership across the Philippines and in several cities in the U.S and Canada. It is not a partylist group and is in no way affiliated with the pro-Aquino group Akbayan.