Manila: A militant youth organisation is urging elections administrators to disqualify a partylist group allied with President Benigno Aquino, as it described the group as a sham.
The left-wing Anakbayan (Sons and Daughters of the Filipino People) said the partylist group “Akbayan” is a fraud because it is neither marginalised or under-represented.
It can be recalled that the partylist scheme was adopted more than 10 years ago in the country’s system of elective political representation in addition to the conventional geo-political selection of nominees by congressional districts and nationally elected representatives.
But Anakbayan national chair Vencer Crisostomo said Akbayan appears to be making a mockery of the partylist system and the overall system of governance in the country by cornering government positions to the detriment of legitimate marginalised groups.
“If the partylist system is a joke, then the biggest joke is Akbayan. They cannot possibly claim that they are marginalised and under-represented when their leaders hold various positions in government,” he said.
Crisostomo said apparently, Akbayan is President Aquino’s “favourite partylist” while reiterating that it is neither marginalised nor under-represented.
He said Akbayan officials now hold various government posts including cabinet-level positions. Akbayan members in the Cabinet now include Ronald Llamas, former Akbayan president, now presidential political affairs adviser; Etta Rosales, another former Akbayan president and representative who is now Commission on Human Rights chief; Joel Rocamora, another former Akbayan president and ideologue who now heads the National Anti-Poverty Commission, and Precival Cendena, former Akbayan chairperson who was appointed National Youth Commission commissioner.
Other Akbayan nominees holding appointive positions include Barry Gutierrez who is Undersecretary for Political Affairs.
“Allowing Akbayan to run is like allowing Malacanang [presidential palace] and the President’s clique to run for partylist,” Crisostomo said as he called on the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to disqualify Akbayan from taking part in the 2013 mid-term elections.
Crisostomo said Comelec’s stringent approval process of the partylist system should not shield Akbayan and Palace-backed partylists from disqualification.
“Is this a real effort to ‘cleanse’ the partylist system or is it only meant to give Palace-backed partylists undue advantage in the coming elections?” he asked.
Crisostomo said that while Comelec allows Palace-backed partylists to run, accreditation of some legitimate groups like Kalikasan (Nature) and Courage (government employees’ partylist) have been rejected.
The Comelec has so far disqualified 17 partylist groups from participating in the 2013 elections.
According to Crisostomo, Anakbayan and other youth groups will challenge Akbayan’s accreditation if Comelec allows them to run.
Earlier, the group Kontra Daya (counter fraud) said number of groups that had expressed intentions to take part in 2013 elections to embody “underrepresented and marginalised” sectors are using the polls to perpetuate their hold to power.
A study by Kontra Day (anti-cheating) showed that individuals identified with political clans linked to traditional patronage politics are using the partylist system as a leverage to get themselves elected to office.
Kontra Daya had asked the Comelec to investigate certain groups that proclaim to represent marginalised sectors when in truth they do not belong to these sectors.