Commission on Election disqualifies 12 more partylist groups from 2013 polls

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced Wednesday that it has disqualified 12 existing party-list groups from running in the 2013 polls.

Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., in a press conference, said that among those disqualified were:

  1. AGRI
  9. COFA
  10. ARARO
  12. OPO

Brillantes noted that the 12 participated in the 2010 elections.

Among the 12 that were disqualified based on unanimous votes, KAKUSA or Kapatiran ng mga Nakulong ng Walang Sala, had one incumbent congressman - Representative Ranulfo Canonigo. A party-list that claims to represent political detainees, Kakusa has Romeo Jalosjos as its president and chairman emeritus.

The poll body had earlier announced that it had disqualified Ako-Bicol, APEC, 1-CARE, Aangat Tayo and 12 other party-list groups.

The Comelec has been undergoing a re-evaluation of old and new party-list groups as part of their efforts to cleanse the party-list system, which has been criticized as being dominated by bogus organizations or by groups whose nominees were either multimillionaires, former government officials or members of powerful political clans.

The announcement of the disqualifications brought to 87 the total number of party-lists up for review and still awaiting decision from the poll body. Brillantes had earlier said that they were reviewing 115 existing party-lists.

When pressed by reporters about the reasons for the disqualifications, Brillantes refused to elaborate, saying that the reasons were stated in the promulgations they had released. As of press time, however, copies of the resolutions were still unavailable.

Brillantes noted that the common denominator in disqualifying the party-list groups was their non-compliance to the eight-point guidelines enumerated in the 2003 case of Ang Bagong Bayani v. Comelec.

In the Ang Bagong Bayani case, the Supreme Court issued guidelines ensuring that only those who belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors can run for party-list seats in Congress.

Brillantes said that they would be finishing all rulings and discussions on existing party-lists by October 30. He had earlier said that they would not make any more announcements until the final decisions had been signed by the poll body's commissioners. He said that this would be applied so that the disqualified party-lists could easily get hold of the resolutions and run to the Supreme Court.

3 new applicants denied party-list accreditation

Brillantes said that three new applicants for the party-list elections had also been denied. He said that the applicants were: RAM GUARDIANS, Alyansa para sa Demokrasya, and Association of Airline and Airport Workers.

"The three were denied because they were not qualified to run for the 2013 polls," Brillantes said.

Still no decision on Akbayan yet

Brillantes also said that they had not yet decided on the party-list Akbayan or Akbayan Citizens' Action party, whose presence in the party-list system has been questioned by various groups led by Anakbayan and the National Union of Students of the Philippines, which noted that many of its members were now entrenched in the executive department.

The members include Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Ronald Llamas and his deputy, Ibarra Gutierrez III, Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Loretta Rosales and National Anti-Poverty Commission Chairman Joel Rocamora.

On Wednesday, various groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary-general Renato Reyes, filed another complaint for the cancellation and or removal of Akbayan, citing reasons such as: the said party-list was not qualified to run in the party-list elections because it was no longer a marginalized and underrepresented political party, Akbayan nominees did not belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors that Akbayan claimed to represent; and Akbayan enjoyed government support and funding which gave it undue advantage over party-list groups.

Asked about this, Brillantes said that they would look into the nature of the complaint.

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