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144 party-list groups allowed to join polls

by Joel Zurbano
Manila Standard Today
January 16, 2010

The Commission on Elections has approved the application of 144 party list groups to join the May elections and vie for 55 seats allotted to them in the House of Representatives.

The Comelec en banc led by its chairman Jose Melo accredited Ang Ladlad and 143 other groups or less than half of the 306 groups that wanted to join the polls.

To qualify for a congressional seat, a group has to obtain at least two percent of the votes cast in the party-list system.

“Included in the list was Ang Ladlad as per the Supreme Court ruling that ordered Comelec to include it in the ballot with pre-printed names of candidates,” said Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal.

The Supreme Court ordered the Comelec Tuesday to include in the ballot Ang Ladlad, a pro-gay organization that had been disqualified last year by the second division of the poll body.

In its Nov. 11 resolution, the Comelec Second Division headed by Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer disqualified Ang Ladlad saying the group promotes homosexuality, which is immoral.

“Should this Commission grant the petition, we will be exposing our youth to an environment that does not conform to the teachings of our faith,” said the resolution rejecting Ang Ladlad. In the 2007 elections, Ang Ladlad was disqualified because of its lack of nationwide presence, which is a prerequisite for a party-list accreditation.

The latest Comelec decision drew the ire of several organizations, including the militant Akbayan, which warned poll officials their acts may result to their impeachment.

The approved groups were 1-Aani, 1-AK, 1-Care, 1-Abaa, 1Ganap/Guardians, 1st Kabagis, A Blessed, AT, Abakada, Abang Lingkod, Aba Ilonggo, Abante Ka, Abamin, ATM, Abono, Abroad, ADD-Tribal, ADD, ACT Teachers, Alim, AKO, Adam, Alon, Ating Koop, A Teacher, Asahan Mo, A-Ipra, Agbiag, Agila, Agri, ADA, Agap, Ahon, Akap Bata, Apoi, Akbayan, Ako, AKB, Akma-PTM, Amana, Anakalusugan, Alagad, Alay Buhay, Abay Parak, Aama, ABC, Anad, AFPSEGCO, ARC, 1-Tubig, ABP-Bicolnon, Anupa, APO, Arcapp, AVE, ATS, Alma, Almana, AMS, Agham, ABA, An Waray, Anak Mindanao, Anakpawis, Aani, Aambis-Owa, AG, ALIF, Ang Ladlad, AMA, A Tambay, Anak, ABS, Atong Paglaum, Amang, Aral, ALE, AAPS, Apec, Babae Ka, Bago, Bandila, BH, Banat, Bida, Bayan Muna, Bayani, Bigkis, Binhi, Biyaheng Pinoy, Biyayang Bukid, Buhay, Butil, Chinoy, Cibac, CPM, Senior Citizens, Cocofed, Cofa, Consla, Coop-Natcco, Dwa, Fil-Mus, Firm 24-K, 1st Prisa, Gabriela, Green Force, Ivap, KLBP, Kabayan, Kabataan, Buklod Filipina, Kalahi, Kalinga, Kakusa, Ang Kasangga, AA-Kasosyo Party, Kaakbay, Katribu, Kaagapay, Kasapi, 1-Ahapo, Oragon, OPO, PEP, Katutubo, PM, Pacyaw, PCL, PBA, Smart, SB, Bantay, TUCP, 1 Ang Pamilya, UNI-MAD, 1-Utak, Vendors Party List, VFP, WPI, Yes We Can, Yacap and Lypad.

The commission also deleted 26 party-list groups including a militant workers’ organization for failing to participate in the last two elections and for failing to obtain at least two percent of the votes.

The delisted groups included Ahonbayan, Aksa, Bahandi, A Smile, Akapin, SM, Sanlakas, SPI, Suara, Abanse! Pinay, Migrante, Anak Mahirap and AK.

Migrante, a labor group allied with Migrante International, has a pending motion before the High Court seeking a reversal of its delisting.

Comelec officials vowed to be stricter in screening all party-list groups.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said that most of the party-list groups seeking accreditation did not have a track record, a requisite for accreditation. He also noted a redundancy in the advocacy of some of the groups.

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