5/26/2010 | 06:58 PM
Disqualification case filed against leading party list group
KIMBERLY JANE T. TAN, GMANews.TV
A disqualification case has been filed with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) against leading party-list group Ako Bicol Political Party for allegedly failing to represent a marginalized sector.
The group’s disqualification was sought because Ako Bicol is supposedly a "front of wealthy tycoons preying on the regionalistic sentiments" of poor and marginalized Bicolanos, petitioners said in an 18-page motion filed on Wednesday.
Petitioners include Marites Corteza-Lopez, Mae Ann Michelle Villagomez, Michael Malano, Ferdinand Gaite, and Alexander Remollino.
Corteza-Lopez, Villagomez, Malano, Gaite, and Remollino claim to be "advocates" of clean elections. Corteza-Lopez and Villagomez also claim to be Bicolanos.
Gaite is also the president of the Confederation for the Unity, Recognition, and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage), which is a member organization of poll watchdog Kontra Daya.
"If the marginalized and the underrepresented poor will be represented in Congress by the overrepresented rich, would it not add more to their underrepresentation rather than alleviate it?" they said in their petition.
Ako Bicol was created by the "extremely wealthy" family of Elizaldy and Christopher Co, owners of Sunwest Group of Companies, Tektone Corporation, Lo-Tone Corporation, and Hi-Tone Corporation, the petitioners said.
Elizaldy is the chairman of the Ako Bicol Political Party while Christopher is its first nominee.
They added that Rodel Batocabe, the group's second nominee, is the corporate officer of the Embarcadero, a lifestyle hub, commercial, and entertainment center in Legazpi City, Albay.
Its fourth nominee, Ronaldo Ang, is also reportedly the vice president for legal of Sunwest Group of Companies.
"It must be protested to high heavens the fact that Ako Bicol... is feigning to be representing the marginalized and underrepresented sectors. Allowing (the party) to exist as a party under the party-list sytem representation indeed allows the party-list system to be sullied, desecrated, debased, and prostituted by those who are neither marginalized nor underrepresented," said the petitioners.
GMANews.TV tried contacting representatives from Ako Bicol but was unsuccessful.
According to the last tally of party-list votes released by the Comelec, the leading party-list organizations are Ako Bicol with 1,522,986 votes; the Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippies with 1,292,182 votes; and the Buhay Hayaan Yumabong Party-list with 1,249,555 votes.
Under the party list law, those who received at least two percent of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one congressional seat each while those who received more than two percent of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes.
However, each party-list organization shall not be awarded more than three seats in Congress.
The 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that 20 percent of the seats in Congress be allotted for the sectoral representatives. - RJAB Jr., GMANews.TV