MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday disqualified 17 party-list groups, including those representing addicts and alcoholics, from participating in next year’s elections.
The Comelec came out with the list of disqualified organizations after thorough deliberations on the applications for accreditation of party-list groups intending to run in the 2013 polls.
The poll body gave the list of the names of the organizations but did not cite the reason for their exclusion.
Those disqualified were the Asosasyon ng Mangangalakal (ASKAL), Addicts and Alcoholics Carrying the Message Association (AACMA, INC), Aksyon Mahirap (AMIN); 1-AANGAT KA PILIPINO (1-AK); Isa Akong Magsasaka Foundation (1 AM); Aniban ng Magtutubig ng Pilipinas (Ama ng Pilipinas); Sararong Bicolnon; United Philippine Transport Tricycle, Trisikidad, Habal-Habal Operators and Drivers Association (UPTHODA); Aurora Integrated Multi-Purpose Cooperative (1-AIMCOOP); and Nagkaisang Alay sa Bayan ng Maka-Diyos at Makabayang Nangangalakal (1ABAYAN).
Also delisted were Ako at ang Basura Movement (AKO BA); Alliance for Democracy and Morality-Bantay Pasahero (ADAM-BANTAY PASAHERO); National Crusaders for Peace and Democracy (NCPD); Mindanao Allied Forces (MAF); Vendors Aggrupation (@1Vendors); Bangon Mangingisda (BM); and Philippine Banana Pioneer Foundation Inc.
The Comelec said groups that have been accredited at the division level shall be automatically up for review and affirmation of the full commission.
However, the groups that were dismissed at the division level may still appeal their case.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes earlier said they will exert all efforts to come out with the list of disqualified party-list groups before the end of the month and those who would be allowed to run in 2013 by early to mid-October.
At least 289 party-list groups have filed Manifestations of Intent to Participate in the 2013 elections.
Brillantes said they are hoping to reduce the number from the 187 party-list groups that participated in the May 2010 polls.
A question of legitimacy
Meanwhile, the Federation of Philippine Industries Inc. (FPI) said that the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers Association (LPGMA) should no longer be accredited as a party-list group because a business group occupying a seat at the House of Representatives will result in unfair competition.
“We have been opposing the accreditation of LPGMA as a party-list,” FPI chairman Jesus Arranza said, adding that the group is not representing a sector and it does not stand for a marginalized group.
He said the accreditation of LPGMA results in government financing a business sector.
Arranza said that LPGMA cannot be considered marginalized given its 40-percent market share.
But LPGMA party-list Rep. Arnel Ty said his group is representing the marginalized professional, which are the small LPG dealers who compete with the major oil companies.
Ty said LPGMA aims to give Filipino consumers more affordable fuel.
LPGMA is a group of independent cooking gas refillers in Metro Manila and neighboring areas. Its members include Island Gas, Regasco Gas, Pinnacle Gas, Cat Gas, M-Gas, Omni Gas and Nation Gas. – Neil Jerome Morales
Despite coalition with LP, NPC, NP to declare 'free zones'
By Christina Mendez
(The Philippine Star)
Updated September 27, 2012 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Manuel Villar, leader of the Nacionalista Party (NP), clarified that despite the party’s coalition with the Liberal Party (LP) and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), the alliance would declare “free zones” at the local level.
Villar, NP president, attended a rally of local politicians in Island Cove in Bacoor, Cavite where the local party Magdalo and the Lakas-NUCD headed by Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. forged a partnership for the 2013 local polls.
NP supported the candidates of Magdalo in Cavite in the 2010 elections.
The Magdalo-Lakas team announced that their gubernatorial bet is incumbent Gov. Jonvic Remulla and his running mate for vice governor is Revilla’s son Jolo.
The event occurred a day after President Aquino attended the proclamation of LP bets in Cavite led by Rep. Ireneo Maliksi, candidate for governor, and vice gubernatorial bet Jay Lacson, son of Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
Villar said that Cavite is a free zone among local politicians.
The leaders of the LP-led coalition that include NP and NPC have reportedly agreed to declare as free zones certain areas where candidates of the three parties are contesting local posts.
The LP-NP-NPC is reportedly finalizing the agreement that would honor the equity of the incumbent if only one candidate from the coalition is contesting the local polls.
In his speech, Revilla underscored the Lakas party’s role in pushing economic development nationwide during the administration of President Fidel Ramos.
“Under his (Ramos) leadership the Philippines became Asia’s tiger economy. Known worldwide was his advocacy of being for God, people, country and environment. And to this day the progress attained by the Philippines under Lakas has been unequalled,” Revilla said in Filipino.
Revilla, a former governor of Cavite, said the party initiated reforms in the province.
Since Cavite is a free zone, Villar’s wife former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, who is running for senator under the LP-NP-NPC team, said LP and NP could go their own way in case of disagreement among local candidates.
Interviewed after the rally in Cavite, Mrs. Villar said the President was aware of the political situation in the province when Aquino and Villar talked about the “marriage” of LP and NP. “There’s no misrepresentation here,” Mrs. Villar explained.
Cavite is one of the vote-rich provinces in the country with 1.6 million voters.
Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., a member of NP, said that there are ongoing talks to resolve the differences among local candidates.
But the campaign cannot go smoothly in areas where LP has to field candidates against NP or other coalition partners, Marcos said.
“There is no agreement on policy. We are talking only about the elections. The coalition is to find a formula by which the two parties can operate this election,” Marcos said.
“Some marriages of convenience last very long,” he said when told the LP-NP coalition was dubbed as a coalition for convenience.
Marcos said he is excited about the coalition between the LP and NP that could lead to a possible reconciliation between the sons of two bitter enemies in the country’s history –the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and the late Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr.
Marcos said that for the first time in about 15 years, he is no longer in the opposition bloc.
With the LP-NP coalition, Marcos said the once impossible has become a reality between President Aquino and himself.
“It’s not only possible, it’s done! We are in a coalition. I am a member of NP, which is in coalition with LP, which is headed by the President,” Marcos said. “How is the relationship of any of the senators with the President? We are not buddies, we do not go out at night clubbing or anything like that because we have never been close. I don’t know why you don’t understand that,” Marcos said, noting that he has been in the same room with the President four times “in my life.”
MANILA, Philippines - Paolo Benigno Aquino, the first cousin of President Aquino who is included in the administration senatorial slate for the 2013 elections, will take his oath as a member of the ruling Liberal Party this week, sources disclosed yesterday.
The younger Aquino, more popularly known as Bam, bears a striking resemblance to the President’s father, the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
He is an official of the non-government organization Kaya Natin! movement and will represent the youth sector in the Senate.
Aquino is also a recipient of one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World for 2012.
Aside from Aquino, former senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr. would be the other LP member in the senatorial slate of the administration coalition that also includes the Nacionalista Party (NP) led by Sen. Manny Villar and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) headed by presidential uncle businessman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.
Eleven of the 12 slots have reportedly been finalized. Among the sure senatorial contenders of the administration team are: Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara (LDP), Senators Koko Pimentel (PDP-Laban), Alan Peter Cayetano (NP), Antonio Trillanes IV (NP), Francis Escudero (independent), former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar (NP), former senators Magsaysay and Jamby Madrigal, chairman Grace Poe-Llamanzares of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, Bam Aquino, and former Rep. Risa Hontiveros (Akbayan). Escudero, a perceived Aquino ally and former NPC member, broke ties with Cojuangco during the May 2010 elections. Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II had kept mum about details of the LP-led coalition ticket.
“We will announce it in due time, which is sometime this week. The President is in talks with various members of the slate and it’s near final,” Roxas, also LP president, told a news briefing in Malacañang.
Roxas refused to mention names that will be included in the 12-member ticket, particularly on queries and observations that the coalition will not have any LP member in it, except for Magsaysay, who was recruited recently by Sen. Franklin Drilon.
“If I respond it will set off another round of speculations so maybe it’s best that I don’t respond,” he told Palace reporters, in response to reports that LP originals Erin Tañada and Ruffy Biazon are out of the list.
Roxas was noncommital, however, when asked whether Trillanes would be an asset to the administration.
“We have a coalition agreement with the Nacionalista Party and he (Trillanes) is one of those that the NP has included in their list of candidates. If he was in our slate then we would certainly campaign for him,” he replied.
But when pressed further, he merely said: “I think Senator Trillanes’ record speaks for itself and the people will judge him over the last six years.”
Roxas likewise begged off from commenting on reports that former Tarlac Gov. Tingting Cojuangco, wife of Aquino’s maternal uncle Peping Cojuangco, will be running for senator under the United Nationalist Alliance of former President Joseph Estrada.
MANILA, Philippines - The National Unity Party (NUP), composed of erstwhile allies of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is set to forge a coalition agreement with the administration Liberal Party (LP) for the 2013 senatorial elections.
The NUP, which was accredited by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as a political party in December 2010, also formally elected Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. as its chairman emeritus during its first national convention yesterday. Belmonte is also vice chairman of the LP.
Deputy Speaker and Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia, NUP chairman, said the leaders of the party and LP will sign a partnership agreement on Friday, or three days before the start of the filing of certificates of candidacy.
“We have an ongoing negotiation with LP for a possible coalition... We will support senatorial candidates of the LP,” Garcia told reporters on the sidelines of the NUP’s show of force at the Sofitel hotel in Pasay City.
The NUP has 30 members in the House of Representatives, mostly former members of the political party Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI) founded by Arroyo in 1997. It also has 12 governors as members.
The LP had earlier forged an alliance with the Nacionalista Party of Sen. Manuel Villar and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) of business tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.
No LP senatorial aspirant attended the NUP convention but Sen. Gregorio Honasan and San Juan City Rep. Joseph Victor Ejercito Estrada – both members of the senatorial slate of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) – were present. Both are seeking the support of the NUP for their Senate bids.
UNA is headed by former President Joseph Estrada and Vice President Jejomar Binay.
MANILA, Philippines–National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Angelito Banayo on Tuesday confirmed he was resigning his post to run for congressman of his home district in Agusan Del Norte.
Banayo said he submitted his resignation on Aug. 13 and that it would take effect on Sept. 30.
“I’ve talked to the President and he gave me his blessing,” he told the Inquirer by phone last night.
He said he had recommended nobody to replace him and would let Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala make that decision.
Banayo will run for representative of Agusan Del Norte’s first district under the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
He expressed confidence that he would be leaving the NFA better off than when he started out in 2010.
“I’m very certain of that. We have been able to stabilize prices without importing too much,” Banayo said, adding that his main platform on a national scale would center around food security.
Locally, he said he hoped to help his district saddled “with too much politics and too little economics.”
Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) may have announced her inclusion in its senatorial lineup but Grace Poe-Llamanzares’ next move would hinge on President Aquino’s “final decision.”
Llamanzares, the incumbent chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and daughter of the late Fernando Poe Jr., thanked the UNA’s leaders—former President Joseph Estrada, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile—for their support and confidence in her.
Her father had led the opposition and ran against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004 but lost in a controversial election.
“The former President [Estrada] and my father FPJ really go a long way back. I guess [the announcement of her inclusion] wasn’t really unexpected,” she said.
“Nonetheless, their support is rather heartwarming,” she told reporters at the Senate yesterday after the MTRCB presented its budget for 2013 to the committee on finance.
“They know that our objective is the same. Whatever happens, wherever we find ourselves in, it’s only for the good of our countrymen,” she added.
But Llamanzares wouldn’t say if she had made up her mind to run for senator and which group she would run with—President Aquino’s Liberal Party-led coalition or UNA, or both.
“It depends, I’m also waiting for the formal announcement of the President’s coalition,” she said.
“Right now, I’m working for the MTRCB,” she added.
She said it had been some time since she had talked with the President.
“He asked me if I would consider it but he was also rather realistic when he said that it wouldn’t be easy. That’s why I appreciate the President’s honesty about the realities of the election campaign,” Llamanzares said.
No less than Mr. Aquino had announced that the LP would be coalescing with the Nacionalista Party and the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
SAN JOSE, Dinagat Islands—Dinagat’s legal status may have been finally settled, but the young province is bracing for a clash brewing among members of the only family that it has known as leaders—the Ecleos.
Vice Gov. Geraldine “Jade” Ecleo, sworn in as Liberal Party (LP) member on Sept. 12, has declared that she will contest the reelection to a third term of her mother, Gov. Glenda B. Ecleo, a member of the Nacionalista Party (NP).
“I’m all set to run against my mom in next year’s elections,” the young Ecleo told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview last week. “And I’m running with the best of intentions—to liberate our people from poverty and provide alternative leadership which the Dinagatnons have been deprived of these past few years.”
Jade, 42, served as political officer of her mother, who was then representative of the first district of Surigao del Norte, before she became Dinagat’s first elected governor in 2007 after Dinagat became a province. In 2010, she was elected vice governor, upon the advise of her mother, who ran for governor.
Jade’s rebuke of her mother’s leadership in the province capped the young politician’s tumultuous—often public—feud with her 72-year-old mother and siblings, who also hold various elective positions in the island.
Glenda, in her speeches, has described her daughter as insolent and hardheaded. Jade has railed about her family’s “excesses,” somewhat a taboo for an Ecleo, a surname that has long commanded respect, if not religious reverence, among members of the Philippine Benevolent Missionary Association (PBMA), which was founded by the patriarch Ruben Ecleo Sr.
Twenty-five years after his death, Ruben Sr. remains revered by PBMA members, whose votes are crucial for the family’s political hegemony. Here, it is not uncommon to hear locals imploring the blessing or help of the “Divine Master,” Ruben Sr., as any Catholic would pray to Jesus or saints.
But Jade has bewailed how this reverence has been handled irresponsibly by her siblings.
“When you’re an Ecleo, you’re automatically identified as a leader, whether you are capable or not,” she said. “I want to change that notion. I want the people to choose their leaders based on their capabilities, not on their surnames.”
This is why she enlisted Akbayan Rep. Kaka Bag-o, a native of Loreto town and whose party is in coalition with LP, to run for Dinagat’s lone congressional seat, she said. The post was held by her elder brother, Ruben Ecleo Jr., until he was expelled by the House of Representatives following his conviction for corruption and parricide early this year.
Ruben Jr.’s imprisonment and convictions have also become a source of disagreement between Jade and her family. While her mother and siblings have kept their silence on Ruben Jr.’s status as a fugitive, Jade has publicly called on her brother to surrender.
“If you have a brother who is a fugitive, and sickly at that, will you tell him to go on hiding?” she said. “But I’m being misunderstood here. I want him inside a prison cell so that he can be taken care of, so that he may have a chance to live again as a free man.”
At a fiesta speech in the island village of Boa, Jade did not mince words as she warned her family against using Ruben Jr.’s influence in the PBMA as its “supreme master.”
“I can see that they will use my brother’s name for political gain. But the association (PBMA) has nothing to do with elections,” she told members of the local PBMA chapter. “Elections have everything to do with your welfare.”
The Supreme Court has ruled with finality that the law creating Dinagat Islands province out of Surigao del Norte in 2006 is constitutional.
Comelec told bending rules for Camarines Sur split is risky
By Cathy C. Yamsuan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
10:01 pm | Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
The Senate local government committee has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to state clearly how long it will wait for Congress to approve local bills seeking to divide provinces or creating new districts in some of them.
Senate local government chair Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes has to “clarify” what he meant by the commission willing to wait “until October and then until December” for the local bills pending in his chamber to be passed.
Marcos is seeking the clarification after proponents of the bill dividing Camarines Sur into two provinces announced that the Comelec has expressed willingness to wait until December for the Senate to concur with House Bill No. 4820 creating Nueva Camarines province that would be taken from Camarines Sur.
The senator warned that if the Comelec would make a categorical statement on Camarines Sur, lobbyists for other provinces could come forward and ask for the same.
Camarines Sur Gov. Luis Raymund Villafuerte raised the same warning, adding that third-term congressmen who are seeking new positions to run for in 2013 are behind reports quoting Brillantes.
“I have to clarify with (Brillantes) what he means when he says he could extend the wait for the Senate approval of the local bill (initially) until the end of October, now it became December,” Marcos told reporters in an impromptu news conference.
The senator said Brillantes was also quoted as saying the Comelec would “need a law… specific to Camarines Sur.”
“I don’t know how that’s supposed to be handled… The pronouncements made by Chair Brillantes are not clear,” he said.
House Bill No. 4820 takes away the fourth district of Camarines Sur and names it Nueva Camarines.
‘Many reps multimillionaires; 289 groups seek nod’
By Jocelyn R. Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:03 am | Friday, September 28th, 2012
The list of groups seeking congressional seats gets stranger and more absurd every election season, making the party-list system a joke, according to Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr.
A quick look at the Comelec’s list of the groups shows that health promoters, aviation advocates, athletes and hobbyists, entrepreneurs, former drug users, ex-military renegades, school dropouts and even foreign-exchange dealers want to run for seats in the House of Representatives that the Constitution reserves for marginalized and underrepresented sectors.
In a review of party-list groups, the election watchdog Kontra Daya cited, among many other groups, Ang Mata’y Alagaan (AMA), a group that claims to represent blind indigents and people afflicted with all kinds of eye diseases and disorders but whose nominees belong to the well-connected Velasco family.
AMA chose Lorna Velasco, a nurse and the wife of Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, as its first nominee. Velasco’s daughter, Tricia Nicole, a lawyer, was chosen as AMA’s second nominee.
“The Velascos are very powerful politically and economically, considering that they have as head of the family a sitting member of the highest court of this country,” Kontra Daya said.
“Clearly, the AMA has no bona fide intention to represent the sector it claims to represent, but rather to represent the interest of the already powerful, well-connected Velascos,” Kontra Daya added.
New groups have also sprouted claiming to represent the urban poor, whose current nominees in the House come from the upper crust of society.
Some organizations also claim to represent the sick and the handicapped, but their representatives are neither ill nor handicapped and some of them come from well-known wealthy political families.
Nominee from Corinthian
Kontra Daya also cited 1-AsalPartylist, a group that claims to represent the urban poor but not one of its first three nominees is a squatter in any slum in Metro Manila.
Its first nominee, Ryan Tanjucto, lives in posh Corinthian Gardens in Quezon City, according to Kontra Daya. His wife, Maria Lourdes, is the third nominee while the second nominee is Manila City Councilor Raymundo Yupangco.
Kontra Daya, led by Fr. Joe Dizon, also referred to the Association of Local Athletics Entrepreneurs and Hobbyists Inc. (Ala-Eh), whose first nominee, Elmer Anuran, is a known boxing promoter who runs a boxing gym and oversees Saved by the Bell Promotions.
Another group, FXD/MC (www.forexdealers.com corp.) also appears to be out of place in the party-list system, as money changers are not a marginalized sector, Kontra Daya said.
Finding the growing list of party-list groups becoming ridiculous, the Quezon City-based Kontra Daya made a database of old and new groups that didn’t seem to meet the legal requirements and submitted it to the Comelec.
Comelec review 1st time
The Comelec in turn used the database as one of its guides in reviewing the eligibility of these groups to run in next year’s party-list elections.
And for the first time since the introduction of the party-list system in 1995, the Comelec is reassessing party-list groups and screening their representatives in Congress according to the standards laid down by the Constitution and the party-list law.
“The party-list system has become a joke,” Brillantes said in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Brillantes said he was aware that many party-list representatives in the House are multimillionaires and many of the groups seeking accreditation for next year’s elections have handpicked nominees who are either former government officials or members of powerful political clans.
“That’s why we are doing this [review] to be able to cleanse the list,” Brillantes said.
Clad in their black robes, Brillantes and the five election commissioners took turns grilling witnesses during public hearings called recently to begin the review of 120 party-list groups applying for renewal of their accreditation.
Authorized by Comelec Resolution No. 9513 ordering a review of party-list organizations, the hearings were held from Aug. 16 to Sept. 6.
Probing for fakes
First to be called to the stand was Abot Tanaw whose representative got asked such questions as:
“Mr. Witness, since when did you become a member of the party-list group?”
“Before you became a member, did you check the background of the party-list group?”
“[How much were your] assets and liabilities and net worth when you retired?”
“Do you belong to the group [that] you represent?”
“Did you know how many votes the group received in the previous elections?”
“How come you did not bother to check before joining the party?”