Comelec 'divided' on Akbayan, says Brillantes
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has already voted on whether or not to disqualify the Akbayan party-list group, Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr confirmed Wednesday, November 14. The voting was "divided" – either 4-3 or 5-2, said Brillantes, who said he cannot recall the exact breakdown.
"We have already discussed it, and we have already agreed, but we are not announcing yet the ruling because there are dissenting (opinions)," Brillantes told reporters in an interview.
But Brillantes gave clues on the contentious issues during deliberations. A major point of debate, according to him, is Akbayan's similarities with and differences from the Ako Bicol partylist, which is considered as pro-Arroyo.
The Comelec earlier disqualified Ako Bicol, the frontrunner in the 2010 elections, because it supposedly fails to represent and uplift the marginalized. But the Supreme Court on Tuesday, November 13, stopped the Comelec from disqualifying this group, among others, after an appeal from them.
The Comelec compared Akbayan and Ako Bicol, Brillantes said, based on track record. "Wala namang track record ang Ako Bicol. Akbayan, meron. Matagal na ang Akbayan," Brillantes said. (Ako Bicol has no track record. Akbayan has. Akbayan has existed for a long time.)
On constituency, he said a similarity also exists between the two – both multisectoral. He added the two groups also share the same description as a political party.
Brillantes said the Comelec also discussed whether Akbayan is still marginalized, given the group's members who now sit in the Aquino administration. "Maraming views," Brillantes said. (There are diverse views.)
Various groups earlier asked the poll body to disqualify Akbayan, saying the party is pro-Aquino and even received campaign donations from the sisters of President Benigno Aquino III. Key leaders of Akbayan occupy crucial seats in government, led by ex-Akbayan president Ronald Llamas, who is at present presidential adviser on political affairs.
10 more disqualified
Meanwhile, the Comelec announced the disqualification of 10 party-list groups from the 2013 elections. The poll body cancelled the existing accreditation of the following groups:
- Abot Tanaw
The Comelec denied the application of the following groups:
- Hukbong Querubin
- Samahang Ilocanong Magsasaka
- Angat Ahon ng Magsasaka
- Una Edukasyon
This brings to 112 the number of disqualified party-list groups. For the 2013 elections, 289 groups applied to run for party list.
The poll body, on the other hand, approved the application of the nurses' advocacy group Ang Nars to participate in the 2013 party-list race. Brillantes said the poll body allowed the group to run because it is composed of professionals, "and they are marginalized professionals."
Brillantes said the Comelec is set to decide on all disqualification cases by Monday, November 19. – Rappler.com