MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is bent on reaccrediting the party-list group of Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr’s family, Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr said Wednesday, November 28.
“Palagay ko granted,” Brillantes told reporters when asked about the accreditation of the Velascos’ party-list group, Ang Mata’y Aalagaan. (I think it was granted.)
Brillantes explained that some members of the Velasco family have withdrawn from the party-list race, and have been substituted by other candidates. But the Comelec chair could not recall the members of the Velasco family who withdrew.
The Comelec has yet to issue a formal resolution on this.
When it applied for reaccreditation in April, the party-list group had 3 members of the Velasco family among its 5 nominees. The Velascos in the group include the following:
- Lorna Q. Velasco, the SC justice’s wife
- Tricia Nicole Q. Velasco-Catera, the SC justice’s daughter
- Vincent Michael Q. Velasco, the SC justice’s son
In its review of party-list groups last August, the election watchdog Kontra Daya said Ang Mata’y Aalagaan is far from marginalized.
“On the contrary, the Velascos are very powerfully and economically, considering that they have as head of the family a sitting member of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, the highest court of this country. They are also represented in the House of Representatives through Rep Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco, the congressman for the lone district of Marindique.”
Kontra Daya also said none of Ang Mata’y Aalagaan’s nominees, including the party itself, has any track record in upholding the marginalized.
Velasco came under fire after his alleged involvement in the campaign of his son, Lord Allan, for Marinduque congressman in 2010. He allegedly invited residents to join his son’s ticket, residents told Newsbreak in interviews.
Titled “SC Justice in Partisan Politics?” the story on this led to a first in Philippine history — a sitting SC justice slapping a libel suit against a journalist. In 2010, Velasco filed a libel case against Marites Dañguilan-Vitug, Newsbreak’s founding editor and now Rappler’s editor-at-large. He withdrew the suit this year.
Over 40 disqualified
Meanwhile, the Comelec on Wednesday released its longest list of disqualified party-list groups so far.
Leading this batch is party-list group Butil, which has one member at the House of Representatives. Another group with existing accreditation, but does not hold a seat in Congress, is party-list group Binhi.
The other disqualified groups include the following:
- 1 Abante na Pinoy
- 1 Ang Batas
- 1-A Health
- 1-Aid Dalaw Inc
- 1-Akong Minimumwager
- 1-Koop Mindanao
- Ako Bisaya
- Arba Inc
- Bantay OCW
- PM Coalition
This brings to 169 the number of disqualified party-list groups so far.
On Tuesday, November 27, Brillantes said the Comelec is likely to accredit a maximum of 100 groups for the 2013 elections. This is over a third of the 289 groups that initially applied for party-list accreditation. – Rappler.com