Comelec opens party list to 13 families

MANILA, Philippines – Thirteen organizations whose nominees come from the same families have been accredited for next year’s party-list polls, according to the complete list released by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday, November 29.

They include Ang Mata'y Alagaan (AMA), whose first 3 nominees upon application are members of Supreme Court Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr’s family. Also on the list is Ako Ang Batang Sora Movement, Inc. (ABSI), which counts 3 relatives of Quezon City congresswoman Mary Ann Susano among the 5 nominees each group is allowed to have.

For the 2013, the party list has become a sort of family affair for 36 of the 289 groups that applied for inclusion (165 new applicants, 124 accredited in 2010). Each of these 38 have 2-3 nominees who are related to each other.

Organizations applying for accreditation for the party list have to nominate 5 persons each to represent them. For every corresponding percentage of votes that the group garners, it can send to the House of Representatives the nominees who are first on the list.

AMA’s Nominees 1-3 were Justice Velasco’s wife Lorna and children Tricia Nicole and Vincent Michael. The poll body said earlier the group had replaced the Velascos as nominees, although it wasn’t clear when the substitution was made and who replaced them.

ABSI has Congresswoman Susano’s nieces Vanessa Rose and Maricel Francisco as first and fourth nominees, and her nephew Michael Ryan Francisco as fifth nominee. 

Eleven other groups, each with two related nominees, have been accredited by the Comelec for the 2013 party list. They are:

Twenty-three other groups with 2-3 related nominees were already disqualified by Comelec.

They include the Alliance of Organizations, Networks, and Associations of the Philippines (ALONA), whose nominees are House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez’s children Danilo Jr. and Joanna, and in-law Alexis.

Also disqualified was the National Crusaders for Peace and Democracy Inc. (NCPD), whose nominees include retired police general Romeo Maganto and his children Faith and Rommel.

Comelec Resolution 9366, or the rules and regulations governing the 2013 partylist elections, does not specifically state that having relatives as nominees of a single party is a basis for disqualification.

Having a single family as source for a number of nominees, however, tends to go against the main criteria that a group has to represent and to have nominees belonging to marginalized sectors.

The Comelec on Thursday released a list of 79 accredited groups for the 2013 party-list race. –