Party-list war: Solon questions Brillantes 'mental fitness'

MANILA, Philippines - The word war over party-list accreditation has reached insane proportions.

Disqualified party-list group Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (Anad) is seeking a House inquiry into the mental fitness of chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. to head the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
In House Resolution 2883, incumbent Anad Rep Jun Alcover urged the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms to “make sure” that Brillantes “is physically and psychologically fit to respond to the rigors and demands of his job."

Alcover is furious over Brillantes' order reviewing all the accreditation of all party-list organizations, including those already holding seats in Congress. 

Comelec has disqualified at least 100 new and elected party-list groups, including Anad.

Asked to react to Alcover's move, Brillantes shot back: "I can  undergo these tests provided Pastor [Alcover] joins me. This way, people will know who is...I respect the views of the congressman, but we have reviewed his track record. It's not so good. He might need...we should [go through these] tests together."

Alcover is a staunch anti-communist and was in the past accused of tolerating vigilante killings against rebels. He was a known ally of the military in its counter-insurgency campaign.

Alcover said that Brillantes has put Comelec in a “very untenable situation” following the disqualification of several party-list groups, whose accreditation had been previously settled by the Supreme Court.

The Comelec earlier disqualified Ako Bicol, the frontrunner in the 2010 elections, because it supposedly failed 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.

“Is the Comelec supreme and more powerful than the Supreme Court on matters of determining the accreditation of partylist groups and in the interpretation of our laws?” he said.
The Anad congressman also criticized Brillantes’ statements to the media about the Philippine party-list system being a “joke."

The Comelec's current purge of the party-list system is unsettling incumbent party-list groups. On Tuesday, November 13, at least 17 party-list groups shut down their offices to protest moves by allies of Bayan Muna to disqualify certain party-list groups.

Various groups identified with politicians, political clans and the Arroyo and Aquino governments have made it to the party-list sector. The party-list system, however, is meant to ensure the represenatation of various sectors in Congress. -