MANILA, Oct. 15, 2012— A Catholic Church-backed poll watchdog has joined calls for the Commission on Elections to disqualify allies of President Benigno Aquino III from the party-list elections next year.
The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) lamented that some party list groups has nominees close to Aquino and came from well off families.
“How can they be marginalized if their leaders are already holding top positions in the government? I think it’s not right,” said PPCRV chairperson Henrietta de Villa over Church-run Radyo Veritas.
Akbayan and Black and White Movement, which seek to obtain seats in Congress through party-list system, have been subject to criticism recently.
The two groups are known to have key people now occupying strategic posts in the Aquino administration.
Poll watchdog Kontra Daya reiterated that the ongoing cleansing of the party-list system should weed out only those that do not represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors.
Fr. Joe Dizon, Kontra Daya convenor, said that the Comelec started on the right track in recognizing the merits of the complaint against Ako Bicol and other questionable party-list groups.
But Dizon expressed concern that recent statements attributed to Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes chief could sidetrack the poll body from going after groups that are not marginalized and underrepresented, which is the crux of the controversy in the party-list system.
Last week, Brillantes was quoted in the media as saying that they are also axing party-list groups, which represent several sectors instead of just one.
The priest said that basic common sense should guide the Comelec in its campaign to clean the party-list system of opportunistic interests.
“We all know that the intention of the party-list system is to provide the biggest possible space to those without wealth and influence to directly participate in crafting legislation that will benefit them,” Dizon said.
“So simple logic and an uncomplicated sense of right and wrong tell me that it is absurd that when the poor and weak from different sectors decide to run under one party-list group, bound by the common interest of advancing their welfare, the Comelec will disallow them,” he pointed out. (CBCPNews)