Commission on Elections Rules in Favor of Fake Partylist Ako Bicol
The Commission on Elections (Comelec), unsurprisingly, has ruled against the BAYAN-Bicol petition to remove Ako Bicol (AKB) from the official list of approved partylist organizations.
Now, just to set a few things straight, the partylist system was a system pushed through by progressive groups and BAYAN organizations during negotiations for a new constitution after the overthrow of Marcos. The partylist (which wasn’t implemented until 1998) was a system that was supposed to represent underrepresented sectors within Philippine society. An example would be Anak Pawis Partylist which represents working class and peasants, Kabataan Partylist which represents the needs and concerns of students, and Gabriela Partylist which represents women.
Of all of these partylists just mentioned the folks who represent Anak Pawis are union workers and peasant organizers, with Kabataan it is students and student organizers, etc. However, recently certain members in the political elite (definitely not an underrepresented sector) have been setting up bogus partylists in order to gain more power in congress through the allocated seats that are given to partylists. One egregious example was Mikey Arroyo (congressman and son of the former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) claiming to “represent” the rights and needs of tricycle drivers and security guards (which Comelec also approved).
One of the reasons why BAYAN has sought the disqualification of AKB was that it is essentially a front for large business interests and land lords in the area of Bicol who then claim to represent the needs of their “fellow Bicolanos.”
The Inquirer reported:
Lopez charged that AKB was established and controlled by business tycoons led by Elizaldy Co, who have close links with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and for which it had an advantage in securing big government infrastructure projects.
In a statement posted in its website, the AKB denied the accusations. “[The] AKB has no connection with her whatsoever since she has nothing to do with Bicol anymore but will only be attending to the parochial concerns of her district,” it said.
Yep, no connection what so ever!
Except for the fact that
[t]he group’s first nominee is Christopher Co, brother of Elizaldy, while its president and second nominee is Rodel M. Batocabe. The third nominee is former Legazpi City Councilor Alfredo A. Garbin.