August 18, 2009
The labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) appealed to the Comelec to weed out fake and bogus organization from the ranks of the party-list system in the face of the registration of more than 200 new registrants. Renato Magtubo, PM national chair, said, “The Alyansa ng mga Sabungero reflects the deterioration of the party-list system and negates it as a token means for the marginalized and underrepresented sectors to enter parliament. Hundreds of fake and bogus party-list organization will crowd out legitimate and deserving groups from a fighting chance as happened in the 2004 and 2007 elections. A sabungero as party-list representative together with a berdugo and a presidential sister-in-law masquerading as tindera will complete the decay of the party-list system.”
PM is a registered group that has joined the party-list elections since 2001 to give voice and representation to the working class. The group asked the Comelec to strictly implement the letter and spirit of the party-list law as well as the eight-point guidelines stipulated by the Supreme Court in its landmark Ang Bagong Bayani vs Comelec decision. “The Comelec has all the powers to cleanse the party-list system if it so wishes. We hope under the leadership of Comelec chief Melo, it uses this authority wisely,” added Magtubo.
“The danger with groups such as the Alyansa ng mga Sabungero is not only that it elbows out truly marginalized sectors but it serves as the backdoor entry for trapos in the party-list system. It bears seeing if the nominees of Alyansa ng mga Sabungero are truly the lowly kristo or some second-rate trapo who cannot compete in the district-level congressional race such as the sister of the First Gentlemen who now sits in congress supposedly as the representative of balut and street vendors,” Magtubo elaborated.
He furthered that “The trapos have found out that it is far cheaper and much easier to win a seat in Congress through the party-list than through the district-level. The GMA regime itself has encouraged this manipulation of the party-list system to weaken the representation of militant groups that have successfully used the token reform to articulate the grievances and demands of the workers, farmers and the poor.”
In the Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Party vs. Comelec case of 2001, the Supreme Court laid down eight-point guidelines to screen the party-list groups and weed out the legitimate from the counterfeit. The sixth and seventh guidelines state: "Sixth, the party must not only comply with the requirements of the law; its nominees must likewise do so… Seventh, not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors; so also must its nominees. To repeat, under Section 2 of RA 7941, the nominees must be Filipino citizens 'who belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties.’”