Tag Archives: Comelec

International observers told: Watch AFP on partisan politics

By Pepsi La Loma and Billy Javier Reyes

MANILA, Philippines- The leaders of the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged on Sunday asked members of the international community observing the conduct of the May 2010 elections to monitor the possible involvement of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) identified with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in partisan politics.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Pamalakaya-Vice chairperson Salvador France noted the Western election observers have focused their attention on the preparations of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and have missed one vital electoral issue, which is the partisan politics and electioneering conducted by pro-Arroyo officials in the AFP against candidates critical of the Arroyo administration that includes two progressive senatorial candidates and left-leaning party lists.

The Pamalakaya officials appealed to the US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) to also monitor and entertain reports and cases against AFP officials and rank-and-file personnel accused of engaging in partisan politics and electioneering.

Hicap and France asked Jamie Metzl of NDI, Thomas Barry, deputy regional director of NDI for Asia, Sam Gejdenson, former member of US Congress, Nora Owen, former justice minister of Ireland and Sue Wood, former president of the New Zealand National Party to put premium on documented reports that the military are campaigning for pro-administration bets and on the other hand are campaigning against certain candidates and party lists highly critical of the Arroyo administration.

“The pro-GMA clique in the AFP is in command of all these dirty electoral campaign against progressive candidates and party lists. It is blatantly and brazenly violating provisions of the 1987 Constitution that illegalize any kind or form of military partisan politics and electioneering. We appeal to the members of the international community to give proper attention to this militarist agenda of the pro-Arroyo faction in the AFP,” the Pamalakaya leaders said.

Pamalakaya also asked members of the Western electoral watchdog to remain until June 30 to complete their observation and make an objective preliminary assessment of the May 2010 elections. The militant group said the March 12 to March 17 schedule of NDI electoral observers was short and will not give them even a comprehensive overview on how the Arroyo government and Comelec commence the 2010 elections under its stewardship.

The militant group had pressed Comelec chairman Jose Melo to invoke the constitutional provision banning all military officials and government troops from exercising partisan politics in lieu of reports that that some members of the AFP are engaged in campaigning against Makabayan senatorial candidates—Bayan Muna party list Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza and activist party lists Bayan Muna, Gabriela and Anakpawis.

‘The commissioners of Comelec headed by Chairman Melo should impose an iron hand policy against officials and members of the AFP engaged in partisan politics. The military is violating the 1987 Constitution pertaining to partisan politics and this political-military adventure sanctioned by the ruling party in Malacanang must be put to an end,” the group said.

Leaders and members of Pamalakaya in Sorsogon said the military in the province are conducting house-to-house campaign in the province calling on all voters not to vote for militant party lists like Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Kabataan Party and Act Teachers party list. The party lists formed Makabayan coalition party that includes Katribu party list, a new party list representing indigenous people and national minority groups in the country.

On Feb.23, Army Major Arnal Manjares hurt one of the campaigners of Makabayan during a house-to-house sortie, while conducting house-to-house campaign for progressive party lists and senatorial candidates Ocampo and Maza.

Based on the report reaching the headquarters of Bayan Muna in Quezon City, Manjares slapped the face of the volunteer and threatened the victim and his companions that they would be killed and harmed if they come back again and campaign for leftwing party lists and candidates in the area.

Pamalakaya said in the last May 2007 elections, cases of partisan politics specifically against Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela party lists were also documented Castilla Sorsogon, San Luis, Isabela, Nasugbu, Tanauan and Taysan in Batangas, Dasmarinas, Cavite, Cordon, and Cauayan, and San Luis Roxas, Isabela, Tuburan, Iloilo, Tubod, Lanao Del Norte, Palimbang Sultan Kudarat, Baggao, Cagayan, Burgos, Ilocos Norte, Kolambugan and Tubod Lanao del Norte, Roxas, Mindoro Oriental, Masbate, Guimba, Nueva Ecija, New Bataan, Compostela Valley.

There were also documented cases of military partisan politics against progressive party lists in Gumaca, Lucena, Sariaya, Candelaria, Lucena, Pagbilao, Gen. Luna and Macalelon, all in Quezon province, Alangalang and Tacloban in Leyte, North Cotabato, Marikina City, Makati City, any parts of Camarines Norte, Sa. Rosa, Laguna, Lavenzares, North Samar, Abuyog, Cagayan Valley, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Marawi City, many polling places in Lanao del Sur and many canvassing areas in Isabela.

Pamalakaya said the forms of military and police involvement include abductions and salvaging of progressive party list leaders and poll watchers, Illegal presence inside canvass areas or roaming around polling places and canvass areas, harassment of voters and forcing them not to vote militant party lists and instead vote for Palace backed party lists like Bantay of Rep. Jovito Palparan, transporting of ballot boxes in canvass areas, banning militant party list poll watchers inside the canvass areas and selecting only those they want to allow to enter, acting as bodyguards of candidates, presence of APC and 6×6 trucks near polling places and canvass areas, police counting the votes in precinct, the shooting and wounding of a Bayan Muna leader, the burning of school rooms, the Illegal arrest of poll watchers and the threatening Comelec official.

Pamalakaya also reiterated its call for Comelec to recall its previous decision allowing CAGGUs and other paramilitary units to carry fire arms during the election season. The militant group asserted that the long experience and track record of CAFGUs in partisan politics, acting as paid goons and private armies of powerful politicians, the poll body should have recalled its resolution and pursued the across-the-nation disbandment of special civilian armed forces.
Under Comelec resolution 8742 made effective last January 11, amending Resolution 8714, the CAFGU was exempted from gun ban along with members of the Presidential Security Group, Bureau of Fire Protection, Optical Media Board, the treasurers and deputy treasurers and members of the Internal Security Division of the Bureau of Treasury.
Prior to Comelec promulgation of Resolution 8714, Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao opposed the disarming of CAAs because these paramilitary groups are tapped by fishing companies to secure their venture in the South. For his part, Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, chief of Western Command said as far as the military is concerned, the CAFGUs are part of the military organization and not all CAFGUs are utilized by private companies operating in far flung areas. #

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Comelec told: Castigate AFP on partisan politics

By Mama Mila Liguasan and Akihira Tatchu

Manila, Philippines –

Pamalakaya took a brief respite after having their Feb.14 sortie in Baywalk, Manila Bay

The leaders of the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged on Sunday the officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to castigate officials and rank-and-file members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) involved in partisan politics.

In a joint press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Vice chairperson Salvador France pressed Comelec chairman Jose Melo to invoke the constitutional provision banning all military officials and government troops from exercising partisan politics in lieu of reports that that some members of the AFP are engaged in campaigning against Makabayan senatorial candidates—Bayan Muna party list Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza and activist party lists Bayan Muna, Gabriela and Anakpawis.

‘The commissioners of Comelec headed by Chairman Melo should impose an iron hand policy against officials and members of the AFP engaged in partisan politics. The military is violating the 1987 Constitution pertaining to partisan politics and this political-military adventure sanctioned by the ruling party in Malacanang must be put to an end,” the Pamalakaya leaders said.

Hicap and France who both came from Sorsogon learned that the military in the province are conducting house-to-house campaign in the province calling on all voters not to vote for militant party lists like Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Kabataan Party and Act Teachers party list. The party lists formed Makabayan coalition party that includes Katribu party list, a new party list representing indigenous people and national minority groups in the country.

On Feb.23, Army Major Arnal Manjares hurt one of the campaigners of Makabayan during a house-to-house sortie, while conducting house-to-house campaign for progressive party lists and senatorial candidates Ocampo and Maza.

Based on the report reaching the headquarters of Bayan Muna in Quezon City, Manjares slapped the face of the volunteer and threatened the victim and his companions that they would be killed and harmed if they come back again and campaign for leftwing party lists and candidates in the area.

Pamalakaya said in the last May 2007 elections, cases of partisan politics specifically against Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela party lists were also documented Castilla Sorsogon, San Luis, Isabela, Nasugbu, Tanauan and Taysan in Batangas, Dasmarinas, Cavite, Cordon, and Cauayan, and San Luis Roxas, Isabela, Tuburan, Iloilo, Tubod, Lanao Del Norte, Palimbang Sultan Kudarat, Baggao, Cagayan, Burgos, Ilocos Norte, Kolambugan and Tubod Lanao del Norte, Roxas, Mindoro Oriental, Masbate, Guimba, Nueva Ecija, New Bataan, Compostela Valley.

There were also documented cases of military partisan politics against progressive party lists in Gumaca, Lucena, Sariaya, Candelaria, Lucena, Pagbilao, Gen. Luna and Macalelon, all in Quezon province, Alangalang and Tacloban in Leyte, North Cotabato, Marikina City, Makati City, any parts of Camarines Norte, Sa. Rosa, Laguna, Lavenzares, North Samar, Abuyog, Cagayan Valley, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Marawi City, many polling places in Lanao del Sur and many canvassing areas in Isabela.

Pamalakaya said the forms of military and police involvement include abductions and salvaging of progressive party list leaders and poll watchers, Illegal presence inside canvass areas or roaming around polling places and canvass areas, harassment of voters and forcing them not to vote militant party lists and instead vote for Palace backed party lists like Bantay of Rep. Jovito Palparan, transporting of ballot boxes in canvass areas, banning militant party list poll watchers inside the canvass areas and selecting only those they want to allow to enter, acting as bodyguards of candidates, presence of APC and 6×6 trucks near polling places and canvass areas, police counting the votes in precinct, the shooting and wounding of a Bayan Muna leader, the burning of school rooms, the Illegal arrest of poll watchers and the threatening Comelec official.

Pamalakaya also reiterated its call for Comelec to recall its previous decision allowing CAGGUs and other paramilitary units to carry fire arms during the election season. The militant group asserted that the long experience and track record of CAFGUs in partisan politics, acting as paid goons and private armies of powerful politicians, the poll body should have recalled its resolution and pursued the across-the-nation disbandment of special civilian armed forces.
Under Comelec resolution 8742 made effective last January 11, amending Resolution 8714, the CAFGU was exempted from gun ban along with members of the Presidential Security Group, Bureau of Fire Protection, Optical Media Board, the treasurers and deputy treasurers and members of the Internal Security Division of the Bureau of Treasury.
Prior to Comelec promulgation of Resolution 8714, Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao opposed the disarming of CAAs because these paramilitary groups are tapped by fishing companies to secure their venture in the South. For his part, Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, chief of Western Command said as far as the military is concerned, the CAFGUs are part of the military organization and not all CAFGUs are utilized by private companies operating in far flung areas. #

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Fishers file DQ case against Yap before Comelec

by Gerry Albert Corpuz, Billy Javier Reyes and Sugar Hicap

Manila, Philippines- Leaders of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) filed on Tuesday a disqualification case against former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Fisherfolk activists gave OKs to Anakpawis party list and Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza for senate race


In their 4-page disqualification case against Yap, Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap and Vice-chairperson Salvador France said the former agriculture secretary lacks qualification to run as congressman for the third district of Bohol because he is not a resident of province 3rd district. The Pamalakaya leaders said the position for which Yap filed a certificate of candidacy requires that a candidate be a resident of the district (3rd District of Bohol) for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the May 10, 2010 elections.

Hicap and France asserted Secretary Yap failed to meet the qualification because the former agriculture secretary still live in Ortigas, Pasig City and there is no evidence or overt act that Yap abandoned his domicile of origin. Both fisherfolk leaders said their case against Yap is similar to the recently concluded case decided by the poll body against actor Richard Gomez who was barred by Comelec from running in Leyte over the question of domicile.

“More than the issue of residency is the stockpile of graft charges filed by against Secretary Yap before the Office of the Ombudsman regarding irregular and highly questionable use of taxpayers’ money by the agriculture department. This disqualification case pertaining to lack of qualification to run on the basis of residency is just part of the whole process to unearth the truth on controversies surrounding this controversial cabinet of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” the Pamalakaya leaders added.

Last January 6, Pamalakaya filed plunder and other criminal and administrative charges against Yap in connection with the P 455 million overpriced ice-making machines. Included in the charge sheet are President Arroyo and other officials of the National Agribusiness Council (Nabcor), an attached agency of DA. On top of the P 455 million ice making fund scam is the P 7.14 billion which the Commission on Audit (COA) cited in its’ 2008 report was missing, diverted or bungled.

“We filed this case not to spoil the political ambition of Sec. Yap. We filed this case because we want truth and justice to prevail over the narrow interest of new breed of traditional and corrupt politician like Sec. Yap,” the fisherfolk alliance added.

Pamalakaya maintained Sec. Yap cannot even speak the language of Boholanos. The group also said the respondent and his family continue to stay in Metro Manila and that in the concept of domicile under election laws is at Alexandra Residence in Pasig City.

“How can he live and reside in Bohol when Sec. Yap practices his profession and conducts his business in Metro Manila? He continues to be a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Makati Chapter and likewise holds office in Quezon City. He cannot even speak the language of Boholanos and the people of Central Visayas verbally and by heart. It is really impossible” the group said.

The militant group asserted that Sec. Yap is not domiciled in Barangay, Buenavista in Loboc, Bohol or anywhere within the 3rd legislative district of Bohol. It said the respondent does not have real, substantial and material ties to the locality as to qualify him a resident of the said legislative district, adding that Sec. Yap spends much more time in Metro Manila than in Bohol.

“His visits in Bohol are infrequent, short and transient,” said Pamalakaya. #

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Manila bound marching farmers slam poll body’s ok for CAFGU to carry arms in May 2010 elections

By Roy Morilla, Lakbayan pointperson in Mindanao
and Gerry Albert Corpuz, senior reporter, The Pamalakaya Times

Davao City, Philippines-Organizers of the 10-day Pambansang Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan on Wednesday assailed the decision of the Commission on Election (Comelec) exempting the Civilian Active Auxiliaries (CAA) from the total gun ban.

In a joint press statement, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and Anakpawis party list said the Comelec decision is extremely dangerous, politically incorrect and fatally flawed, asserting that these CAAs formerly known as Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs) are commissioned as private armies and armed goons by warlord politicians all over the country.

“The Comelec decision exempting CAFGUs from the total gun ban is a major political, legal and moral blunder. The poll body merely puts a legal blanket to the killing spree and human rights violation activities of these paramilitary units, which they perform in accordance with the cruel intention and sinister agenda of the sitting presidency in Malacanang, the pro-Arroyo military clique and their warlord allies,” the groups said in their statement.

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said the correct treatment of Comelec in dealing with CAFGUs is to officially disband these paramilitary groups due to their long-running violations of human rights at any given period. “The best way to address the issue is to call for the immediate and unconditional disbandment of CAFGUs, period, period, period,” the KMP official said.

For her part, Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente said the tragic lessons drawn from the Nov.23 Maguindanao massacre last year should have compelled poll officials to direct the AFP to permanently dismantle all existing CAFGUs and quit from hiring fresh recruits to avoid if not minimize election related violence.

“Please allow us to reiterate the record straight–57 people were massacred by special CAA forces in Maguindanao last year. Is that a joke or a remote incident to Comelec? Where is their sense of human rights, justice and political sensibility?” Clemente added.

Comelec commissioner Lucenito Tagle yesterday said the CAAs are allowed to carry firearms because they are considered units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which are exempted from the nationwide gun ban imposed by the poll body during election period.
Organizers of Pambansang Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan said aside from land and justice and concrete issues and struggles on agrarian reform, the grueling 10-day long caravan and long march from different parts of Mindanao, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Panay, Negros, Bicol, Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, Ilocos, Cordillera and Cagayan Valley regions to the National Capital Region will also call for the dismantling of CAFGU units across the country.

Under Comelec resolution 8742 made effective last January 11, amending Resolution 8714, the CAFGU was exempted from gun ban along with members of the Presidential Security Group, Bureau of Fire Protection, Optical Media Board, the treasurers and deputy treasurers and members of the Internal Security Division of the Bureau of Treasury.

Prior to Comelec promulgation of Resolution 8714, Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao opposed the disarming of CAAs because these paramilitary groups are tapped by fishing companies to secure their venture in the South. For his part, Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, chief of Western Command said as far as the military is concerned, the CAFGUs are part of the military organization and not all CAFGUs are utilized by private companies operating in far flung areas.

As of press time, organizers said 50 peasant and fisherfolk activists belonging to KMP, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list from Mindanao island will embark on their way to Liloan, Leyte, while the Visayan leg of the 10-day Lakbayan composed of 100 farmers and fishermen will start in Cebu before the caravan and march proceed to Calbayog City in Samar island.

From Samar, the joint contingent will proceed to Bicol on their way to Southern Tagalog and National Capital Region. The marchers are expected to cross Muntinlupa City on Jan.20 and will stage another long march on Jan.22 to Don Chino Roces in Manila on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of Mendiola massacre.

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Boholanos urged to challenge Sec.Yap’s unopposed run in 3rd district

by Chocolate Hills dela Fuente and Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines-The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday urged the electoral public in the 3rd district of Bohol to challenge the unopposed congressional bid of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, saying the congressional district deserves a better person rather than stick with a protégé of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“He is not the man for the job. Secretary Yap is part of the money making syndicate in Malacanang and voting him as congressman of the 3rd district is like paying homage to the never ending plunder campaign of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader issued the statement in reaction to news reports that Sec. Yap will run unopposed congressional candidate in the 3rd district of Bohol, Earlier, there was this speculation that Yap will face incumbent Rep. Adam Relson Jala or his father former congressman Eladio Jala in the congressional race, but the young Jala, who is eligible to run for re-election filed his certificate of candidacy for the gubernatorial race, leaving Yap unopposed.

The elder Jala, currently assistant secretary at the Department of Transportation and Communications, was rumored to have been offered a post at the Securities and Exchange Commission, but he has declined to issue any statement on the matter.

Both Yap and the Jalas were members of the ruling Lakas-Kampi. “It seems there is a gentleman’s agreement between Yap and the Jalas as brokered by Malacanang,” said Hicap.

Pamalakaya said Secretary Yap was recently implicated and charged in violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Republic Act 9184 or the Procurement Law before the Office of the Ombudsman for allowing an attached agency—the National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR) to procure 98 units of ice-making machines for fishery products which are overpriced by 100 percent compared to the standard price set by industry market.

The group recalled the department’s purchase of 98 units of ice-making machines, which the group said was overpriced by P 2.3 million. Pamalakaya said the agriculture department through the NABCOR awarded the government contract to a lone bidder—the Integrated Refrigeration System and Services (IRSS) on September 2, 2009, which will sell the ice-making unit at
P 4,650,000 per unit, or about P 2.3 million higher compared to prevailing industry price for the ice-making machine.

“Imagine a congressional candidate with this track record of corruption seeking to be called honorable representative of the third district of Bohol. Secretary Yap should immediate revoke the contract if he wants to gain respect and support of the electoral public. The deal which he had sealed for approval upon the order of higher ups is highly disadvantageous to the taxpaying public. Imagine we will pay more than P 233 million of hard-earned taxpayers’ money to the preferred client of Malacanang. This is too much and super corruption to the highest order,” said Pamalakaya.

The Pamalakaya said the government through DA will pay IRSS the sum of P 455,700,000 for 98 units of ice-making machines with liquid freeze capability which will be supplied to selected municipal fish ports nationwide. But the group said the government can obtain 98 units of ice-making machines for P 225 million to P 230 million, or half of the quoted and agreed price with IRSS.

“P 225 million is P 225 million. That sum of money can be used to finance any kind of sinister agenda or cruel intention by the present power holders in and out of Malacanang. The money might also be used to finance the electoral campaign of Mrs. Arroyo’s national and local bets like Secretary Yap. This is money making in aid of electoral campaign for 2010 polls,” added Hicap.

The group said Secretary Yap is lawfully and morally bound to explain why the agriculture department entered into a contract that is disadvantageous to the government and to the Filipino public.

“Do we really need these ice-making machines? Our fisherfolk members all over the country were not even consulted on these projects, but these ice-making machines had already their icing on the cake status as far DA and its’ favored contractor are concerned. Secretary Yap owes the public a honest-to-goodness explanation, nothing more, nothing less,” said Pamalakaya.

According to information gathered by Pamalakaya, NABCOR conducted a preliminary bidding last August 26, and IRSS which won the bidding, was only incorporated on August 25, a day before the preliminary bidding was conducted.

The group said under Republic Act 9184 (Procuring Law), Section 37.1, the bidder must submit a copy of its single largest completed contract over the past 3 years, and such condition is impossible for IRSS, which was only incorporated on August 25, this year, a day before the preliminary bidding. The contract was finally awarded last Sept.2.

The militant group threatened to file a plunder case against Secretary Yap and other officials of NABCOR if they fail to cancel the contract with IRSS in connection with the corruption tainted procurement of 98 units of ice-making machines pegged at P 4.6 million per unit.

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Satur to poll body: Allow militant migrant group to run in 2010

By Sugar Hicap and Lollipop de los Reyes

Quezon City, Philippines- Party list coalition Makabayan today strongly urged the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to reconsider its earlier resolution to remove Migrante Sectoral Party from the list of accredited party-list organizations participating in the 2010 elections.

“Thousands of overseas Filpinos are in danger of being disenfranchised by this COMELEC ruling. They who contribute so much from the economy have for so long been marginalized by the electoral system. Now, once again, they are being denied their right to representation,” said Rep. Satur Ocampo, president of Makabayan.

In an en banc resolution last October 13, 2009, COMELEC barred Migrante and 25 other party-list organizations from participating in the 2010 elections. Migrante, according to the commission, participated and failed to gain seats in two straight elections prior to the upcoming polls.

It is on record, however, that Migrante only participated during the 2004 elections and signified their intent not to run in 2007 while maintaining the option to run in the next election.

“It is clear from its track record that Migrante is a legitimate party-list organization, with the largest and broadest membership among overseas Filipinos and their families in the Philippines. It cannot be denied that to delist Migrante is to disenfranchise their constituency,” explained Ocampo.

The Makabayan president further pointed to COMELEC’s wild inconsistencies in its decision to delist and maintain party-list groups in its accredited list. For instance, groups like BISA, Pinoy Overseas Party and Banat were allowed to run in 2004 even as they failed to garner the required two-percent of total party-list votes to garner seats in 1998. These groups also failed to run during the 2001 elections.

The activist lawmaker lamented that groups with dubious representation like (Mike Arroyo’s sister) Ma. Lourdes Arroyo’s Kasangga Party-list and butcher general Jovito Palparan’s Bantay Party-list were allowed to participate in 2007 and defame the true spirit of the Party-List System Act.

“All these point to a political motive in the delisting of Migrante. After all, Migrante, along with the other progressive party-list organizations, have been the most vocal in criticizing government misdeeds and even exposing electoral fraud during the past elections,” said Ocampo.

Ocampo also urged the commission not to give in to pressure from Malacañang. He asked COMELEC to give progressive party-list organizations like Migrante a chance to finally run for House seats that would represent the millions of Filipinos long denied of due representation.

While Comelec was slapped with criticisms over its decision to delist Migrante sectoral party list, the militant Bayan Muna party list welcomed the statement of House Speaker Prospero Nograles expressing the urgent need to stop the abuses of oil cartel-Shell, Caltex and Petron.

Nograles also said that the Oil Deregulation Law fell short of its supposed intent to put an end to the monopoly of the big three on the oil industry.

“It’s good that Speaker Nograles has seen the light on this issue of oil deregulation. For the longest time, Shell, Caltex and Petron have been abusing the law by jacking up their prices at the slightest excuse. Oil deregulation has only made the cartel even more abusive, and consumers have been at their mercy since the law was approved in 1998. More than a decade later, we have all seen the disastrous impact of oil deregulation, and it’s high time that the law be repealed,” Bayan Muna secretary general Nathanael Santiago said.

Santiago said that despite Nograles’ assertion that there was no more time to repeal the law, he said that “it was still important for Congress to make the attempt.”

He said that “all it will take is strong and determined political will to repeal the law and send an unmistakable signal to the Big Three that their abuses are not being tolerated.”

“There is still enough time to fast-track measures to repeal the oil deregulation law. If bills pushed by Malacanang can be rushed and even passed in a series of overnight plenary sessions, why not a bill putting an end to oil deregulation? It would be a great service to once and for all repeal this law that has brought nothing but added economic burdens to the people,” Santiago said.

“Bayan Muna is certain that our many lawmakers are willing to sacrifice a few sleepless nights for this effort. The oil companies should be taught a lesson, and this could be a good first step towards regulating the oil industry,” he added.

“If Speaker Nograles will put his influence and clout behind calls for the repeal of oil deregulation law, it will be possible to junk the said law before the end of the 14th Congress,” Santiago said. #

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NO-EL COULD SPARK ANOTHER EDSA

NO-EL COULD SPARK ANOTHER EDSA
Leftwing militants: “Is Melo toeing Palace no-election line?

Leftwing activists belonging to fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Friday questioned the motive of Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Jose Melo in raising the no-election scenario in case losing bidders sue the poll body over the P 11.3 billion automation contract for next year’s election.

“Is Melo toeing the Palace no-election line? His nightmare might be exploited by Malacañang into a wonderful dream for a corrupt and brutal presidency seeking to perpetuate itself to power. This could lead to another Edsa uprising,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

“If Comelec is not ready for full automation then it can go back to manual exercise. That’s plain and simple and there is a lot of time for preparation. The poll body, as well as the bidders have no legal, moral and political right to stop the holding of the 2010 elections as prescribed by the 1987 Constitution, unless Chairman Melo wants to please his benefactor no other than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo by subscribing to her narrow wish to stop the 2010 polls and keep the presidency after May 2010,” Hicap added.

“If this is part of Palace mind conditioning campaign to convince the people that there would be no elections in 2010 and Mrs. Arroyo should stay, then it is provoking the people to stage another popular uprising similar to People Power 1 and People Power 2,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

“If that is the case, then Mrs. Arroyo should accept the near future scenario of being the third President ousted by the people through another popular uprising,” added Hicap.

Melo said yesterday past blunders are giving the poll body nightmares that current attempt to computerize balloting next year might lead to a no-election scenario. He said losing bidders or particularly groups who wanted to stop the elections could use the 2003 procurement anomaly case against Comelec that frustrated its plan to automate polling inv 2004.

“For Chairman Melo we ask this question—which interest should prevail in 2010, the collective interest of the Filipino people as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution or the business agenda of poll automation bidders? Which interest should prevail in 2010, the national agenda of the people to participate in the 2010 elections or the sinister agenda of Malacañang to stop the 2010 polls?” the Pamalakaya leader asked. #

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