DAVAO CITY, Philippines – An election watchdog identified several party-list groups in the 2019 elections becoming an extension of political dynasties in many provinces and vested interests, saying it made it harder for party-list groups genuinely representing marginalized sectors to gain seats in Congress.
Kontra Daya said the party-list system has been “bastardized and corrupted”, classifying several party-list groups either having questionable advocacy, linked to political dynasties and/or officials already elected in other positions, and those representing special business interests.
The group said it undermines “its original goal of providing representation to marginalized sectors such as workers, farmers, women, youth and indigenous people’s among others.”
Among the party-list groups cited by Kontra Daya linked to political dynasties is Probinsya Ako whose first nominee is the son of Ilocos congressman and former Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas. Its second nominee is also related to the congressman.
Incumbent Leyte first district representative Yedda Romualdez and part of “Romualdez dynasty” in Tacloban is the first nominee of Tingog Sirangan.
Nominees of the Abono party-list are members of Estrellas and Ortegas of Pangasinan and La Union, Kontra Daya said.
Ang Mata’y Alagaan first nominee, Tricia Nicole Velasco, is part of the Velasco political clan in Marinduque, the group said. She is the daughter of former SC Justice Presbiterio Velasco. Her brother is an incumbent congressman.
According to the group, Ako An Bisaya is linked to Uy and Tuazon families in Samar and Velosos in Leyte. And Serbisyo sa Bayan party-list is connected to QC congressman Sonny Belmonte.
PBA party list is represented by Jericho Nograles of Nograles clan in Davao. While Abe Kapampangan’s first nominee is Angeles Mayor Ed Pamintuan.
Kontra Daya said some nominees are the spouse or children who seek to replace the current nominees.
“These group’s nominations have become a family affair.” The group said.
It added that some party-lists seem to represent big business interests.
Kontra Daya cited Construction Worker’s Solidarity represented by former DPWH Undersecretary Romeo Momo Sr, who’s facing an investigation for anomalous road projects.
Also, Sandigan ng mga Manggagawa sa Konstruksyon has estate developer and contractor Enrique Olonan as its first nominee.
ACTS-OFW have nominees that head and own a recruitment agency, according to Kontra Daya.
The group further cited One Patriotic Coalition of Marginalized Nationals Inc.(1-PACMAN) as a glaring example how the party-list system has been used by the rich and powerful.its first nominee Michael Romero, happens to be the richest member of the House of Representatives with a reported net worth of P7 billion.
“His wealth does not come as a surprise since he is said to be the chief executive officer (CEO) or chair of, among others, the Harbor Centre Port Terminal, Mikro-tech Capital, Manila North Harbor Port, Pacific Inc., and 168 Ferrum Mining. We believe that having multi-billionaires as party-list representatives were not the original intent of the party-list law as these billionaires can easily seek congressional seats through the regular district representation.” Kontra Daya said.
Kontra Daya called on the Comelec “to do all it can to ensure whatever integrity is left in the party-list system will not be further eroded.”
“We call on the people to be extra-vigilant with groups claiming to represent the voiceless but in fact, are representing dynastic interests” the group added.(davaotoday.com)