Comelec allows more party-lists with links to political dynasties, group says

Feb. 03, 2019

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A great number of party-list groups allowed by the Commission on Election (Comelec) to win a seat in May 2019 election do not stand for the marginalized and underrepresented sectors but represent the interests of the rich and political dynasties in the country.

The election watchdog Kontra Daya raised such alarm in a statement sent to the media over the weekend.

Associate Professor Danila Arao, a convenor of Kontra Daya also criticized Comelec for disqualifying more party-lists organized by marginalized sectors and truly represent the interests of the voiceless and powerless.

In a study presented by Kontra Daya, at least 62 out of 134 party-list groups approved by Comelec may be classified as having links to political dynasties or officials already elected in other positions, representing special business interests, or/and possessing questionable advocacies and nominees.

The group identified the party-list groups linked to political dynasties or officials already elected to include: ABONO (Estrella, Ortega), LPGMA (Albano, Ty), Tingong Sirangan (Romualdez), AAMBIS-OWA (Garin, Biron), Aangat Tayo (Abayon Ong), Agbiag (Antonios of Cagayan), PROBINSYANO AKO (Fariñas), AA-KASOSYO (Pangandaman), MATA (Velascos of Marinduque) and SBP (Belmontes of Quezon City).

Kontra Daya also lamented the disqualification of party-list groups organized by the marginalized sectors like the Manggagawa Partylist, Aksyon Health Workers, and the People Surge that was organized by Yolanda survivors.

The election watchdog also raised concern over Comelec’s approval of party-list groups organized by big construction firms in the country.

Among the party-list identified by Kontra Daya is the Construction Workers Solidarity or CWS that claims to be representing the interests of the marginalized construction workers.

The group said Comelec allowed CWS to win a seat in May 2019 election but disqualified a party-list that truly represent the voice of the hopeless workers in the country.

“There is a direct contradiction between the interests of the big contractors and the constructions workers. How can they claim to represent construction workers?” the group asked.

Kontra Daya called on the COMELEC to “further review the appeals of party-list groups, particularly those whose nominees indeed represent their respective sectors.”

“Reducing the number of duly-registered party-lists by disqualifying groups that actually represent the marginalized does not solve the mockery of the party-list system as it remains controlled by the rich and powerful,” Arao said.

DuDirty party-lists

Workers led by Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) demand the poll body to disqualify what they called “DuDirty” party-list groups.

Among party-lists named by KMU is the AA-Kasosyo who’s the first nominee is former Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson, and the Duterte Youth that is identified with National Youth Commission Chairman Ronald Cardema.

“DuDirty party-lists are fake party-lists. They do not represent marginalized sectors and serve to attack genuine ones like the Manggagawa party-list,” said Jerome Adonis, KMU secretary-general.

Adonis explained that Comelec has violated rules of the party-list system by letting these party-list groups run.

“DuDirty party-lists serve as minions of President Duterte, and thus enjoy his influence and access to government funds and machinery. In effect, they are using the people’s resources to gain power,” Adonis added. (

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