Comelec “fails” test of credibility and integrity with Akbayan decision, leftists say

Nov. 22, 2012

Cherry Orendain, spokesperson of the youth group Anakbayan in Southern Mindanao, said that the decision is obviously “pro-Palace” which “further bastardizes the partylist system.”

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to allow Akbayan partylist to run in the 2013 election was denounced by militants here saying it is “a major test of integrity and credibility” which the agency has “failed.”

Cherry Orendain, spokesperson of the youth group Anakbayan in Southern Mindanao, said that the decision is obviously “pro-Palace” which “further bastardizes the partylist system.”

On Tuesday, the Comelec decided to allow partylist Akbayan, along with Bayan Muna, to join next year’s mid-term election.

But Orendain said, Comelec “must not lump Akbayan with Bayan Muna and other multisectoral groups.”  She pointed out that the call to disqualify Akbayan was not because of its being a multisectoral party but because “it is obviously a party in power.”

Akbayan’s nominees for the 2013 elections, she said, are Palace-appointees.

Barry Gutierrez, Akbayan’s second nominee, is Malacañang’s undersecretary for political affairs while Angeline Ludovice-Katoh, the third nominee, is commissioner in the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor.

“They do not belong to any of the marginalized sectors that Akbayan claims to represent,” said Renato Reyes, secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), in a statement.

Reyes has raised questions against Comelec commissioners who favored Akbayan which, he said, has influential cabinet officials.

A number of Akbayan members have been appointed in the Aquino administration.  They include Ronald Llamas who is an adviser for Presidential Political Affairs; Etta Rosales who heads the Commission on Human Rights; Joel Rocamora who heads the National Anti-Poverty Commission; and Percival Cendena who is a commissioner-at-large of the National Youth Commission.

Two of Akbayan’s former representatives are now holding key positions in government pension agencies.  Mario Aguho is a member of the board of the Government Service and Insurance System and Daniel Edralin is a commissioner of the Social Security Serivices.

Bayan’s Reyes has noted that Akbayan has multi-million peso campaign donors “from the country’s ruling elites.”

In the 201o elections, Akbayan had an overall campaign fund of PHP 112.183 million, based on its published statement of election contributions and expenses.  Three of its sponsors are Presidential sisters Kris Aquino, Maria Elena Aquino-Cruz and Victoria Aquino-Dee who donated a total of 14 million pesos.

Ariel Casilao, National Executive Vice President of Bayan Muna and Regional Coordinator of Makabayan, denounced the Comelec decision, saying, “nagpamatuod lang kini sa pagtubay sa kamandoan sa Malacañang aron depensahan ug i-abswelto ang iyang tuta nga partylist, ang Akbayan (this only proves that the Comelec is executing the order of Malacañang to defend and absolve its puppet partylist, the Akbayan).

Casilao also lambasted Comelec’s defense of Akbayan citing it took note of its “track record.”

“What track record is the Comelec talking about?  Their being PNoy’s apologists on the failure of Carper?” he said.

Carper (Comprehensive Agrarian reform Program with Reforms), according to Casilao, has delayed all the more the distribution of the Hacienda Luisita lands to the farm workers.  He also slammed Akbayan’s defense and justification of the Cybercrime law, as well as Akbayan’s red-baiting statements against progressive organizations.  He also noted Akbayan’s approval and defense of PNoy’s pro-large-scale mining law, Executive Order 79.

“With members who are multi-millionaires and holding Cabinet positions, Akbayan is not marginalized and they are not underrepresented,” Casilao said.  (Marilou Aguirre-Tuburan/

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