Philippines: Local Political Dynasties, Warlords, Behind Some Partylist Groups

Apr. 17, 2007

April 15, 2006

Local political dynasties, warlords, behind some partylist groups

“Apparently, Malacanang is not the only one fielding or funding partylist groups in this elections. Local politicians or local warlords have also established bogus partylist organizations.”

Kabataan Partylist President and First Nominee Raymond Palatino said some established political dynasties have already penetrated the partylist system by forming partylist groups in order to get more pork barrel funds for personal enrichment.

“Instead of empowering the poor, the partylist system is now being used by traditional politicians to extend their sphere of influence.”

Palatino, who just came from campaign sorties in Ilocandia, identified the Ortega clan in La Union as one of these dynasties whom he said is behind the Abono Partylist which claims to represent a marginalized sector of our society.

“We received reports from our members and students in La Union that this dynasty ordered all incumbent officials and candidates, from provincial to barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officers to endorse and campaign for Abono Partylist.”

“We also got complaints from our chapters in La Union that officials affiliated with the Ortega clan are preventing other partylist groups including Kabataan from campaigning in their districts,” he added.

“There is nothing wrong with partylist groups soliciting the support of local politicians. But it is unfair and illegal for local politicians to establish a partylist group, proclaim that it is a group of disempowered Filipinos and use massive resources to ensure its victory. It is unjust for local politicians to bar other partylist groups from campaigning just to please the local kingpin of the province. This is not how the partylist system works. This is not how to strengthen our democracy.”

“There are 93 partylist groups participating in the 2007 elections. How many of these groups are truly representative of the underprivileged sectors of our society? While we contend with very little resources, some groups find it easy to mount an expensive campaign since they are shameless dummies of traditional politicians.”

“We are gathering more evidences and strongly considering filing a petition for the Commission on Elections to look into the matter,” he said, adding that Kabataan Partylist and a group of student volunteers are already conducting an extensive research on partylist groups that are being funded or that were formed by political dynasties in different parts of the country.

Meanwhile, Palatino reiterated the call for COMELEC to publicize the list of partylist nominees. He added that Kabataan Partylist will be pushing for the amendment of the partylist law after elections to prevent unscrupulous politicians from bastardizing the partylist system.

“We urge the Commission on Elections to be more discerning in recognizing partylist groups. We support the proposal to publish the list of nominees of partylist candidates. We will not be surprised if scions of political dynasties are among the nominees of some partylist groups.”

“We hope the people will not be coerced into voting dummy partylist groups of traditional politicians. We hope they will realize the evil machinations of local politicians in forming these groups.” #

Reference: Raymond Palatino, 09205723638, 09223570410

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