COMELEC LOSES COUNT OF PARTY-LIST WINNERS, VIOLATES CONSTITUTION!
Copyright © 2019 By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
CHICAGO (JGL) – In a bid to break up the Marcos political monopoly, framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution reduced the number of the members of the
House of Representatives dominated by political families from 250 to 200, replacing 20% or 50 of its members with Party-List representatives coming from what Vice President Leni Robredo as laylayan ng lipunan (marginal sector of society) namely national, regional or sectoral party or organization or coalition of groups that include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers and professionals.
COOP NATCCO Party-List Representative
Its enabling law, Republic Act No. 7941, also tried to discourage political butterflies by letting party-list representative forfeit their seat if he “changes his political party or sectoral affiliation within six (6) months before an election and shall not be eligible for nomination as party-list representative under his new party or organization.”
This ban prompted without public announcement incumbent two-term COOP NATCCO Party-List Representative Anthony Bravo to give up his seat although he is still eligible to run for his last three-year term under his party by abandoning COOP NATCCO. But RA 7941 gives him an option to organize his own KOOP-KAMPI party and handpick his favorite nominees, namely, his relatives, thus, defeating the anti-dynasty spirit of the Constitution. According to Section 26 of the State Policies of the Constitution, "The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law."
VIDEO INTERVIEW of then Party-List Representative ANTHONY BRAVO by Columnist JOSEPH G. LARIOSA in 2015.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!
The lure of the salary and perks of being a Congressman, which according to the late Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, could earn from between PHP 600K (US$12,000) to PHP 5-M (US$96,153) a month, by handpicking relatives to be nominees of his party-list party, is too tempting to pass up.
No. 63 on the ballot KOOP-KAMPI's first nominee, Chrissan D. Bravo, is Mr. Bravo's daughter while the third nominee altho long-shot, Nellen Grutas Discaya Bravo, is his sister. If a party-list party amasses 2% of the total number of national votes, its first nominee wins a party-list seat; if it collects 4% of the votes, its second nominee wins a second seat. No party-list party has scored 6% of the vote to claim a third winning nominee of the party since the rollout of the party-list elections in 1998.
Contrary to the verbal assurance of Mr. Bravo thru his supporter and member, Mr. Chris Gillego Gotladera, former councilor of Bulan, Sorsogon and now an official of PAG-IBIG FUND, to other nominees that KOOP-KAMPI can always replace its nominees in case of vacancy to appease them, such assurance will never happen. First of all, only the names of nominees submitted by the party to the COMELEC prior to elections will be allowed to hold the position. The substitution will only be allowed in the event of a vacancy to serve the unexpired term on account of death, incapacity, resignation or involuntary removal for cause. And
Second, no party-list representative of sound mind will just give up a seat that provides a lucrative income.
Mr. Bravo could not be reached for comment.
COOP-NATCCO PARTY-LIST CONGRESSMAN Anthony Bravo (third from right) is shown with his assistants and volunteer supporters from left Emmanuel L. Villamor, an active Sorsogon community organizer, Marlon Borromeo, staff coordinator of Congressman Bravo, Joseph G. Lariosa, and Sorsogon Provincial Board member now Sorsogon Gubernatorial Candidate Vladimir Ramon B. Frivaldo, Coordinator, Programs and Projects, COOP-NATCCO Party List in Kennemer Foods International-South Luzon Federation of Cooperatives (KFI-Sideco) Cacao Contract Growing Program, SIDECO Complex, Barangay Cabidan, Sorsogon City, Philippines in 2015. (JGL Photo)
KOOP-KAMPI PARTY IS NOT ALONE
It's not only KOOP-KAMPI, though, as the party-list packing its nominees with relatives.
No. 22 AKO BISDAK has nominees No. 1 Ernesto C. Enriquez and No. 3 Maria Katrina L. Enriquez;
No. 157 DUTERTE YOUTH party-list party has two out of three nominees, who are related – No. 2 Joseph M. De Guzman and No. 3 Benilda C. De Guzman;
No. 27 AMEPA OFW has No.1 David S. Balamon, No. 4 Abel D. Balamon and No. 5 Enzo D. Balamon as nominees;
No. 54 Ang Probinsiyano has No. 1 Alfred C. Delos Santos and No. 3 Edward C. Delos Santos as nominees;
No. 73 ALIF has No. 1 Acmad M. Tomawis and No. 3 Ismael M. Tomawis nominees;
132. GP has No. 1 Jose Gay G. Padiernos and No. 4 Jan Rurik D. Padiernos nominees; And
No. 137 YACAP has No. 1 Carol Jane B. Lopez and No. 3 Benhur B. Lopez, Jr. nominees.
Apparently, the limit of 50 incumbent party-list representatives allowed by the Constitution was breached when the House of Representatives listed 65 or 26%, exceeding by 15 the 50 members of party-list or 20% allowed out of the 250 members of the House of Representatives. It is an oversight which can be a ground to impeach the Comelec commissioners for violating the Constitution for grave abuse of discretion.
Dok Toto De la Cruz (extreme right) of KOOP-KAMPI is with Cris Gillego Gotladera (second from right) and Richard Arceno at Barangay Maharlika City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. (Facebook photo)
ONE INCUMBENT MURDERED, ONE DIES OF STROKE
Some of those who are no longer on the ballot are Party-List representatives who died, including the murdered Rodel M. Batocabe of Ako Bicol, who was planning to run for Mayor in Daraga, Albay and Ciriaco Calalang, who died of stroke last September; another was dropped from the rolls, ABS' Eugene Michael De Vera when he filed his candidacy to run as geographic/district representative in Marikina City.
Others had resigned as in the case of Sitti Djalia A. Turabin-Hataman of AMIN, who returned to the private sector; Emmeline Aglipay-Villar of DIWA who was appointed as DOJ Under-Secretary and Harry L. Roque, Jr. of KABAYAN who accepted his appointment as spokesman of President Duterte and others for unknown reasons.
For voters in the Philippines, they can vote for one geographic or District Representative candidate and one Party-List party candidate, 12 senators, governors, vice governors and mayors, and vice mayors, etc.
OFW VOTERS VOTE FOR 1 PARTY-LIST PARTY; 12 SENATORS
For overseas voters, however, they can vote for only one Party-List party out of 134 Party-List candidates and can vote for 12 out of 62 senators.
Consul Mel Lalunio, Jr. of the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, Illinois said in shading the oval of their ballot, voters should not use Pentel pen, whose ink could pierce thru the candidate on the opposite side of the ballot and thus likewise shade the oval of another candidate, leading to overvote, which will make the vote a stray vote.
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