Anakbayan fears of Malacanang pressure on Comelec re party-lists

YOUTH group Anakbayan today assailed Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda defending  Akbayan and Black and White Movement and called on the Malacanang to stop pressuring Comelec re partylist disqualification.

Anakbayan national chair Vencer Crisostomo said Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda’s defense of Akbayan and Black and White Movement is proof of their close ties with the Palace.

“Lacierda’s argument is poor defense. They still continue to evade the question: whether or not we should allow Palace officials to run for party-list,” he said.

Crisostomo called on Comelec not to give in to Palace pressures and disqualify Akbayan, Black and White Movement, and several other party-lists with close ties with Malacanang and with members which hold appointive government positions.

He called on the Comelec not to give in to pressure from Malcanang and their allies.

“We hope the Comelec will not give Aquino party-lists special treatment re their party-list purge. The cleansing of the partylist system would be pointless if they will not include Palace-backed partylists,” said Crisostomo.

Comelec chairman Sixto Brilliantes has been quoted as saying that having members in government positions is not grounds for disqualification, referring to Akbayan. It was also reported that Ronald Llamas and Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello called Brilliantes to “inquire” re Akbayan’s accreditation.

Crisostomo also pointed out the COA report questioning the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) for hiring consultants and contractuals who were paid P27.97 million pesos.

“The SC ruling on the party-list system clearly prohibits government-funded and supported entities. Akbayan has control of NAPC funds and CCT. The mere fact that they are in power gives undue advantage to their party,” he said.

Crisostomo also said that nominees of Akbayan and Black and White are clearly not from marginalized and underrepresented sectors and are appointees of the president.

The Supreme Court ruling states, among others that:

The parties must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the government;

The parties must represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors; so also must its nominees;

Among Akbayan members in government are presidential adviser Ronald Llamas, anti-poverty commission head Joel Rocamora, CHR chair Etta Rosales, GSIS board member Mario Aguho and NYC commissioner Percy Cendena. Its nominees Barry Gutierrez and Angeline Katoh also hold appointive positions.

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