HAVING known him for years when this writer used to cover the Intramuros beat which includes the Commission on Elections, I couldn’t hide my respect and admiration for Commissioner Rene Sarmiento who, to me, had demonstrated impartiality and competence in his job, few of his colleagues obviously did not.
But it fades now very quickly. This after he leads others in the poll body to follow the discreet body language of Malacanang which clearly goes all-out for the much-criticized Akbayan partylist whose representatives and former leaders were either multi-millionaires or currently holding government positions.
In fact, they have already over-represented themselves in the Aquino administration and yet Akbayan still wants to win seats in Congress. They must not be gluttonous who habitually eats and drinks too much. Huh!
Sarmiento and his pack, appearing now to be Palace lackeys, based their favorable ruling to Akbayan of its track record that “represents the marginalized as can be seen from the bills and laws (authored by its representatives) passed by Congress.”
Really? They’re much different from Comelec chief Six Brillantes who can be hailed for being consistent and not allowing himself to be subservient to the desires of Malacañan tenants.
To him, its’ just like the disqualified Ako Bicol which is a political party and doesn’t represent any marginalized or underrepresented sector and both are only duplicating the district representation.
Actually and if it’s not only for Sarmiento’s bunch to satisfy the caprices of those in power, they could easily and comfortably decide but against Akbayan by using as guide the Supreme Court ruling in the Bagong Bayani vs Comelec case.
It clearly prohibited the participation of government “or its officials” in party-list affairs.
It said that: “..the party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the government..It must be independent of the government. The participation of the government or its officials in the affairs of a partylist candidate is not only illegal and unfair to other parties, but also deleterious to the objective of the law..,”
In the same ruling, the SC also ruled that nominees of a party-list must not only represent a marginalized sector but must themselves belong to the marginalized sectors they seek to represent. “..not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors; so also must its nominees. ..the nominees must be Filipino citizens ‘who belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties.’”
Imposing a double-standard style of ruling, the poll body disqualified Courage, a party-list group of rank-and-file employees because it is “government-backed.”
Preposterous as it is and this is height of travesty. The poll body could have been more accommodating to this party-list applicant that represents the ordinary public servants than allowing Akbayan undersecretaries to run.
The Comelec is losing its credibility and integrity. Let’s just hope that its current officials can still manage to conduct the mid-term polls without much irregularities and chaos.