Groups march to Comelec, condemn disqualification of Courage, Kalikasan party-lists

VARIOUS groups led by Anakbayan and Courage marched to Comelec today to protest the recent decision of the poll body banning progressive partylist group of government employees COURAGE Partylist, and Kalikasan Partylist, a group advocating environmental concerns, to enter the electoral race.

Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo said the two are “progressive and pro-people groups with clear track record,” and which clearly represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors.

Crisostomo said unlike Akbayan and other partylists backed by high raking government officials, COURAGE represents the rank-and-file government employees who recieve low wages which is part of the labor sector clearly defined as marginalized under the law.

Crisostomo said the decision could be related to the groups’ criticism of the Aquino administration.
“These groups have been vocal against Aquino’s policies, which may have cost them their accreditation,” Crisostomo said.
Crisostomo said Courage has consistently fought for higher salaries for government employees while Kalikasan was at the forefront of the fight to save the pine trees in Baguio and against Aquino’s mining EO 79.

He said some of the unions under Courage were also against the impeachment of then Chief Justice Corona.
Anakbayan said meanwhile that they are worried that the poll body may have voted in favor of Akbayan’s participation in the polls despite clear legal, moral and political grounds against “Aquino’s dilawan.”

“Comelec chair Brilliantes invokes the SC ruling on government-backed entities for COURAGE but does not mention the same for Akbayan. He muddles the issue by lumping together Akbayan and Bayan Muna which is clearly missing the point. The issue against Akbayan is not about its being a multisectoral party or its track record but that it is entrenched in government. We are afraid they are deliberately confusing the public to cover-up a pro-Malacanang decision,” Crisostomo said.

He added that the fact that COMELEC did not announce the result of the voting immediately and made it seem that they are “divided” on the issue may be a sign that it is paving the way for a decision favoring the Palace.

“I am hoping I am wrong. But if this is the case, then all these efforts are to give further advantage to Aquino’s Akbayan. This will clearly show Comelec’s lack of integrity and credibility,” said Crisostomo.

Anakbayan called on the people to be vigilant and further campaign against Palace maneuvers to subvert the people’s will and further consolidate its power by meddling in the 2013 elections.

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