April 6, 2013
Cong. Neri Colmenares
Decision allowing rich into the party-list condemned.
COMELEC URGED TO MAINTAIN ITS DECISION TO DISQUALIFY POWERFUL PARTY LIST
Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares expressed shock at the sudden
turn around of the Supreme Court in allowing the country’s political and
economic elites into the party-list system putting to naught various
COMELEC decisions that disqualified the rich and the powerful from running
as a Party-list candidate.
“This sudden turn around is a complete shock considering that the Supreme
Court has consistently disallowed the district congressmen and the rich
from the party-list election since 2001 in the case of Bagong Bayani and
which was recently reiterated in the case of Banat, which surprisingly was
also written by Justice Antonio Carpio himself,” said Rep. Colmenares.
“Under the Constitution, the party-list system was intended as a “social
justice” tool to allow the poor to have a voice in Congress by allotting
20% of the seats for the marginalized and underrepresented. The decision
essentially disregarded this social justice principle when it allowed the
80% district congressmen to join in the party-list elections. Bakit pa
tayo maghihiwalay ng 20% para sa party-list kung papasalihin rin lang ang
mga district congressmen katulad ni Rep. Mikey Arroyo dito?”
“Affirmative action, or preferential treatment for the poor, is a
recognized concept throughout the world in recognition of the fact that
the poor cannot compete with the rich in the so called ‘level playing
field,’” Rep. Colmenares added. “ In fact, the Supreme Court knows that
social justice under the Constitution means that ‘those who have less in
life, should have more in law’ because an equal playing field is always in
favor of the rich and therefore not actually equal. The Court cannot seem
to comprehend ‘affirmative action’ when it granted the rich entry into the
party-list system. Parang si Manny Pacquiao pinalaban mo kay Mike Tyson
sa boxing. Of course, the poor party-list groups are no match to the
economic elites and rich politicians in any election. That’s why the poor
are given the party list system because they cannot win in a district
congressional election. ”
Not all is
lost: Decision not yet final, COMELEC urged to stand pat on its decision
“But there is hope because the decision is not yet final. The COMELEC has
been tasked to screen which of the disqualified party-list groups shall
remain disqualified. The position of Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno is
correct. Since the grounds for disqualifying these groups include other
grounds such as failure to prove their advocacy for a sector, or violation
of election laws, then these rich powerful party-list groups can still be
remained disqualified for these grounds since the Supreme Court decision
did not touch on these issues,” said Colmenares. “So as far as their
legal status is concerned, groups like Ang Galing Pinoy of Rep. Mikey
Arroyo, and Abang Lingkod of the rich landlords of Negros like Rep. Albee
Benitez and Board Member Patrick Lacson, the son of GSIS Chairman Bitay
Lacson can still be disqualified. We hope the COMELEC will courageously
stand pat on its decision. Otherwise, the party-list election will be in
complete shambles. This could spell the end of that novel constitutional
provision called the party-list system.”
April 8, 2013
MAKABAYAN CONDEMNS SC
DECISION ALLOWING THE RICH TO JOIN PARTYLIST ELECTIONS: Urges Comelec to
defend its decision against the anti-poor Supreme Court Decision
The decision only exacerbates the elitist and oligarchic control of our
political system and allows the rich to further dominate the already
measly 20% of the seats in Congress allotted to the party-list system in
the guise of political pluralism. The people have long been offended and
angry that the party-list system was used by rich and powerful politicians
as a backdoor to get a seat in Congress. The Supreme Court has now openly
invited the likes of Rep. Mikey Arroyo to pass through the front door and
without the hassle of pretending to be poor and pro-poor. The Supreme
Court decision is so unjust that big capitalists who have exploited their
workers and big landlords who have deprived peasants their lands, can
participate in the party-list election by merely feigning advocacy for the
workers and peasants. While progressive pro-people party lists like
Kabataan and Piston who have long advocated for the youth and the drivers
sectors are unjustly and arbitrarily singled out for disqualification,
those who have oppressed and exploited the marginalized and
underrepresented sectors are given the green light.
Makabayan finds it suspiciously strange that after reiterating in 2009 in
the case of Banat vs Comelec that major political parties such as
the Liberal Party of Pres. Noynoy Aquino and the Lakas Kampi Party of
former Pres. Gloria Arroyo are disqualified from joining the party-list
election, the Supreme Court suddenly turns around and allows them to
compete with hapless party-list groups from the indigenous peoples,
workers, persons with disabilities and other marginalized sectors. Once
these major political parties get their party-list seats in the next
Congress, they will make it impossible to amend the party-list law to make
it an effective social justice tool for the people.
Section 1 of RA 7941 or the party-list law declares that “the
State shall promote proportional representation xxx through a party-list
system xxx which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to
marginalized and under-represented sectors, organizations and parties,
and who lack well-defined political constituencies xxx, to become
members of the House of Representatives. Towards this end, the State
shall develop and guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to
attain the broadcast possible representation of party, sectoral or group
interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to
compete for and win seats in the legislature xxx”.
Clearly, the law intends to “enable” the marginalized and underrepresented
to “become members” of Congress. In fact, it justly requires a system
that will “enhance” their chances “to win seats in the legislature”, and
the Supreme Court cannot just disregard the legislative will through
judicial legislation especially since RA 7941 has not been declared
unconstitutional. The constitutional and statutory basis for this
principle is that because the poor cannot win in expensive regular
elections, they should be allowed to get that opportunity through the
party-list system. Allowing the district congressmen who composed 80% of
the seats in the House of Representatives to vie for the 20% party list
seats practically nullifies the intent of the party-list system.
Makabayan urges the Supreme Court to reconsider its highly unpopular
decision and preserve the long established social justice doctrine that
the party-list system is only for the marginalized and the
underrepresented. We call on the Commission on Elections to defend its
decision in disqualifying these fake party-list groups and demand
reconsideration from the Supreme Court. We urge the people to protest
against this attempt by the rich and the powerful to deprive them of the
opportunity have a genuine voice and representation in Congress.
Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna)
Rep. Luz Ilagan (Gabriela Womens Party)
Rafael Mariano (Anakpawis)
Rep. Tonchi Tinio (Act Teachers Party List)
Mong Palatino (Kabataan Party List)
Rep. Emmi de Jesus (Gabriela Womens Party)
Rep. Teddy Casino (Bayan Muna)
George San Mateo (PISTON Party-list)
Connie Regalado (MIGRANTE)
Arlene Brosas (AKAP BATA Party-list)
Beverly Longid (KATRIBU Party-list)
Clemente Bautista (KALIKASAN Party-list)
Bartolome Rayco (AKING BIKOLNON)
Ferdinand Gaite (COURAGE)
April 5, 2013
Reference: Satur Ocampo, president Makabayan Coalition Party
Makabayan to COMELEC: Stop harassing progressive party
The Makabayan Coalition Party today hit the Commission
on Election (Comelec) for harassing progressive party list groups.
According to Satur Ocampo, Makabayan president,
“Kabataan Partylist and PISTON are now being threatened with
disqualification even if they already complied with the Commission’s
postering regulations and have been carefully following campaign rules. In
fact there is already a draft order by the Comelec en banc cancelling the
registration of Kabataan partylist and PISTON,”
“It is very petty indeed for the representatives of the
youth and drivers to be disqualified just because of posters. What is more
alarming though is that it seems that our allied party lists are being
singled out and selected for disqualification while others close to the
administration like Akbayan which already has 9 postering violations and
Anak Mindanao whose posters brazenly line up the highway from Dipolog to
Pagadian, are not being cited for disqualification by the Comelec,” said
the former congressman.
Compared to the party-list Piston's 1 notice, and
Kabataan's 7 alleged notices of poster violations, the aforementioned
pro-administration Akbayan and Anak Mindanao party-lists and Risa
Hontiveros (also with 7 violations) have not been subject to any
“Even the legitimate issues being campaigned for by our
party list groups like the campaign opposing violence against women is
prohibited by the Commission. The Comelec and Chairman Brillantes should
not allow themselves to be used by the administration to harass and
suppress the true voices of the marginalized in our society,” ended Ocampo.
News Release| Abril 8, 2013
For Reference: George San Mateo, National President 0909.475.1334
Randy Evangelista, media liaison, 0923.5969798
Drivers groups cry political harassment over moves to disqualify PISTON
We will not let COMELEC disenfranchise millions of drivers and supporters
for Aquino’s vested interest! – PISTON Partylist
PISTON Partylist members, supporters and allied organizations trooped to
the Commission on Elections in Intramuros this morning to protest what
they call a ridiculous attempt to disqualify PISTON and Kabataan from the
partylist elections in the name of advancing Aquino’s interest in the 2013
George San Mateo, national president of PISTON said that from what they
have observed from Comelec’s press releases, the arguments presented in
the hearings may have been in vain since the poll body is dead-set on
harassing progressive partylists with cancellation of accreditation. On
the other hand, Comelec continued to be soft on pro-administration and
Aquino-backed partylists such as Akbayan.
“Even if we are confident that the Comelec had no basis to disqualify us,
we are afraid that they will bully their way into doing so and thereby
disenfranchising millions of drivers and supporters of PISTON.”
“This is not simply about the postering violations they alleged. The
gestures of Comelec screams of politcal harassment directed against the
most vocal critics of the Aquino administration. We are definitely worried
that Comelec has been cooking our disqualification in order to harass the
progressive partylists who have been very critical of Malacanang and
Comelec’s handling of the 2013 elections.”
PISTON also criticized what it called a choreographed move by the Supreme
Court to remand the cases of disqualified partylists to Comelec despite
having been proven to be organized by rich and powerful politicians.
“Dancing to the same tune as Comelec, the Supreme Court virtually erased
the spirit of the partylist law. That is, to provide an avenue for
marginalized sectors of our society to get seats in the elite-dominated
Philippine congress. As if opposing its own decision, the Supreme Court
had ordered the Comelec to allow the ‘partylists of the rich and powerful’
through guidelines that defeat the very purpose of the law and its own
jurisprudence such as the Ang Bagong Bayani case.”
“The yellow force have been busy at work as election day approaches.
First, they allow Akbayan, Aquino’s pet partylist, to run despite being in
the center of power. Then they try to disqualify progressive partylists
with absurd cases of campaign violations. Now, they allow the rich and
powerful to run against marginalized partylists through their
intentionally skewed interpretation. This elections could turn out to be
the dirtiest in terms of manipulation by the incumbent administration.”
San Mateo explained their plans should the Comelec cancel PISTON’s
accreditation. “Alam nyo ang mga driver, alam nyo ang PISTON, hindi kami
umaatras sa laban kahit gaano kalaki ang kapangyarihan ng sasagupain namin.
We will show Comelec the potent force of drivers across the country should
they try to disqualify us. We will not allow ourselves to be
disenfranchised by a yellow Comelec.” # # #
attachment: chronology of the absurd case against PISTON Partylist
Labanan ang Panggigipit sa Piston Partylist!
Malinaw na pampulitikang panggigipit ang ginagawa ng gobyernong Aquino sa
pamamagitan ng Comelec sa Piston Partylist!
Iregular ang proseso ng pagpapaabot ng babala sa Piston kaugnay ng
pagdidikit ng poster. Sa kabila nito, nag-comply ang Piston. Pero
nagtuluy-tuloy ang Comelec sa trial by publicity laban sa Piston, kahit
wala pang kasong isinasampa.
At nang magsampa ito ng kaso, nagbatay ito sa mabuway na ebidensya – sa
nag-iisang poster sa isang lamp post sa Taft Avenue na natuklasan ng
Comelec ilang araw matapos magpadala ng babala sa Piston.
Pebrero 19 – dinala sa tanggapan ng Piston ng isang staff ng Kabataan
Partylist ang isang liham mula sa Comelec na inihatid sa tanggapan ng
kanilang partylist. Tungkol ang liham sa umano’y nakadikit na mga poster
ng Piston sa tapat ng Philippine General Hospital sa Taft Avenue.
Pebrero 20 – Bagamat hindi direktang ipinaabot sa tanggapan ng Piston ang
sulat, seryosong tinugunan ng Piston ang naturang liham: Ipinatupad ang
atas ng sulat na baklasin ang poster sa nabanggit na lugar.
Pebrero 26 – Nagpadala ang Piston ng Letter of Compliance sa Comelec.
Tinatakan ito ng Comelec na pormal na natanggap noong Pebrero 27.
Huling linggo ng Pebrero – umugong ang balita ng pagsasampa ng kaso ng
Comelec para idiskwalipika ang Piston kahit wala itong natatanggap na
anumang pormal na liham mula Comelec hinggil sa isyu.
Marso 4 – Para matiyak, pinuntahan ng mga opisyal ng Piston ang Comelec
para itanong ang nabalitang pagsasampa ng kaso. Pero ayon sa Law
Department ng Comelec, wala itong binubuong kaso o ginagawang sulat para
sa Piston. Ganoon din ang pahayag ng opisina ni Comelec chair Sixto
Marso 11 – halos magkasabay na dumating ang dalawang liham sa opisina ng
Piston na ipinapaalam ang dalawang magkahiwalay na pagdinig – ng en banc
session ng Comelec sa Marso 15 hinggil sa cancellation ng accreditation (kaugnay
ng hindi pagtanggal ng poster sa kabila ng notice), at ng Law Department
ng Comelec sa Marso 20 hinggil sa kasong kriminal (kaugnay ng pagdidikit
Sa pagdinig ng Comelec en banc, lumalabas na:
>> Ibinatay ng Comelec ang kaso sa ilang larawang lumabas sa Twitter na
nagpapakita umano ng mga poster ng Piston sa isang center island ng Taft
Avenue. Nakuha ang larawan noong Pebrero 19, ang araw na inihatid ang
>> Walang affidavit ang may-account sa Twitter na nagpapahintulot gamiting
ebidensya ang kanyang larawan kaya hindi magagamit na pormal na ebidensya
ang larawan niya sa pagdinig.
>> Nag-inspeksyon lang ang Comelec sa naturang lugar noong Pebrero 23. Ang
nakita nito sa inspeksyon: nag-iisang poster ng Piston sa tuntungan ng
lamp post, na nag-iisa rin sa buong Taft Avenue.
Kinokondena namin ang panggigipit sa partylist ng mga drayber at maralita,
ang Piston Partylist! Iprotesta natin ang panggigipit na ito at ang
pagpabor ng Comelec sa makapangyarihang mga partylist at kandidato at sa
April 7, 2013
Reference: Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, +639209035683
CASIÑO: DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF MIGRANTS AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE
Assails Comelec, government for inadequate number of PCOS machines,
ballots for Overseas Absentee Voting
Hong Kong, SAR - Makabayan senatorial bet Teddy Casiño said the
disenfranchisement of Filipino migrants because of a shortage of ballots
and Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines may be an impeachable
offense if it occurs on a massive scale as feared by various OFW groups.
“The outright disenfranchisement of our citizens is a betrayal of the
public trust which is an impeachable offense. It is preposterous for the
Commission on Elections (Comelec) to succeed in expanding the Overseas
Absentee Voting (OAV) when in Hong Kong alone they reduced the number of
PCOS machines from 22 to nine (9),” the progressive lawmaker said during
his miting de avance in Hong Kong.
Earlier last month, Comelec informed the Filipino community in Hong Kong
that while they increased the number of countries covered by the OAV, they
will reduce the number of PCOS machines in this country to only nine.
“This is especially problematic because the registered voters in Hong Kong
have increased to 122,820 from 95,000 in 2010. I wonder how Comelec
derived that 9 PCOS machines will be enough when the Filipino community
itself has been protesting the move,” Casiño said.
“While voting is up to 30 days, most of our Filipino workers are available
on Sundays only. In 2010, 6,000 migrants voted on one Sunday of the OAV.
With the number of PCOS machines reduced and the precinct locations
sparse, migrants fear that the number of actual votes will drop and
thousands of OFWs will be disenfranchised,” the three-term congressman
Casiño said this does not even factor in the insufficient number of
ballots since Comelec reduced the number of ballots in Hong Kong by
31,941, leaving that number of voters with no ballot allocation. This was
due to an earlier delisting of 240,000 overseas voters which the Comelec
later reinstated but without ballot allocations.
Casino appealed to the Comelec to increase the number of voting centers
overseas, especially in Hong Kong, the Middle East and Australia, where
voters have to travel hundreds of kilometres and spend for airfare just to
register and vote.
Hong Kong has been the top post for overseas absentee voting and is home
to more than 150,000 Filipino migrants. The Makabayan Coalition candidate
said he was determined to bring "Takbo ni Teddy" to the OFW communities in
different parts of the globe. Casiño, whose platform focuses on the needs
of the common folk, said he has long been involved in migrants issues,
from initiating investigations into various transgressions of employers
and recruitment agencies to crafting measures that help address problems
faced by overseas Filipino workers.###
April 7, 2013
Reference: Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, +639209035683
CASIÑO, MIGRANTE STAGE MITING DE AVANCE IN HONG KONG
Takbo ni Teddy launched in Victoria Park, amid thousands of Filipino
Hong Kong, SAR - As the Philippines endure the sizzling summer heat of the
campaign season, senatorial bet Teddy Casiño kicked off his Hong Kong-leg
sortie by running around Victoria Park and greeting Filipino migrants amid
the cool weather.
The Makabayan Coalition candidate said he was determined to bring "Takbo
ni Teddy" to the OFW communities in different parts of the globe.
"Ang mga migrante ang isa sa mga sektor na layon kong pagsilbihan kapag
ako ay nahalal sa Senado," the three-term congressman explained.
Casiño, whose platform focuses on the needs of the common folk, said he
has long been involved in migrants issues, from initiating investigations
into various transgressions of employers and recruitment agencies to
crafting measures that help address problems faced by overseas Filipino
"I vow to continue our fight in the Senate, to uphold and protect the
rights of Filipino migrant workers and to create local opportunities for
them by developing national industries and creating jobs with adequate
wages," he said.
Together with Migrante party-list, Casiño addressed Filipinos in Hong Kong
during a miting de avance along Chater Road in Central.
Casiño discussed his plans for Filipino migrants, including measures to
ensure that government agencies support and defend Filipino migrant
workers against abusive employers and recruiting agencies and the removal
of excessive fees and exploitative policies.
"Presidents of yesterday and today proclaimed OFWs as modern-day heroes by
uplifting not only their families' lives, but also momentarily boosting
the country's economy. However, it is saddening to learn about their real
situation. How they have sacrificed so much but are neglected by the
government," he said.
He added that his comprehensive platform of agrarian reform, national
industrialization and lower prices will effectively address the root of
the problem: lack of regular and adequate-paying jobs in the country.
"Government should have long deserted the labor export program and had
instead invested in national industries and agriculture which will create
wealth and livelihood for the country.
Hong Kong has been the top post for overseas absentee voting and is home
to more than 150,000 Filipino migrants.###
06 April 2013
For Reference: REP LUZVIMINDA C. ILAGAN 0920-9213221
REP. EMMI A. DE JESUS 0917-3221203
Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 0917-4049119
GABRIELA WOMEN’S PARTY ASSAILS SC PARTYLIST RULING
Women's partylist group Gabriela assailed today the Supreme Court ruling
setting guidelines in the determination of partylist qualification and
remanding all partylist disqualification petitions to the Commission on
Gabriela Women's Party Representatives Luz Ilagan and Emmi De Jesus both
said the decision practically defeats the essence of the Partylist Law
which supposedly gives marginalized sectors a chance for representation in
the House of Representatives.
"The Partylist System was created to favor the poor, marginalized and
underrepresented sectors. It was supposed to give farmers, workers,
informal settlers, indigenous groups and women-- sectors whose opinions
are often relegated to the sidelines, the chance to take active part in
legislation and policy making. The Supreme Court ruling takes an entirely
opposite direction. It makes a mockery of the Partylist system," said
De Jesus said that the SC ruling will allow more political dynasties and
individuals representing interests of big businesses and the elite to
abuse the partylist system. "We have a Congress dominated by landlords and
hacienderos, multi-millionaires, big business interests. The SC ruling
further paves the way for anti-poor legislation."
Gabriela Women's Party, along with allied partylist organizations in the
Makabayan bloc is set to hold protest on Monday at the COMELEC and the
Supreme Court following a press conference at 10:00AM. #