Comelec accredits Bayan Muna, Akbayan for 2013 midterm polls

Posted on November 21, 2012

TWO PARTY-LIST groups -- Akbayan and Bayan Muna -- were yesterday allowed to participate in next year’s midterm elections.

Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr., chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), said commissioners voted 4-2 allowing the two groups to seek reelection at the House of Representatives.

Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Elias R. Yusoph, Christian Robert S. Lim and Armando C. Velasco voted in favor of the groups citing their ability to represent the marginalized sectors.

Mr. Brillantes and Commissioner Lucenito N. Tagle, meanwhile, dissented.

Commissioner Ma. Gracia Cielo M. Padaca abstained as she was not part of past deliberations on both groups, Mr. Brillantes said.

Mr. Brillantes cited the "multi-sectoral" nature of the groups as basis of his opposition.

Petitions for the disqualification of Akbayan have been filed by different groups which claimed that it is pro-administration.

Nine Akbayan members and affiliates have been identified as occupying key positions in the government.

Sought for comment, Akbayan Rep. Walden F. Bello said in a text message: "As the decision said, we have a track record of serving the marginalized sectors. And it also said that having people in government was not a reason to disqualify a group from participating in the party-list elections."

For his part, Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, Jr. said in a phone interview: "In the past, we have always been accredited because we have proven that we are qualified to represent various sectors. Our nominees even come from those sectors."

Akbayan and Bayan Muna join Ang Nars, Inc., a group of nurses, which was accredited last week by the poll body.

The Comelec has been proceeding with the issuance of rulings on the fate of party-list groups even as the Supreme Court last week halted the implementation of the poll body’s decisions that disqualified several groups. -- RJND