Party-list group fails Comelec test to participate in next year’s polls

Posted on November 23, 2012

AN ADMINISTRATION party-list group ally yesterday failed to get accredited for next year’s midterm elections as it had no record of representing marginalized groups, an official said.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Director James Arthur B. Jimenez, who is also spokesman for the poll body, said in a phone interview that the nominees of the Black and White Movement, which advocates transparent and accountable government, "are not marginalized."

The group’s nominees cannot be reached for comment. One of its prominent leaders is singer Leah Navarro.

The five commissioners who voted to deny the accreditation are Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr., chairman, and Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph and Rene V. Sarmiento.

The two commissioners who abstained are Christian Robert S. Lim, who is close to some of the group’s members, and Ma. Gracia Cielo M. Padaca.

A total of 80 groups have so far been barred from participating in the May 2013 polls, including eight that were able to obtain a stay order on their disqualification from the Supreme Court.

The high court has asked the Comelec to comment on claims that it violated the groups’ right to due process.

The party-list groups are Ako Bicol (AKB), Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC), Alliance for Rural Concerns (ARC), Kapatiran ng mga Nakulong na Walang Sala, Inc. (KAKUSA), Aksyon Magsasaka-Partido Tinig ng Masa (AKMA-PTM), Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction, Inc. (ARARO), Association for Righteousness Advocacy on Leadership (ARAL), and 1st Consumer’s Alliance for Rural Energy Inc. (1-CARE).

The Comelec has continued the purging of "unqualified" party-list groups in line with its campaign to cleanse the system of groups that do not represent the marginalized.

A total of 187 party-list groups participated in the May 2010 general elections.