Commission on Elections (Comelec) has disqualified a top party-list group already serving in the House of Representatives as well as 12 others for failing to justify their representations.
Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. said an en banc resolution cancels the existing accreditation of AKO BICOL, which acquired more than 1.5 million votes in the May 2010 polls.
"We are not allowing them to run in the 2013 partylist elections... They are a duly-accredited political party but they are trying to run as a party-list without representing any particular sector," Brillantes explained.
"They did not file a special petition for the 2013 elections. It does not mean that if you're a political party you can just run in the partylist system without filing a separate petition," he added.
In a six-page resolution, Comelec said AKO BICOL failed to present pieces of evidence proving that they represent or seek to uplift a marginalized and underepresented sector.
The poll body also disallowed AKO BICOL, which acquired three seats in the House of Representatives in 15th Congress, from joinining party-list elections since Bicolanos is not considered as indigenous peoples.
"Bicolanos, as a group, can hardly be associated with labor peasants, fisherfolk, urban poor, elderly, persons with disabilities, women, youth veterans, overseas workers, professionals or LGBTs," the resolution said.
"This grouping is also based on graphical locations. These provinces have their respective districts in the Lower House," it noted.
At the same time, Comelec cited the group's background and nominees as another reason for the cancellation of AKO BICOL's accreditation for party-list.
Incumbent AKO BICOL Rep. Christopher Co is a businessman while fellow lawmakers Rodel Batocabe and Alfredo Garbin Jr are both lawyers by profession.
Citing a unanimous decision, Brillantes clarified their decision will not affect the existing terms of AKO BICOL's incumbent representatives in Lower House.
"The reason why we announce this early is so that we can give an opportunity to AKO BICOL to rush to the Supreme Court and question our resolution," he noted.
In a separate resolution, Comelec en banc also cancelled the accredition of the following existing party-list groups for their failure to prove efforts in uplifting marginalized or underrepresented sectors:
2. 1-Bro Philippine Guardians Brotherhood Inc, (1-BRO PGBI)
3. 1Guardians Nationalists of the Philippines, Inc. or 1GANAP/Guardians
4. First People's Initiative fir Indigent Student Athletes (1st PRISA)
5. A Blessed Party-list
6. Alliance for National Urban Poor Organizations Assembly, Inc or ANUPA
7. Alliance for Rural Concerns or ARC
8. Association for Righteousness Advocacy on Leadership or ARAL
9. Atong Paglaum
10. Organization of Regional Advocates for Good Governance Onward Nation-Building or Oragon
11. United Movement Against Drug Foundation, Inc. or UNIMAD
12. Yes We Can
Earlier this year, Comelec issued a resolution re-evaluating the accredition of a total of 289 party-list groups.
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