The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has disqualified 12 new party-list groups, including one that claims to represent household helpers but whose nominees all have background in business. The groups are: Manila Teachers Savings and Loans Association Ala-Eh (Association of Local Athletics Entrepreneurs and Hobbyists Sel-J (Sports Excellence for Healthier Life’s Journey) Kasambahay (Asosasyon ng mga Kasambahay sa Pilipinas) 1-Serve the People Ako An Bisaya Abyan Ilonggo Democratic Alliance (Dahon) 1 Para sa Bayan 1 Alliance Advocating Autonomy Alab ng Pusong Pinoy Foundation Akbay Kalusugan “Palaging sa marginalized tayo nag-uusap. ‘Yun ang general ruling. They don’t fall under the marginalized," Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. told reporters Friday. Brillantes cited Manila Teachers and Kasambahay, which claim to represent teachers with savings and loans, and domestic helpers, respectively.
He said the nominees of these groups do not belong to the sectors they claim to represent. Brillantes said the 12 party-list groups were accredited in the division level but the commissioners en banc reversed the decision. He said the en banc voted 5-2 on the 12 party-list groups. He, however, refused to identify the two dissenting commissioners. Renato Reyes of election watchdog Kontra Daya has identified some of the disqualified groups as having ties to government officials and entrepreneurs as indicated in their petitions for accreditation. He cited Ala-Eh as a regional party for Region IV represented by a certain Elmer Anuran, president of Saved by the Bell Promotions and the owner of the Touch Gloves Boxing Gym in Agoncillo, Batangas. Meanwhile, the first nominee of Region VI party-list Abyan Ilonggo is Rolex Suplico, who was Iloilo fifth district representative during the 13th Congress. Meanwhile, Region VIII party-list Ako An Bisaya’s first nominee is Rodolfo Tuazon, who was Samar first district representative from 1992 to 2001. Para sa Bayan first nominee Lorenzo Zuniga Jr. was an unsuccessful mayoralty candidate in Alaminos, Laguna, in 2010. Kasambahay’s nominees Rosemarie Palma, Ophella Javier, Carmelito Tungia, Gil Llano, and Merlinda Adasa have all identified themselves in their certificates of acceptance as businessman/woman. “Malamang hindi mga katulong ito. Baka mga mayordoma ito,” Brillantes said in jest. Meanwhile, first nominees Carmelita Crisologo of Akbay Kalusugan, Pantaleon Alvarez of Alliance Advocating Autonomy, Mauro John Reyes of Serve the People, and Alfredo Ripoll of Alab ng Pusong Pinoy are lawyers. The Comelec has so far disqualified seven party-lists that have sitting representatives in the 15th Congress — Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy; regional group Ako Bicol; Ang Galing Pinoy (AGP), whose incumbent representative is Mikey Arroyo, eldest son of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; APEC and 1-CARE, which claim to represent electricity consumers; and Aangat Tayo, representing urban poor, women, elderly and youth; and Kapatiran ng mga Nakulong na Walang Sala, which represents penal institutions and prisoners. Previously disqualified from taking part in next year's polls are registered party-list groups Bantay, whose representative in the 14th Congress was suspect-at-large retired general Jovito Palparan; AGRI; AKMA-PTM; AKO AGILA; AKO BAHAY; PACYAW; PM MASDA; COFA; ARARO; KATUTUBO; OPO; Cocofed; AAMA; Bayani; Abang-Lingkod; AANI; A-IPRA; AME; Greenforce; Firm 24-K Association Inc.; ALIM; ALMA; Kaagapay; and SMART. All took part during the 2010 elections. Meanwhile, the groups Kabalikat ng Bayan sa Kaunlaran and Alliance of Bicolnon Party were axed as party-lists but allowed to participate as political parties. Canceled accreditations The poll body has in total canceled the accreditation of 27 new applicants. Previously announced were: Black and White Movement Courage Government Employees party-list, which supposedly represents rank-and-file government officials; Guardian; Hukbong Querubin Humanitarian Team; Ikaw ang Laging Wagi ng Bayan (Ilaw); Samahang Ilocanong Magsasaka; Angat Ahon Magsasaka; Guardians of Orphans and Disabled; Una Edukasyon, Kalikasan Green Party, A-Seamariners Inc., Education Development Services for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Ram Guardians, Alyansa para sa Demokrasya, and Association of Airline and Airport Workers In the May 2010 polls, 187 organizations took part in the party-list system. To date, 112 groups have been disqualified or de-listed from participating in next year's race. Meanwhile, the poll body has approved the party-list bids of Akbayan Citizens' Action Party, Bayan Muna, PISTON (Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide), Ating Agapay Sentrong Samahan ng mga Obrera (Aasenso), Aagapay sa Matatanda, Ang Nars Inc. and Pilipinos with Disabilities. The party-list system — legislated under Republic Act 7941 — aims to open the House of Representatives to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors. — Marc Jayson Cayabyab/KBK, GMA News