Comelec disqualifies ‘Atong Paglaum,’ 12 other party list groups

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/12 October)  The Commission on Elections sitting en banc disqualified Bukidnon-based party list group “Atong Paglaum” (Our Hope) and 12 others in a resolution announced to Manila-based reporters this week.

Atong Paglaum, a party list backed by Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. in the 2010 elections was included in the initial list of party list groups disqualified. The Comelec hinted the disqualification of 40 more groups.

In a briefing Tuesday, Comelec Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. announced that the commission unanimously rejected the participation of 13 accredited groups. He was quoted as saying that these groups “do not represent a marginalized sector.”

Also in the list was Ako Bicol, which obtained the highest number of votes in the 2010 national elections allowing it to have three seats in the House of Representatives.

Aside from Atong Paglaum and Ako Bicol, the list includes 1-AANI, 1-BRO PGBI, 1GANAP/Guardians, 1st Prisa, A Blessed, Alliance for National Urban Poor Organizations Assembly Inc (Anupa), Alliance for Rural Concerns (ARC), Association for Righteousness Advocacy on Leadership (Aral), Organization of Regional Advocates for Good Governance Onward Nation-Building (Oragon), United Movement Against Drug Foundation Inc (Unimad), and Yes We Can.

Brilliantes was quoted in reports as saying the party list groups may remain political groups but cannot field candidate for the 2013 elections.

Unlike Ako Bicol, Atong Paglaum did not win a seat in 2010.

Lawyer Oliver Owen Garcia, legal counsel of the provincial level political party Bukidnon Paglaum Party, headed by Zubiri, denied reports it was the BPP that was disqualified.

He said they heard of the disqualification of Atong Paglaum and recognized that their party head, Zubiri, endorsed the group in 2010. But he wouldn’t confirm if indeed Zubiri formed the party-list.

Garcia said BPP and Atong Paglaum are separate entities.

But board member Nemesio Beltran Jr, a BPP party member, told this reporter that Atong Paglaum’s first nominee Engr. Rodolfo Pancrudo is a close ally of Zubiri.

– Walter I. Balane|