Dubious groups likely to dominate party-list race again based on Pulse Asia survey

May 8, 2019

Reacting to a recent survey, Kontra Daya has flagged at least 35 would-be party-list representatives who do not belong to the marginalized sectors of society.

Based on Kontra Daya’s research, these representatives come from 25 party-list groups that (1) have links to political dynasties or officials already elected in other positions; (2) represent special business interests; or (3) possess questionable advocacies and nominees.

The Pulse Asia survey on party-list representatives conducted from April 10 to 14 which was released last May 3 showed that 76 percent of respondents have heard, read or watched something about the party-list system. Considering that party-list elections have been conducted every three years since 1998, the fact that about one-fourth of the respondents are not aware of the party-list system is alarming to say the least.

Dynastic groups

What proves to be even more alarming is the prevalence of political dynasties in the party-list system. Given enough time, the party-list system has mirrored other elected positions in government, where members of the same family take turns in running and occupying party-list seats.

AKO BICOL (#141, 3 seats) has Justin Caesar Anthony Batocabe as second nominee. He is the son of the slain Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe.

PROBINSYANO AKO (#91, 2 seats) is essentially an extension of the Ilocos-based Fariñas political dynasty. Its first nominee Rudys Caesar Fariñas I is barangay captain of 55-A, Laoag, Ilocos Norte and is the son of Ilocos Rep. Rudy Farinas. Its second nominee Lira Fuster Fariñas is the wife of Laoag City Administrator Jami Farinas who is also related to Rep. Fariñas.

ANAC-IP (#58, 2 seats) has Jose Panganiban, Jr. and Lourdes Panganiban as first and second nominees. The first nominee is the incumbent ANAC-IP Rep. and former vice mayor of Angandanan, Isabela. The second nominee is the incumbent mayor of Angandanan, Isabel and the wife of Jose Panganiban, Jr.OFW FAMILY (#7, 1 seat) has Alberto Pacquiao as first nominee. The surname may sound familiar as he is the brother of Sen. Manny Pacquiao and is also a councilor in General Santos City. Meanwhile, another familiar surname belongs to Roy Señeres, Jr., the second nominee, who happens to be the son of the late Rep. Roy Señeres. The latter used to be the party-list group’s representative until his death.

YACAP (#137, 1 seat) is basically a Lopez and Abaya group. The first nominee, Carol Jane Lopez, was its party-list representative in the 14th and 15th Congresses. The third nominee, Benhur Lopez, Jr., is the brother of the first nominee and is the incumbent party-list group’s representative. Incidentally, the second nominee, Plaridel Abaya, is a former representative of the 1st District of Cavite and is the father of former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

A TEACHER (#131, 1 seat) has Ma. Victoria Umali as second nominee. She is the sister of Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso Umali.

ABONO (#76, 1 seat) is controlled by two political dynasties from La Union and Pangasinan. Its first nominee Conrado Estrella III used to be in Congress as a representative of Pangasinan and he is the brother of Robert Raymond Estrella, the party-list group’s representative from 2013 to 2016. The second nominee Vini Nola Ortega is the incumbent party-list group’s representative and the wife of La Union Governor Pacoy Ortega. The third nominee Clemente Arboleda, Sr. is an incumbent Pangasinan 5th district provincial board member.

AN WARAY (#43, 1 seat) has Florencio Gabriel Noel as first nominee. He used to be the party-list group’s representative in 2004. His sister is the incumbent party-list group’s representative. On the other hand, his wife Jaye Lacson-Noel used to be the district representative of Malabon City.

DUMPER PTDA (#20, 1 seat) claims to represent public transportation drivers and commuters but the first nominee Claudine Diana Bautista is the daughter of Davao Occidental Governor Claude Bautista and is the owner of a basketball team of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).

DUTERTE YOUTH (#157, 1 seat) is basically a Cardema party-list as the partylist chair Ronald Cardema is also the chair of the National Youth Commission (NYC). His wife Ducelle Marie Suarez is the first nominee while his relative Elizabeth Anne Cardema is the fifth nominee.

ABANG LINGKOD (#163, 1 seat) has Eric Saratan, MD as second nominee. He is the former mayor of Talisay City and whose wife ran for the same position in 2016 but lost.PBA (#26, 1 seat) is an extension of the Nograles dynasty. First nominee Jericho Jonas Nograles is the son of former House Speaker Prospero Nograles and brother of Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles. The third nominee Margarita Ignacia Nograles is the sister of the first nominee.Special business interestsThere are also flagged party-list groups that appear to have special business interests. Incidentally, some of them had already been flagged for having links to political dynasties or officials already elected in other positions.

AKO BIKOL (#141, 3 seats) is said to be backed by the family of Elizaldy Co, chairperson of Sunwest Group Holding Co, Inc. The Cos are a rich and influential family in Albay, with interests in construction, real estate, malls, resorts, energy, mining and aviation. As regards the party-list group’s third nominee who replaced the slain Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe, Ronald Ang was vice-president of Sunwest Group before becoming a party-list representative.

MAGSASAKA (#3, 3 seats) claims to represent peasants but it is tied to DV Boer Farm founder Soliman Alaer “Dexter” Villamin Jr. Incidentally, the party-list group’s second nominee is Soliman Villamin, Sr.

ACT-CIS (#101, 3 seats) has as its second nominee Jocelyn Tulfo, wife of broadcaster Raffy Tulfo and sister-in-law of newly-appointed Special Envoy to China Mon Tulfo.

APEC (#24, 2 seats) hardly represents the marginalized sectors because its five nominees are high-ranking officials of various electric cooperatives. For example, its first nominee Sergio Dagooc is president of the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives.

AGAP (#115, 2 seats) has as its first nominee Rico Geron who is general manager of Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative in Batangas City. Its business activities include “contract growing, loans, cable television and Internet.” It also has a feed mill which was subject to a strike in 2016. The party-list group’s third nominee is Victorino Michael Lescano, chairperson of the Batangas Egg Producers’ Cooperative.

ANAC-IP (#58, 2 seats) has Garry James Arenas as its third nominee. He is president and CEO of Spark Global Tech System Inc. and used to work at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

PHILRECA (#172, 1 seat) has for its five nominees high-ranking officials (legal counsel in the case of its third nominee) of various electric cooperatives. Its first nominee Presley De Jesus, for example, is board president of the Isabela I Electric Cooperative.

RECOBODA (#151, 1 seat) has as its first nominee Godofredo Guya who is general manager of Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (DASURECO) and president of Marbel School of Science and Technology. Its third nominee Josie Calonsag is board secretary of the South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative (SOCOTECO) while its fourth nominee Al Castillon is a board member of DASURECO and Digos North.

A TEACHER (#131, 1 seat) is hardly representative of teachers considering that its first nominee is Mariano Piamonte, Jr. He is former head of the CEAP and former board member of a private university in Malolos who has consistently spoken out against tuition rollbacks in private universities.BHW (#150, 1 seat) has as its second nominee Jason Rodenas who is legal officer for a real estate company in Legazpi.

WOW PILIPINAS (#169, 1 seat) has Patricia Keng as first nominee. She is the daughter of industrialist Wilfredo Keng who filed a libel suit against Rappler CEO Maria Ressa.1PACMAN (#122, 1 seat) has as its first nominee Michael Romero, son of construction magnate Reghis Romero II. Michael Romero has various business interests and is considered the richest lawmaker in the country with a net worth of P7 billion.

CWS (#16, 1 seat) has second and third nominees who are high-ranking officials of construction firms. Second nominee Earel Benedicto Gardiola is founder and president of a Batangas construction firm Lourel Development Corporation. Third nominee Dionisio Toreja is from the Toreja Construction Corporation. Incidentally, construction firms linked to the Gardiola clan from Batangas have figured in several controversies involving anomalous government projects.

PBA (#26, 1 seat) has as its second nominee Mark Aeron Sambar who is a member of the board of directors of Gweilo Corp. which owns several Metro Manila restaurants.ConclusionThese questionable party-list groups are likely to be elected if elections were held during the survey period (April 10-14). Kontra Daya calls on the public to make an informed choice and to uphold the true intent of the party-list system. We hope that only those that champion the marginalized and underrepresented would emerge victorious in the May 13 polls.

Contact person: Assoc. Prof. Danilo A. Arao, convenor, Kontra Daya

ANAC-IP Rep. and former vice mayor of Angandanan, Isabela. The second nominee is the incumbent mayor of Angandanan, Isabel and the wife of Jose Panganiban, Jr.OFW FAMILY (#7, 1 seat) has Alberto Pacquiao as first nominee. The surname may sound familiar as he is the brother of Sen. Manny Pacquiao and is also a councilor in General Santos City. Meanwhile, another familiar surname belongs to Roy Señeres, Jr., the second nominee, who happens to be the son of the late Rep. Roy Señeres. The latter used to be the party-list group’s representative until his death.YACAP (#137, 1 seat) is basically a Lopez and Abaya group. The first nominee, Carol Jane Lopez, was its party-list representative in the 14th and 15th Congresses. The third nominee, Benhur Lopez, Jr., is the brother of the first nominee and is the incumbent party-list group’s representative. Incidentally, the second nominee, Plaridel Abaya, is a former representative of the 1st District of Cavite and is the father of former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.A TEACHER (#131, 1 seat) has Ma. Victoria Umali as second nominee. She is the sister of Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso Umali.ABONO (#76, 1 seat) is controlled by two political dynasties from La Union and Pangasinan. Its first nominee Conrado Estrella III used to be in Congress as a representative of Pangasinan and he is the brother of Robert Raymond Estrella, the party-list group’s representative from 2013 to 2016. The second nominee Vini Nola Ortega is the incumbent party-list group’s representative and the wife of La Union Governor Pacoy Ortega. The third nominee Clemente Arboleda, Sr. is an incumbent Pangasinan 5th district provincial board member.AN WARAY (#43, 1 seat) has Florencio Gabriel Noel as first nominee. He used to be the party-list group’s representative in 2004. His sister is the incumbent party-list group’s representative. On the other hand, his wife Jaye Lacson-Noel used to be the district representative of Malabon City.DUMPER PTDA (#20, 1 seat) claims to represent public transportation drivers and commuters but the first nominee Claudine Diana Bautista is the daughter of Davao Occidental Governor Claude Bautista and is the owner of a basketball team of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).DUTERTE YOUTH (#157, 1 seat) is basically a Cardema party-list as the partylist chair Ronald Cardema is also the chair of the National Youth Commission (NYC). His wife Ducelle Marie Suarez is the first nominee while his relative Elizabeth Anne Cardema is the fifth nominee.ABANG LINGKOD (#163, 1 seat) has Eric Saratan, MD as second nominee. He is the former mayor of Talisay City and whose wife ran for the same position in 2016 but lost.PBA (#26, 1 seat) is an extension of the Nograles dynasty. First nominee Jericho Jonas Nograles is the son of former House Speaker Prospero Nograles and brother of Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles. The third nominee Margarita Ignacia Nograles is the sister of the first nominee.Special business interestsThere are also flagged party-list groups that appear to have special business interests. Incidentally, some of them had already been flagged for having links to political dynasties or officials already elected in other positions.AKO BIKOL (#141, 3 seats) is said to be backed by the family of Elizaldy Co, chairperson of Sunwest Group Holding Co, Inc. The Cos are a rich and influential family in Albay, with interests in construction, real estate, malls, resorts, energy, mining and aviation. As regards the party-list group’s third nominee who replaced the slain Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe, Ronald Ang was vice-president of Sunwest Group before becoming a party-list representative. MAGSASAKA (#3, 3 seats) claims to represent peasants but it is tied to DV Boer Farm founder Soliman Alaer “Dexter” Villamin Jr. Incidentally, the party-list group’s second nominee is Soliman Villamin, Sr.ACT-CIS (#101, 3 seats) has as its second nominee Jocelyn Tulfo, wife of broadcaster Raffy Tulfo and sister-in-law of newly-appointed Special Envoy to China Mon Tulfo.APEC (#24, 2 seats) hardly represents the marginalized sectors because its five nominees are high-ranking officials of various electric cooperatives. For example, its first nominee Sergio Dagooc is president of the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives.AGAP (#115, 2 seats) has as its first nominee Rico Geron who is general manager of Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative in Batangas City. Its business activities include “contract growing, loans, cable television and Internet.” It also has a feed mill which was subject to a strike in 2016. The party-list group’s third nominee is Victorino Michael Lescano, chairperson of the Batangas Egg Producers’ Cooperative.ANAC-IP (#58, 2 seats) has Garry James Arenas as its third nominee. He is president and CEO of Spark Global Tech System Inc. and used to work at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).PHILRECA (#172, 1 seat) has for its five nominees high-ranking officials (legal counsel in the case of its third nominee) of various electric cooperatives. Its first nominee Presley De Jesus, for example, is board president of the Isabela I Electric Cooperative.RECOBODA (#151, 1 seat) has as its first nominee Godofredo Guya who is general manager of Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (DASURECO) and president of Marbel School of Science and Technology. Its third nominee Josie Calonsag is board secretary of the South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative (SOCOTECO) while its fourth nominee Al Castillon is a board member of DASURECO and Digos North.A TEACHER (#131, 1 seat) is hardly representative of teachers considering that its first nominee is Mariano Piamonte, Jr. He is former head of the CEAP and former board member of a private university in Malolos who has consistently spoken out against tuition rollbacks in private universities.BHW (#150, 1 seat) has as its second nominee Jason Rodenas who is legal officer for a real estate company in Legazpi.WOW PILIPINAS (#169, 1 seat) has Patricia Keng as first nominee. She is the daughter of industrialist Wilfredo Keng who filed a libel suit against Rappler CEO Maria Ressa.1PACMAN (#122, 1 seat) has as its first nominee Michael Romero, son of construction magnate Reghis Romero II. Michael Romero has various business interests and is considered the richest lawmaker in the country with a net worth of P7 billion.CWS (#16, 1 seat) has second and third nominees who are high-ranking officials of construction firms. Second nominee Earel Benedicto Gardiola is founder and president of a Batangas construction firm Lourel Development Corporation. Third nominee Dionisio Toreja is from the Toreja Construction Corporation. Incidentally, construction firms linked to the Gardiola clan from Batangas have figured in several controversies involving anomalous government projects.PBA (#26, 1 seat) has as its second nominee Mark Aeron Sambar who is a member of the board of directors of Gweilo Corp. which owns several Metro Manila restaurants.ConclusionThese questionable party-list groups are likely to be elected if elections were held during the survey period (April 10-14). Kontra Daya calls on the public to make an informed choice and to uphold the true intent of the party-list system. We hope that only those that champion the marginalized and underrepresented would emerge victorious in the May 13 polls.Contact person: Assoc. Prof. Danilo A. Arao, convenor, Kontra Daya

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