May 30, 2013
Kontra Daya convenor Fr. Joe Dizon today warned party list groups not to contract out their seats through term sharing agreements as that would not only be a violation of election laws but also violates the will of the electorate and the purpose of the party list system.
The warning came after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order on the further proclamation of partylist representatives because of a petition filed by disqualified group Senior Citizens. The group has been disqualified with finality by the Comelec because of an illegal term-sharing agreement among its nominees.
“A party list representative cannot just contract out his seat in congress as if the partylist system is a business venture or a family affair. A nominee must be elected through a convention after consultation with the sector he seeks to represent, it’s not something you can give in exchange for money or other benefits. I think, in the case of Senior Citizns, the Comelec got interested in their case not only because of the term sharing agreement between Rep. Arquiza and Rep. Kho who are among the richest partylist congressmen, but also because one of the nominees that Rep. Arquiza wants to sit was his wife. Partylist groups cannot be treated as a conjugal property” said Fr. Dizon.
“Kontra Daya warns partylist groups that we will not hesitate to file a disqualification complaint against those who join the partylist elections to build dynasties at the expense of the marginalized and under represented. The system is already bad enough without representatives contracting their term of office in violation of the will of those who elected them. Partylist representatives must be nominated through a convention and consultation with the sector. any changes must be approved through consultation with the sector and not throgh the transactions of their nominees. Any parytlist group that seeks only to advance family interests has no bona fide intentions of representing their sector,” he added.
Several partylist groups that won seats this year have nominees who are related to each other or come from the same family. OFW Club partylist has nominees belonging to the Seneres family. The Ang Mata’y Alagaan partylist have nominees the wife and two children of Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbiterio Velasco. ###