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1-UTAK party-list solon quits post to transfer to new group

June 13, 2012 3:53pm
The representative of party-list group United Transport Koalisyon (1-UTAK) has quit his post in the House of Representatives to join another group seeking a congressional seat in next year’s polls.
 
In a phone interview with GMA News Online, Rep. Homer Mercado confirmed Wednesday that House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has already accepted his resignation, which he signified in a letter submitted to the House leader’s office last May 29.

Mercado said he will be replaced by 1-UTAK’s next nominee, Zenaida Maranan. Maranan also serves as president of the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Fejodap).
 
Mercado said he resigned as 1-UTAK representative to be able to run for party-list congressman under a different group, the Joint Alliance of Marginalized Groups (1-JAMG).

Siguro more of advocacy ang dahilan kung bakit ako nag-resign. Mas gusto ko ‘yung advocacy for agriculture nitong 1-JAMG,” he said.
 
Pag-ikot ko sa bansa noong congressman pa ako, nakita ko ang paghihirap ng mga magsasaka at ng mga mangingisda… Sila ‘yung mas nangangailangan,” he added.
 
Comelec Resolution 9366 states that “any selected party-list representative who changes his political party or sectoral affiliation during his term of office shall forfeit his seat.”
 
From transport to agricultural sector
 
Asked how a sectoral representative from a transport group can help agricultural workers, Mercado said: “As a mechanical engineer, makakatulong ako in the development of farm facilities. Mahalaga rin ito para sa mga magsasaka.”
 
Mercado, however, admitted that his transfer to 1-JAMG is a “risk,” since the new group is still awaiting accreditation from the Commission on Elections (Comelec). If given accreditation by the poll body, it will mark the first time that the group will take part in the party-list elections next year.
 
Mercado was sworn in as 1-UTAK representative last year a month after the party-list’s first nominee, former military chief Angelo Reyes, committed suicide following allegations of corruption.
 
Reyes was disqualified by the Comelec in 2010, saying he is not a true representative of the transport sector. Reyes then elevated the case to the Supreme Court, but his petition was dismissed for being moot and academic following his death. — RSJ, GMA News
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