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No Palace pressure to accredit Akbayan — poll chief


Following Akbayan’s verbal tussle with political rival Anakbayan earlier in the day, poll chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Tuesday said there is no pressure from Malacañang to accredit Akbayan Citizen’s Action Party, which is under the administration-led coalition for the 2013 midterm polls.   What he received, though, was a call from Congress — a call from Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello inquiring about the status of the disqualification case filed against their group.   “Yeah, I talked to him. [He was] just asking kung ano ang status nila. Sabi ko, it’s still under study. Hindi lang naman ako bumoboto mag-isa,” Brillantes told reporters at the main office of Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Manila.   He denied receiving a phone call from presidential political affairs adviser Ronald Llamas, the former Akbayan president.     “Di ko pa siya nakakausap matagal na. [It’s not a call] from Malacañang but from Congress,” Brillantes said.   He added they are still discussing whether or not to disqualify Akbayan as requested by several militant organizations “Wala pa kaming desisyon. Pinag-aawayan pa namin, dini-discuss pa,” Brillantes said without elaborating. Early Tuesday, members of Anakbayan group managed to slip through Akbayan’s press conference in Manila where they loudly criticized Akbayan for allegedly siding with the Aquino administration after previously criticizing pro-administration party-list groups. Bello confronted the intruders and accused them of infringing on their right to freedom of speech and assembly. Various groups have asked the Comelec to disqualify Akbayan in next year’s elections on the basis of having members and nominees with government posts. Brillantes, meanwhile, urged Akbayan’s political rivals to stay put instead of fighting. “Hantayin na lang nila, malapit na rin naman,” he said. The Comelec is set to announce another batch disqualified party-list groups for the 2013 elections on Wednesday. — Marc Jayson Cayabyab/KBK, GMA News