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Comelec chief: No special treatment for Akbayan case amid scuffle 


The verbal tussle and shoving match between Anakbayan and Akbayan last Tuesday has caught the public's attention. Despite this however, the Commission on Elections will not be paying extra attention on the disqualification case filed against Akbayan just because of the incident. 
“We’re going over almost 300 party-lists. We don’t want to rush any particular party-list just because they’re fighting there. Bakit naman sila bibigyan ng priority dahil lang nag-aaway?” Elections chief Brillantes told reporters Wednesday at the Comelec main office in Manila.
 
Still, Brillantes revealed that they have assigned a ponente to draft an initial decision on the disqualification case.
 
“Ang proseso kasi namin, ang ponensya will draft his decision and we will discuss it,” he said without identifying the commissioner assigned to the case.
 
“Hindi ko sasabihin muna edi nagkagulo na. Baka sugurin yan ng Anakbayan,” the poll chairman added in jest. Word war
 
The disqualification case intensified when Anakbayan had a heated exchange of words with Akbayan during the latter’s press conference on Tuesday. Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello even confronted the militants and dared them to slap him after shouting that Anakbayan has “deprived them of their right to assembly.”
 
“Masyado naman silang emotional,” Brillantes said, referring to Anakbayan and Akbayan. “They should just wait for our decision. Magiging very fair naman kami.”
 
Asked if having representatives in government should be a ground for disqualification, Brillantes said party-list nominees should be underrepresented in Congress but not necessarily in government.
 
“At least ang position ko is that overrepresented in Congress ang aking interpretation. If you are overrepresented in government, it’s not  really a bar for you to participate,” he said.
 
Anakbayan is seeking Akbayan's disqualification from next year's party-list elections, claiming the latter is already "overrepresented” in government with their members and nominees holding government and Cabinet posts. Republic Act 7941 or the party-list law states that the nominees under the party-list system should belong to the “marginalized and underrepresented.” 'Mutual respect, civility'
 
On his Twitter account, Brillantes earlier in the day called for "mutual respect and civility" among groups in the party-list race in 2013.  
"While I encourage public discourse and debate over the issue of whether certain party-list organizations are marginalized or not," he said, "We cannot, however, resort to violence and commit disrespectful and vulgar acts just to make a point." 
 
He also assured the public the Comelec will decide fairly in cleansing the party-list system for next year's polls.
 
Members of Akbayan occupy posts in the present government, including Loretta Rosales (Commission on Human Rights chairperson) and Ronald Llamas (presidential political adviser).
 
Another Akbayan member, defeated senatorial bet Theresia Baraquel, is again running for the Senate under the administration coalition.
 
Akbayan’s nominees for the 2013 midterm polls have also held government positions – Barry Gutierrez was Malacañang’s undersecretary for political affairs while Angelina Ludovice-Katoh was commissioner-in-charge for Mindanao and women concerns from the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor. — RSJ, GMA News
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