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Group to Comelec commissioner: Stand firm vs. 'political bullies'

A labor group on Saturday urged Commission on Elections commissioner Rowena Guanzon to resist manipulations of politicians, and incumbent party-list groups and push forward needed reforms in the country's electoral process to make it more inclusive.

Militant Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) expressed support for Guanzon's move to back efforts at amending Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-list System Act, claiming that some politicians have circumvented the law to perpetuate themselves in power.

Speaking at the launching of “Eleksyon 2019” last Friday, Guanzon said she supported moves to amend Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-list System Act as the anti-political dynasty constitutional provision lacks an enabling law to deter members of political clans to use the party-list elections as a backdoor for their ambitions.

Several incumbent officials came out with statements castigating Guanzon, reminding her to abide by the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that allows established political parties and non-marginalized groups to participate in the party-list elections

“Incumbent officials are doing everything in their power to stifle the electoral process by discriminating against the marginalized sectors who seek societal change through elections,” said Luke Espiritu, president of BMP.

The group welcomed the statements of Commissioner Guanzon and says it is refreshing to know she seeks that our elections return to the spirit to why the party-list system was infused in our electoral process in the first place.

Espiritu said, “this is precisely the reason why we seek change by vying for a seat in Congress because discrimination and injustice has been molded and structured in our laws, making it impossible for democracy to work.”

Last Wednesday, RA 7941's author former Maguindanao representative Atty. Michael Mastura said, "It's really frustrating that the idea of representation of a certain sector ay naaagaw, naha-hijack po ng 'di kilala na belonging to a sector."

Mastura said that those who will represent a party-list group should share the same interest of the sector that they are representing.

He also dismissed claims that some party-list groups are only after of the budget allocation they can get. Rather, he argued that some politicians take a "shortcut" by taking a ride on the party-list bandwagon. —LBG, GMA News