Akbayan Partylist representative Tom Villarin, a principal author of the law institutionalizing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) now signed as RA 11310, lauded its passage together with the Magna Carta for the Poor, making it the country's primary anti-poverty program which started in 2007 and expanded in 2012. The law was signed April 17, 2019 but only announced recently.

"We can make poverty history with the passage of the 4Ps law. It’s an investment for our poor Filipino families. We will expect their lives to be better now that the program is strengthened and safeguards in place. It addresses the inter-generational nature of poverty,” Villarin said.

Akbayan Partylist slammed the decision of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) en banc to dismiss the petition to initiate a special random manual audit (RMA) for partylist votes.

“It was a missed opportunity for Comelec to assure the public on the credibility of the elections. Our petition was to safeguard the votes of the electorate after numerous allegations of disenfranchisement of partylist votes,” Akbayan Chairperson Emeritus Etta Rosales said in a statement.

The audit process is a verification mechanism done to check the results for the senatorial and district representative races by comparing manual results to the automated. The petition filed by Akbayan, Rosales and people's organizations also asked for partylist representatives to be invited as observers.

Akbayan Partylist sought for the Comelec en banc during today's session to include partylist votes in the random manual audit (RMA) and allow partylist groups to observe the process. 

Partylist votes are currently not included in the RMA currently conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the Commission on Elections (Comelec), and watchdog group Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) for 715 clustered precincts nationwide.  

"Comelec should have a special random manual audit for partylist votes. This is crucial especially after multiple reports of discrepancy of votes in the ballot and voters' receipts," Akbayan spokesperson Gio Tingson said.

"Proclaimed partylist nominees are part of the House of Representatives. The results for partylists would therefore need the verification process too," Tingson said.

"Partylist election results will remain questionable if it's not included in the auditing process. Counting the partylist votes manually in selected precincts and comparing it with the automated count will help ensure that not a single vote was compromised," Tingson said.

Akbayan Partylist demands the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to immediately take action on the disenfranchised votes in the 2019 election and disqualify vote-buying partylists. 

We condemn the vote-buying of some partylist groups in some regions and reports of disenfranchisement of Akbayan votes in several precincts. Several members raised the alarm on votes for Akbayan partylist that were not registered on the final tally.

Akbayan will manifest to the Comelec and demand for the following:

Investigation and disqualification of partylists who have reportedly practiced vote-buying in some precincts.

Investigation of disenfranchised Akbayan votes in reported areas.

Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros will call for an investigation on the data blackout from the transparency servers and other issues that undermine the elections.

Akbayan is fortunate to represent ordinary Filipino families the longest in congress, having served for 21 years straight. 

Akbayan Party list Chairperson Emeritus Etta Rosales denounced the Facebook post of Commander Louie Dagoy of the Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade in Leyte which maliciously linked Akbayan with the New People's Army (NPA).

"Commander Louie Dagoy's accusation is malicious, baseless and dangerous. As a political party, AKBAYAN engages in parliamentary work through Congress and concerted people’s actions.This is the only battlefield we know where we earned the support of the public for 21 straight years," Etta Rosales said.   

Rosales was the first nominee of Akbayan which was among 9 party list groups who made it in the first party list polls in 1998.  

"Dagoy should look at our track record. We became the longest-serving party list organization without the aid of armed groups. Integral to the reforms we pushed for was the cultivation of  integrity among political parties and party list groups.