Akbayan recommends poll body to issue updated timeline and continuity plan.

Akbayan Party-list asked the Comelec to resolve numerous and unresolved setbacks in the planned automation elections this May 10.

Akbayan today (Jan 22) exposes Mrs. Gloria Arroyo’s latest bid to create a sizeable camp of GMA lapdog loyalists in Congress post-May elections by populating the upcoming party-list elections with administration allies.

Akbayan Chair Emeritus and three-term congresswoman Etta Rosales, reacting to the final list of accredited party-list groups released by the Commission on Elections, said, “it is lamentable that the dubious list of party list groups exposed in 2007 as administration fronts are now bloating the long list of party list bets contesting the 2010 Polls. I recall in earlier conversation with the COMELEC that they would limit the list for 2010 to only around fifty or a little more. Yet, what we now have is three times this size – 150!”

Rosales said “against COMELEC’s expectations, packing the party-list contenders with Palace fronts can only be interpreted as a desperate effort by the Palace to fill up the next Congress with GMA lapdogs. Apparently, the fears of a new critical leadership with its newly elected district allies in Congress after May 2010 can only be countered by the backdoor election of GMA puppets disguised in emasculated party list robe.”

Already Exposed in 2007

It can be recalled that in the 2007 midterm elections, Akbayan launched the Bare the List campaign to force COMELEC to disclose the names of all nominees of all accredited party-list groups. “Many of the accredited party list organizations for the 2010 race are the same as those which we challenged as administration-fielded bogus groups in the 2007 elections,” Rosales continued.

To prove this, Rosales encouraged the voting public to visit the campaign blog (http://barethelist.wordpress.com/ ) Akbayan mounted in 2007 listing the pseudo party-list groups. The list includes party-list groups accredited by COMELEC in 2010 elections and controversial incumbent groups such as Ang Kasangga, represented by the President’s sister-in-law and Banat, represented by the general whose claim to fame lies in his reputation for leaving a trail of blood in every provincial assignment he is given.

Rosales explained that in 2007 COMELEC refused to reveal the nominees of these fronts. Akbayan filed a petition before the Supreme Court asking for a full disclosure of the nominees which the High Court granted. Today, the COMELEC has passed a resolution that ensures the publication of all the party list nominees.

“Ngayon, madali nang malaman kung sino ang mga kaibigan ng administrasyon na tumatakbo sa party-list,” Rosales added.

Nearing Elections, More Scheming

Meanwhile, incumbent Akbayan representative Walden Bello said, “Every single day we come closer to elections, we discover another part of Mrs. Arroyo’s plan to power grab. If she weren’t a power-hungry and dangerously desperate, these cheap tricks may be remotely amusing.”

“She tried this trick once already but failed,” Rep. Bello said. “The supreme court decision that increased the number of party-list representatives in congress last May 2009 was made mostly of pro-admin groups that added to the majority’s ranks, which emboldened them to railroad the charter change agenda.”

“Mrs. Arroyo knows that the next administration will be out to get her. she’s securing the speakership of the lower house and sealing the deal to change the constitution in order to become prime minister,” Bello warned.

Akbayan called for immediate reforms to the party-list system such as providing stricter guidelines in the screening of legitimate party-list groups. “The party-list system is an important reform that brings us closer to real democracy, the people must not let it be hijacked by the likes of Mrs. Arroyo,” Bello concluded.

AKBAYAN party – list Mindanao chair Tomas Villarin on Thursday said that he is pessimistic that a peace agreement between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will be signed before Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo hands over the presidency on June 30 her successor.