FEBRUARY 25, 2020 – The election commission has rejected a case filed to disqualify party-list groups suspected to have links with Maoist-led rebels seeking to overthrow the government.
In an eight-page decision, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) First Division said it has turned down a petition filed by Angela Aguilar because she was not able to show proof to merit the disqualification of several leftist groups which fielded candidates in the latest mid-term elections.
Aguilar’s petition was against party-lists Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and GABRIELA, and lawyer Neri Colmenares who ran for a senate seat.
Aguilar, who has identified herself as a former officer of KAGUMA-NDF-CPP-NPA, accused the Makabayan bloc and Colmenares of abusing the party-list system in advancing their motive to topple the government and President Rodrigo Duterte.
She also accused them of using campaign materials which had statements such as “Oust Duterte” and “Patalsikin ang Pasistang D30.”
The COMELEC, however, noted that she failed to attend hearing and she could also not be located in her given address.
“For failure of Petitioner to appear before this Commission in order to substantiate her claims during the hearing, or at least to pre-mark the pieces of evidence she attached to her Petition, the Commission cannot consider and give any probative value thereto,” the decision wrote.
“For want of evidence, Petitioner’s claim that grounds exist to warrant cancellation of Party-list Respondent’s registration in the Party-list System and the disqualification of Respondent Colmenares has not leg to stand on,” it explained.
The left-wing party-list groups have secured seats in the 18th Congress and Colmenares lost the senatorial elections.
But the Makabayan bloc said they will pursue filing counter charges against Aguilar and other people behind the junked petition.
“Ito ay talagang harassment case against us and dinismiss na finally ng Comelec dahil sabi ng Comelec wala itong basehan,” Bayan Muna congressman Carlos Zarate told reporters.
Aside from Aguilar, the Department of National Defense has also proposed to ban the so-called “legal left” from participating in government and politics as it expressed support to revive the Anti-Subversion Law against communist rebels.
Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has accused the Makabayan bloc as “organs” of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing New People’s Army, judging by their positions on national issues.
The Makabayan bloc has denied acting as fronts of the communist insurgents and challenged critics to prove their allegations. (Karen Macalalad/MM)
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