The enviable AkbayanIn his verbal sparring with Anakbayan’s Vencer Crisostomo at ANC last week, Barry Gutierrez, undersecretary for political affairs in the Office of the President, exuded the smugness of people who are well-entrenched in the center of power. Nakasandal sa pader.
He said there are many Akbayan members who are holding high positions in the Aquino government because they supported Benigno Aquino III in the 2010 elections. Sorry na lang with Bayan Muna and its affiliate organizations like Anakbayan because they supported Manny Villar.
Yes, to the victors belong the spoils.
The list of Akbayan members appointed in the Aquino administration include: Ronald Llamas, presidential political affairs adviser; – Etta Rosales, chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights; – Joel Rocamora, head of National Anti-Poverty Commission which is being questioned by the Commission on Audit for its hiring of 81 contractual personnel and 19 consultants paid out of its “maintenance and other operating expenses”; Percival Cendena, commissioner-at-large of the National Youth Commission.
Akbayan is very well represented in two government pension agencies: Former Akbayan representative Mario Aguho is member of the board of the Government Service and Insurance System while Daniel Edralin is a commissioner of the Social Security Services.
Gutierrez is Akbayan’s second nominee and Angelina Ludovice-Katoh, a Commissioner in the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, is the third nominee.
Gutierrez’s reply about Akbayan having supported Aquino misses the point of the issue against them which is their no longer being marginalized.
Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, provides that ” The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.”
It also states that “ The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.”
This Party List provision has been much abused and bastardized. During the Arroyo administration, Akbayan led by it’s the Rep. Etta Rosales exposed several dubious partylist groups. Rosales articulated the disdain of many over the nomination of the late Angelo Reyes by, I-UTAK, a partylist group supposedly representing transport groups.
“What is more bothersome is the fact that the transport group 1-UTAK should offer its first slot to a GMA cabinet member, Angelo Reyes, whose loyalty to the President today is measured by the years of service he has given to her in the various cabinet posts he has held regardless of experience these past 9 years,” Rosales said.
It’s ironic that Akbayan finds itself at the receiving end of similar accusations they were hurling against pro-Arroyo groups then.
The Commission on Elections is in the process of cleansing the list of bogus leaders of the marginalized groups. They have already disqualified more than 35 groups, among them Mikey Arroyo’s Ang Galing which is supposed to represent security guards and tricyle drivers in Congress and the vote-getter Ako Bicol supposedly representing marginalized Bicolanos but is represented by a multi-millionaire in Congress.
Several groups including Kontra Daya led by Fr. Joe Dizon and the Catholic Church-backed Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting are questioning Akbayan’s claim of representing the marginalized. “How can they be marginalized if their leaders are already holding top positions in the government? I think it’s not right,” said PPCRV chairperson Henrietta de Villa.
Akbayan members argue that the representatives need not be marginalized persons as long as they represent the concerns of the marginalized groups.
Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello insists that “Akbayan is a multi-sectoral party-list that has always represented the marginalized, the peasant workers, indigenous men and women, and overseas Filipinos.
While it calls itself a sectoral party, Akbayan straddles with mainstream politics. At the proclamation of the Aquino administration senatorial candidates for the 2013 elections, where former Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros is included, the streamers bannered the coalition as “LP,Akbayan, NPC, NP, LDP”
Akbayan takes pride with it. In a statement, it said,”While others have contented themselves to the usual roles confined to them by the political system, Akbayan continues to shape its place in mainstream politics.”
They are having their cake and eating it too. Talagang nakaka-inggit.