Padaca will not be tie-breaker in Akbayan case
Newly-appointed Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca wrote to correct what I said in my column in Abante last Sunday that she would be the tie-breaker in the case of Akbayan as partylist.
I wrote: “Hati raw ang Comelec sa isyu ng Akbayan at ang boto ni Grace Padaca, ang bagong Comelec commissioner, ang magdedesisyon kung lusot o tanggal ang Akbayan. Naloko na. (It has been reported that Comelec is deadlocked on the issue of Akbayan and the vote of Grace Padaca, the new commissioner, will decide whether Akbayan would be disqualified or not. Oh my God.)”
I made the comment based on at least three news reports quoting Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. : “Pinass on ko na lahat ng cases kay Padaca… We’re sending her the folders to break the tie.”
Padaca wrote: “Akbayan is not one of the 9 party lists where I’ve been asked by the other commissioners to break the tie. I don’t know where the information is coming from. Maling akala. Hindi nag-base sa katotohanan.”
Padaca also said, “These 9 cases are the ones they’ve studied and voted on even before I came in kaya lang tabla sila. So they decided to ask me to vote. I am going back to the records of the 9 party lists organizations. Good thing, I already have a basis and can refer to the Commission’s earlier decisions where laws and jurisprudence were cited.”
I thank Padaca for the clarification.
Comelec is currently cleansing its roster of Partylist groups who have bastardized the partylist system meant to level the playing field for marginalized groups in society 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.”
The poll body has already disqualified more than 35 groups, among them Mikey Arroyo’s Ang Galing which claimed to represent security guards and tricyle drivers 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 when they have several members holding high positions in the Aquino government.
Related to my comment in Abante, Padaca observed in her column in Abante that there are people who still doubt if she can be impartial in her decision in Comelec cases. She wrote: “ Habang tila hindi pa nakaka-move on ang ilang nagdududa sa aking pagiging patas bilang bagong Comelec Commissioner, sa aking panig ay basta inaasikaso ko na lang kaagad ang mga kailangang pagtuunan ng pansin. “
She said she will just focus on her job.
Being perceived as biased for the Aquino administration is the burden that Padaca, much-admired for her integrity and courage to challenge the well-entrenched Dy dynasty of Isabela, earned for herself when she allowed the President to pay her P70,000 bail in her graft case in the Sandiganbayan. There was clearly a conflict of interest. Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, a Liberal Party stalwart, accompanying her when she posted the bail did not help at all if she wanted to assure the public of her independence as a member of a Constitutional body. Add to that was the President’s statement clearing her of the charges pending before the graft court.
But it is good that Padaca is aware of the situation. The only way she can change that perception is by making decisions based on the merit of the cases . Nothing else.