Comelec denies disqualification case against left-wing party list groups

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The Commission on Elections (COMELEC)  has junked  a case earlier filed to disqualify party-list groups suspected to be  linked with communist organizations  seeking to overthrow the government.  

The COMELEC First Division,  in its  eight-page decision, has turned down a petition filed by a certain 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, and that she had failed to appear during the hearing.

On April 26, 2019, Aguilar sought to disqualify the registration of Bayan Muna Party-List, Anakpawis Party-List, Kabataan Party-List, Alliance of Concerned Teachers Party-List and General Assembly Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leader and Action Party-List and former senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares  as candidates for the 2019 national and local elections due to alleged ties to communists. Colmenares ran under the opposition-led party Otso Diretso during the senatorial race.  

COMELEC said the petition claimed that the accused were connected with the New People’s Army and had used their campaign to call for the President’s ouster with tarpaulins bearing “OUST D30,” “PATALSIKIN SI D30 ABUSADO” and “PATALSIKIN PASISTANG D30.”

The Party-List System Act states that advocating violence or unlawful means and failing to comply with election-related laws, among other conditions warrant a cancellation of registration.

The Makabayan bloc and Colmenares denied links to the NPA and argued that the banners with the subversive statements were faked.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.  

Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has accused the Makabayan bloc as “organs” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing New People’s Army (NPA),  judging by their positions on national issues.  

The Makabayan bloc challenged their critics to prove their allegations.  

In her petition, Aguilar accused the groups  of using campaign materials which had statements such as “Oust Duterte” and “Patalsikin ang Pasistang D30.”

However, the COMELEC noted that Aguilar failed to attend the 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 COMELEC said.  

“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, but  Colmenares lost the senatorial elections.

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 said.

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./Stacy Ang

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