March 29, 2010
The partylist group currently being represented by the sister of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo counts among its nominees multi-millionaires, government appointees and influential people, according to a study mady by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and the watchdog group Kontra Daya.
The partylist group Ang Kasangga, currently represented in Congress by Arroyo sister Ma. Lourdes Arroyo, claims to represent “entrepreneurs” according to its official website. Ang Kasangga defines micro-entrepreneurs as “those with individual capital of P3 million and below”, its website says.
The entry into Congress of Lourdes Arroyo drew heavy criticism because it was alleged she did not represent small business. It was during this period that Ang Kasangga defended Arroyo as saying she represented small businesses including balut vendors.
“The first two nominees of Ang Kasangga are multi-millionaires linked with the Arroyo administration. They do not fall within the category of micro-entrepreneurs. The law and Comelec guidelines are clear: a parytlist nominee must not only be an advocate of the sector. The nominee must belong to the marginalized sector,” said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, Jr.
Ang Kasangga first nominee Teodorico T. Haresco is a big businessman and government appointee. The second nominee, Eugenio V. Lacson, is a three-term city mayor, with various business interest in mining. Both are considered Arroyo allies.
Haresco is a member of the board of directors of the Philippine National Oil Company. He was involved in the President’s Bridge Program infrastructure project which has drawn criticism for being “bridges to nowhere”. In 2005, the UK newspaper The Guardian ran an article about a British firm “accused of making excessive profits in an aid project, by building what their critics call bridges to nowhere”. Haresco was the local contact of the British firm, according to the interview by The Guardian.
Haresco is also Chairman of Winace Security Agency, also affiliated with Winace Detective and Protective Agency Inc. He is Chairman and CEO of Winace Holdings Philippines, which is involved in the acquisition, holding, and sale of stocks, bonds, and securities of other companies for investment purposes.
Winace serves as the mother company of a) Winsource Solutions Inc., a BPO firm; b) Technostrat Solutions, “an Anglo-Dutch joint venture company”; c) Chaikofi Brewmasters, “a Dutch joint venture company establishing, operating, managing, and franchising the only Concept Cafe in the Philippines”; and d) Winserve Risk Management Consultants Inc., a consultancy based group.
Lacson meanwhile is in the company of the mega-rich. He is ranked 79 among the top 100 stockholders of Fidelity Stock Transfers, Inc. ATR Kim Eng Financial Corp according to a March 31, 2007 stockholders report. Others on the Top 100 list list are Lucio Tan (13) and several members of the Ortigas and Villonco families, all of whom are not considered micro- entrepreneurs.
Lacson was being considered as a vice gubernatorial candidate in Negros Occidental for the May 2010 elections before deciding to run under the partylist system. Last January, he joined other Negros mayors in endorsing the presidency of administration bet Gilbert Teodoro.
“Ang Kasangga’s nominees are not micro-entrepreneurs. It they’re allowed to be nominees, what will prevent big business interests in the future to seek, or even buy, a seat in congress,” Reyes said.
For Reference: Renato Reyes, Jr.
Bayan Secretary General