By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Poll watch group Kontra Daya is urging voters to vote for a party-list that genuinely represents the marginalized and underrepresented as new survey result shows that dubious party-list groups are most likely to dominate again the upcoming midterm elections on Monday, May 13.
In the recent survey released by Pulse Asia on May 3, 13 out of the 134 party-list groups could get at least one seat in the House of Representatives. The survey was conducted on April 10 to 14.
However, based on the research of Kontra Daya, some of the 13 party-list groups do not represent the marginalized sectors.
In a statement, Kontra Daya said some of the representatives come from the 25 party-list groups that (1) have links to political dynasties or officials already elected in other positions; (2) represent special business interests; or (3) possess questionable advocacies and nominees.
Party-list groups with special business interests
Aside from dynastic groups, there are also party-list groups that appear to have special business interests.
“Incidentally, some of them had already been flagged for having links to political dynasties or officials already elected in other positions,” the group said.
For one, Magsasaka Party-list claims to represent farmers. They garnered 5.32 percent in the Pulse Asia survey and would possibly get three seats in the House of Representatives (HOR). But according to Kontra Daya, this group is tied to DV Boer Farm founder Soliman Alaer “Dexter” Villamin Jr. DV Boer Farm breeds Boer goats which are imported from Australia. It occupies 11 hectares of land in Balibago, Lian, Batangas.
Incidentally, according to Kontra Daya, Soliman Villamin, Sr. is the party-list group’s second nominee.
Nominees of the Apec Party-list or the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives are high-ranking officials of various electric cooperatives. According to Kontra Daya, its first nominee Sergio Dagooc is president of the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives. Its third nominee, Rodrigo Sacedor is the president of the board of directors of Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative.
Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines or AGAP’s first nominee is Rico Geron, the general manager of Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative in Batangas City (SIDC).
Kontra Daya said SIDC’s business activities include “contract growing, loans, cable television and Internet.”
“It also has a feed mill which was subject to a strike in 2016. The party-list group’s third nominee is Victorino Michael Lescano, chairperson of the Batangas Egg Producers’ Cooperative,” the group said.
ACT-CIS or Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support Inc.’s second nominee is Jocelyn Tulfo, wife of broadcaster Raffy Tulfo and sister-in-law of newly-appointed Special Envoy to China Ramon Tulfo. The Tulfos are not only known for their advocacies on crime but also linked to the P60 million worth of tourism ads that their media firm earned during the term of their sister, former Department of Tourism (DOT) secretary Wanda Teo.
ANAC-IP’s third nominee, Garry James Arenas is the president and chief executive officer of an IT company named Spark Global Tech System Inc. and used to work at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Last month, Kontra Daya released voter’s guide for the 2019 party-list election.
“These questionable party-list groups are likely to be elected if elections were held during the survey period (April 10-14). Kontra Daya calls on the public to make an informed choice and to uphold the true intent of the party-list system,” the group said.
Party-list groups that will garner two percent of party-list votes will have at least one seat at the House of Representatives. Those who will garner four or six percent or more of the total votes will have a maximum of three seats.
There are 59 seats allocated for the party-list representatives in House of Representatives.
(DISCLOSURE: Danilo A. Arao, a convenor of Kontra Daya, is also the associate editor of Bulatlat.)