The online news portal of TV5
Manila, Philippines -- Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares is urging the House of Representatives to investigate the alleged sale of party-list accreditations and seats by "fixers" inside the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Colmanares filed a bill asking the House to conduct an inquiry into reports that there is a syndicate in the Comelec that sells party-list accrediations and seats for P2 million to P15 million.
The lawmaker fears that if the Comelec will not guard the integrity of the country's party-list system, "then it will just be a matter of time before (it) is completely ruled by the rich and powerful who can afford to pay bribes and ease out genuine representatives of the people."
“With the absence of a full investigation of alleged cases of bribery, doubts are inevitably cast on the integrity of the Comelec to uphold the party-list system and ensure that only qualified party-lists are allowed to run in elections,” Colmenares said.
He lamented that party-list groups, which automatically get 20 percent of the membership of the House, are already dominated by traditional politicians.
Colmenares cited a study by the non-government Center for People Empowerment in Governance that 12 of the 57 nominees from 43 partly-list groups in the 15th Congress belonged to political clans.
But Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes on Monday said that he had no idea of the existence of the alleged sale of seats and accreditations in his agency.
"Wala po akong nalalaman na mayroong ganyan dito, pero mabuti na siguro ma-imbestigahan... para mapigilan natin," he said in an interview over Radyo Singko's Todo Balita.
[I do not know of such practices in Comelec, but it will be better if it will be investigated so that we can prevent it.] - with Romsanne R. Ortiguero