05/23/2007 | 09:07 PM
Only 10 of the 93 party-list organizations that participated in this year’s Philippine mid-term elections obtained more than a thousand votes equivalent to at least 2% of the 73, 175 actual votes cast for party-list during the 30-day overseas absentee voting period in 93 foreign posts covering 157 countries across the globe.
The official tally of the Commission on Elections, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, of the Certificates of Canvass of the overseas absentee votes showed five progressive groups critical of the Arroyo administration bagging more than 2% of the votes cast by Filipinos abroad.
Gabriela Women’s Party, a militant party-list organization that has an international network of migrant workers in most countries, topped the list with 9, 768, or 18. 79% of the total votes cast for party-list between April 14 and May 14.
Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (Cibac), a group associated with the Jesus Is Lord (JIL) charismatic movement led by preacher Eddie Villanueva was a far second, obtaining 5, 316 votes, or 10. 23% of the votes cast by qualified Filipinos abroad. JIL and Cibac have overseas networks, too.
Akbay Pinoy OFW-National, Inc. , a little known group in the Philippines, placed third with 4, 825 votes, or 9. 28% of the overseas absentee votes cast. APO! is an organization perceived to be a ‘front’ of Malacanang in a bid to ensure control of the House of Representatives and foil an impeachment process against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the 14th Congress.
Progressive groups Bayan Muna and Akbayan captured the 4th and 5th place, with 2, 732, or 5.26%, and 2, 337 or 4.7% of the votes, respectively.
Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (Buhay), a group identified with the El Shaddai charismatic movement of Mike Velarde, ranked 6th with 1, 807 votes, or 3.48%.
On the 7th place is Anakpawis, another militant group allied with activist labor organization Kilusang Mayo Uno, garnering 1, 561 votes, or 3%, while the ethnic ABA Ilonggo (Abante Ilonggo, Inc) ranked 8th with 1, 183 votes, or 2. 28%.
Rounding up were the group Yacap (You Against Corruption and Poverty) with 1, 176 votes, or 2. 26%, and Agbiag! (Agbiag Timpuyog Ilocano, Inc. getting 1, 165 votes, or 2. 24% of the overseas absentee votes cast.
The poll body completed the canvassing of the votes from Filipinos abroad on Monday morning, but the final tabulation was released only early evening on Wednesday. On Tuesday morning, the Certificate of Canvass from Samoa, an island group in the South Pacific Ocean, was opened, but the lone registered voter there was not able to exercise his right to suffrage.
The last batch of overseas absentee votes canvassed on Monday morning came from London and Ireland.
On Sunday, the CoCs tallied came from East Timor, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Lithuania, United States, Antigua, Barbados, Bermudas, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and the Bahamas.
This year’s turnout for the Philippine mid-term elections was only at 15 percent of the 504, 122 registered absentee voters across the globe. From reports abroad, most Filipinos voters were reluctant to participate in the elections because of strong doubts on the credibility of the election process and amid heavy suspicions that election results would be rigged anyway.
The canvassers tabulated the absentee votes on Saturday from Myanmar, Kuwait, Kenya, Aruba, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, and Saudi Arabia.
On Friday, the canvassers tabulated CoCs from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Germany, Russia, Kazakhstan, Canada, Brunei, Rome and Milan (Italy), Cuba, Chile, Brazil, Singapore, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Israel, Argentina, Sudan, Abu Dhabi, Jordan, Iraq, Greece, South Africa, Lesotho.
On the first two days of canvassing on Wednesday and Thursday, the COCs tabulated came from Laos, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, South Korea, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Palau, the Netherlands, Japan, India, Thailand, Bahrain, Switzerland, New Zealand, Cook Island, Fiji, Australia, Vietnam, Belgium, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Mexico, Iran, China, Romania, France, Monaco, Portugal, Taiwan, Hong Kong/Macau, Yemen, Cyprus, Ankara, Spain, Morocco, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Libya, Lebanon and Nigeria, with Hong Kong giving the biggest number of votes of close to 20, 000.
No vote was cast in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Monaco, Mali, Algeria, Chad, Malta, Mauritania, Tunisia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, Senegal and Samoa.
Senate’s Magic 12
In the senatorial race, the final tally of votes from overseas Filipinos showed eight candidates from the Genuine Opposition, three from the administration Team Unity and one independent making it to the winning circle of 12.
The Top 12 choices included six re-electionist senators ( Francis Pangilinan, Manuel Villar, Ralph Recto, Panfilo Lacson, Edgardo Angara and Joker Arroyo), three outgoing congressmen (Benigno Aquino III, Francis Escudero, and Alan Peter Cayetano), two first-term politicians (Aquilino Pimentel III and Sonia Roco), and one returning senator (Loren Legarda) to the 14th Congress.
Overseas Filipino voters gave Legarda 59, 151 votes, placing her on top of the list, followed by Pangilinan with 58, 854, and Aquino III with 48, 714 votes.
The official OAV tally showed Villar Jr. of GO on the fourth slot with 48, 628 votes; (5) Recto (TU) – 47, 692; (6) Lacson (GO) – 42, 011; (7) Escudero (GO) – 41, 645; (8) Cayetano (GO) – 37, 924; (9) Angara (TU) – 37, 810; (10) Pimentel III (GO) – 37, 093; (11) Arroyo (TU) – 36, 615; and, (12) Roco (GO) – 30, 670.
The first two days of the OAV canvassing had APO! on top of the party-list organizations obtaining the highest number of votes, but on the third day when votes from countries with the presence of progressive migrant workers came in, Gabriela, which has been supposed by Migrante International, consistently topped the tally.
Gabriela’s top three nominees to the 14th Congress are incumbent Rep. Liza Maza, Luzviminda Ilagan and former Hong Kong overseas contract worker Flora Belinan. The group is an active participant in anti-government protests.
Second placer Cibac’s first three nominees are Joel Emmanuel Villanueva, Luis Lokin Jr. and lawyer Cinchona Gonzales. Joel Villanueva, son of the JIL leader, is on his third term as party-list congressman representing the anti-corruption group. He has been a staunch critic of the Arroyo administration.
The participation of APO! in this year’s party-list elections has become controversial following its inclusion in what progressive groups billed as the “Dirty Dozen” organizations allegedly fielded or supported financially by the administration to ensure that the opposition would not be able to corner at least one-third of the House of Representatives and foil yet another impeachment process against Mrs. Arroyo.
The top nominee of APO! is retired general Melchor P. Rosales, an appointee of Mrs. Arroyo as undersecretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government. It’s other nominees are Floyd Feraren, Adelaida Lazaro, Alexander Galura and Zenaida Toledo.
Bayan Muna will have two incumbent Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casino for the first two seats and lawyer Neri Colmenares of the Counsel for the Defense of Liberties (Codal) if it garners at least six percent of the total votes cast for party-list organizations.
For Akbayan it’s top nominee is incumbent Rep. Risa Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel, followed by Walden Bello, Enrico Dayanghirang, Byron Bocar and Vicente Fabe.
Buhay has two sets of five nominees each submitted to the Comelec. The first set has incumbent Rep. Hans Christian Seneres, Hermenegildo Dumlao, Antonio Bautista, Victor Pablo Trinidad and Eduardo Solangon Jr. The second set includes incumbent Rep. Rene M. Velarde (son of the El Shaddai leader), Ma. Carissa Coscolluela, William Irwin Tieng, Melchor Monsod, and Teresita Villarama.
Militant Anakpawis would have incumbent Reps. Crispin Beltran and Rafael Mariano on top of a list of 14 nominees submitted to the Comelec that also includes jeepney drivers’ federation leader Medardo Roda and government employees’ leader Ferdinand Gaite.
ABA Ilonggo has Aguinaldo Miravalles, Arturo Mejorada, Robert Doromal, Anecito Magbato and Rogelio Setubal.
Yacap’s nominees are Carol Jayne Lopez, Haron Omar, Ernesto Moya, Arnel Zapatos and Alexis Wayne Valdivia.
Agbiag will be represented by Marcelo Farinas, Samuel Tomas, Rogelio Mendoza, Ruth Joy Guinid and Alex Manalo.
A party-list group will have to get at least 2 percent of the votes cast in the party-list elections to be entitled to one seat at the House of Representatives. A group can have a maximum of three seats for at least 6% of the votes cast in the party-list elections.
Proposals in Congress to increase the number of seats for a party-list group at the House have not prospered.
The party-list election is hotly contested among sectoral, or marginalized groups in civil society because it is a “back-door” entry to the House of Representatives.
Progressive party-list groups have accused the administration of fielding “Malacañang-organized groups” to ensure a hold on power in the House should these win, bastardizing the real spirit of the Party-list Law, but possibly foiling a third impeachment process against President Arroyo.
The militant Akbayan party-list group has claimed that there is a clear and present danger that the party-list elections will be sabotaged. It said that among the 93 party-list groups currently accredited by the Comelec are “fake” because and that these are Malacañang “fronts.”
For one, the Akbayan cited the Biyaheng Pinoy party-list group as having questionable integrity, having a brother of the Comelec chairman as one of its nominees.
Akbayan had asked the Comelec earlier to disqualify what it called as “Dirty Dozen” party-list groups for their questionable nature and links with the government, saying these groups must be subjected to a serious inquiry and scrutiny.
Apart from APO!, the 11 other party-list groups belonging to what had been tagged as Malacanang’s “dirty dozen” were: AKSA (Aksyon Sambayanan), Babae Ka (Babae Para sa Kaunlaran), Kasangga (Kasangga sa Kaunlaran, Inc), Kalahi (Advocates for Overseas Filipinos) which were considered as adjuncts of, or entities funded or assisted by, the government.
Bantay (True Marcos Loyalists) which had been disqualified by the Supreme Court’s Bagong Bayani OFW vs Comelec ruling is also sought to be stricken off the party-list voting list because it is allegedly a front organization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Retired Army general Jovito Palparan is Bantay’s top nominee.
Banat (Barangay Association for National Advancement of Transparency) organized by Charter change advocate Raul Lambino was labeled as a recycled party-list which had already been disqualified by Comelec but was surprisingly allowed to apply for a new accreditation. Banat lost in two previous elections and did not participate in the 2001 elections, technically disqualifying it from this year’s race.
Lypad (Youth League for Peace Advancement) allegedly failed to submit its list of nominees to the Comelec and should therefore be barred from participating in the party-list elections. Lypad’s officers work for the Office of External Affairs in Malacanang.
Other groups the progressive Akbayan party-list wanted disqualified are Agbiag ((Agbiag! Timbuyog Ilocano, Inc.) whose top nominee, Marcelo T. Farinas II, is a presidential adviser; Aging Pinoy (Aging Filipino Organization, Inc.) , Biyaheng Pinoy (BP) whose second nominee, Arsenio Abalos, is a doctor-brother of Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos, and UNI-MAD (United Movement Against Drugs) that allegedly has questionable links with government that merit serious inquiry.
From the local absentee voters comprising soldiers, teachers, policemen and election officers on poll duty on election day, bulk of the votes went to the anti-drug UNI-MAD and BANTAY, garnering 19, 684 and 10, 853 votes, or 58.15% and 32.06%, respectively, of the 36, 361 votes cast for party-list.
Aside from Palparan, Bantay’s other nominees are Ramon Y. Garcia, Benjamin Angeles, Alan Guevara and Agnes Reano while UNI-MAD has Teodoro Lim, Alphonsus Crucero, Enrique B. Galang, Antonio Rom III and Manuel Mendoza.
The only other party that obtained more than a thousand votes from the local absentee voters was ANAD ((Alliance for Nationalist and Democracy) that listed Pastor M. Alcover Jr., Ruben Platon, David Odilao Jr., Provo Antipasado and Domingo Balang as nominees- GMANews.TV