March 30, 2010
The labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) is asking Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo to follow the lead of his aunt Kasangga Rep. Malou Arroyo-Lesaca who announced her withdrawal as a party-list nominee. “Ang ginagawa ng matatanda dapat gayahin ng mga bata. The decent nephew follows the good example of an aunt. So we dare Mikey to do a Malou and pull-out as a party-list nominee,” declared Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson.
He added that “It is an honorable option for assailed party-list nominees to pull-out from the elections rather than be shamed as fakes and face disqualification. A party-list of security guards is bogus if its first nominee is a presidential son who also happens to be an incumbent congressman. A party-list of transport workers is a sham if its first nominee is an ex-general who also happens to be cabinet secretary.”
PM together with several other party-list groups are preparing to file disqualification cases against certain nominees. “The party-list system is stricken with a virus and it must be cleansed. It is the vigilance of genuine groups and the concerned public that will heal the disease,” argued Magtubo.
PM also declared that they will push in the next Congress for an amendment to the Party-List Act to plug the loopholes that have led to alleged abuses. The labor group is consulting with other party-list organizations on a common agenda of defending the party-list system as means for representation for marginalized sectors.
The group submitted its list of five nominees to the Comelec main office last March 24, a day after the end of PM’s congress that elected its nominees from more than a hundred delegates. “In compliance with the letter and spirit of the party-list law, PM’s five nominees truly represent the working class. They include three union officers with decades of experience as unionists and two former student activists who have spent their adult lives serving the struggles of the workers and the poor,” Magtubo explained.
He stated that “Besides GMA’s not-so-hidden agenda of packing the House of Representatives with her relatives or former cabinet secretaries in order to get elected as House Speaker, the party-list is also being abused as a back-door entry for trapos who find it cheaper spending P20 to 30 million compared to the P50 million or more in traditional congressional races.”
In order, the five PM nominees are:
1. Renato Magtubo: former president of the Fortune Tobacco Labor Union
2. Gerardo Rivera: recently elected president of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association
3. Judy Ann Miranda: former UP student council officer who went full time as working class organizer
4. Wilson Fortaleza: former student activist who also went full time as working class organizer
5. Ma. Luisa Parroco: vice president of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative employees union.