Sunday, December 23, 2012

SC asked to stop party-list raffle, qualify workers group

Partido ng Manggagawa Coalition
23 December 2012

In a petition filed last Friday, the newly-formed workers party-list Partido ng Manggagawa Coalition (PM Coalition) asked the Supreme Court for a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the scheduled raffle of party-list names and printing of the ballots in January pending a review of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution disqualifying the group. The Comelec is scheduled to raffle party-list slots on January 4 and start printing of ballots on January 20 if not stopped by any TRO’s.

Partido ng Manggagawa chairman and PM Coalition nominee Renato Magtubo said the group has complied with all the requirements for accreditation thus it finds no reason to be rejected by the poll body which has declared its intention to rid the party-list system of non-marginalized groups. 

PM Coalition Chair Ambrosio Palad averred that “Let us have another tragedy like Ladlad which was found by the Supreme Court qualified as a party-list organization but the decision came late and only after the ballots were already printed.”

PM Coalition cited Rule 44 in its petition which allows review of decisions of constitutional commission bodies. The group is protesting why a truly marginalized group and whose nominees  possess laudable track records in serving the working class is denied accreditation by the Comelec while highly questionable groups got blind approval.

 “Our coalition is composed of truly marginalized sector, the working class, and our nominees have indisputable track records as veteran leaders of big trade unions and labor organizations,” argued Magtubo, a long-time trade union leader and an activist himself.

Aside from Magtubo, PM Coalition nominees include PALEA president Gerry Rivera, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation Annie Geron, Central Negros Electric Cooperative union president Benjamin Tundag, and Philadelfa Burdeos, former president of the BPI union in Cagayan De Oro City. 

Palad explained that the group appealed before the Comelec En Banc after its application was denied by the Second Division based on misinterpretation in the group's application as a coalition. He said PM Coalition is a coalition of different labor organizations that want to participate in the 2013 partylist elections. “It is not a coalition of political parties like the UNA or the LP-NP-NPC-Akbayan alliance as grossly misunderstood by the Second Division.”

Palad said several unions and labor associations nationwide coalesced into PM Coalition to boost their chances of winning in the 2013 elections.  A party or a coalition of sectoral groups is allowed under the party-list law.

Groups under PM Coalition include duly registered groups such as the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), Partido ng Manggagawa, United Cavite Workers Association, Rosario Workers Association, Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino, Displaced Workers Association of Teresa,  Rizal, Nasudnong Katawhang Kabus in Cebu, Labor Power Council-Negros (LPC-Negros), Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Antipolo (SAMA), Samahan ng Manggagawa ng ParaƱaque (SMP), United Panay-Iloilo Truck Drivers Association (UPTDA), United Skilled Plumbers Association Inc. (USPA), CENECO Union of Rationale Employees (CURE), Samahan ng Mamamayan-Zone One Tondo Organization (SM ZOTO), Valenzuela Informal Settlers Federation (VISFED), and Yellow Bus Line Employees Union (YBLEU).

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