Stop harassing progressive party-lists! Junk detrimental SC ruling on party-list system! –PAMANTIK-KMU

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The Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU) condemns the harassment of progressive party-lists Piston and Kabataan, as the latter face disqualification cases based on mere technicalities and biased judgment. The regional trade union center has likewise expressed disgust over the new SC ruling on the Philippines’ party-list system that “allows groups not representing marginalized and underrepresented sectors” to participate in the elections.

PAMANTIK-KMU held a protest caravan and rally on April 17 at the Supreme Court and Commission on Elections in Manila to condemn the harassment of progressive party-lists, and the recent SC ruling on the party-list system.

“Just as the workers of Southern Tagalog are experiencing the worst labor conditions under the Aquino administration’s neo-liberal policies, we are truly disgusted over the seemingly plotted harassment of progressive party-lists through the Commission on Elections and the Supreme Court.” Joyce Rosales, PAMANTIK-KMU Deputy Secretary General said.

“For more than a century now, workers have been primary targets of exploitation by foreign capitalists, with the help of the local government, now led by imperialist puppet Noynoy Aquino. At the same time that we are calling for the ouster of DoLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, we are hopeful about having real servants of the people in the lower house via the party-list system. Piston party-list and Kabataan party-list are proven representatives of millions of marginalized Filipinos who yearn to have free and quality education, lower prices of petroleum products, and a more sustainable economy that will provide its people with a more dignified life.” Rosales added.

“But the COMELEC and SC seem to be no different than Baldoz. They are guilty of implementing anti-worker laws and regulations, and are state apparatuses in suppressing millions of Filipinos who are relying on their party-lists in winning and bringing their voices to the congress.”

Earlier in March, the COMELEC has filed a disqualification case for Piston and Kabataan partylist, saying both have violated the rules in campaigning by placing posters on prohibited areas such as waiting sheds, posts, and other public areas.

“They have been very eager in filing and processing the disqualification cases against the two progressive party-lists who are known to be vocal critics of the administration and its neoliberal policies. Basing on mere technicalities, the COMELEC has jeopardized the votes of the two party-lists, which are currently in the top 12 party-lists running for seats in the congress according to various surveys. On the other hand, they are taking no action in reprimanding Akbayan’s Risa Hontiveros, who is running for Senate, who is guilty of the same offenses. There is only one possible reason why this is so—Hontiveros is Aquino’s ally in fooling and suppressing workers and farmers, in their objective to pursue the interests of their imperialist boss. ” Rosales added.

Risa Hontiveros is identified by the COMELEC as the top poster violator. Likewise, her party-list, Akbayan, is amongst the many party-lists who have been served with notices for their ‘unlawful campaign materials’.

The workers’ group also expresses their condemnation and disgust to the new SC ruling that allows non-marginalized groups to run as party-lists and win seats in the congress. Despite having an ‘immediate and executory’ clause on the SC ruling, PAMANTIK-KMU insists that they will continue to protest and call for the junking of the said decision.

“It is obvious that the Aquino administration is using all its agencies in systematically manipulating the upcoming national elections to serve for its own interests. By implementing such unreasonable ruling from the Supreme Court, the administration is bastardizing the party-list system, and through it is trying to maintain the status quo where only the ruling class—composed of landlords and capitalists—are able to run for the elections. Additionally, the SC ruling, which is based on the petition of formerly disqualified party-lists, gives way to reaccredit those which have been previously proven to not represent marginalized sectors. It is very disturbing to know that the rich and those who come from political dynasties can now openly run as representatives of their group or organization, whichever they decide to represent.” Rosales ended.###

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