Ocampo slams party-list entry of Angelo Reyes, Mikey Arroyo

By DateLine Philippines

Reports that Energy secretary Angelo Reyes and presidential son Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo are seeking seats in the House of Representatives through the party-list system have been met with protests from at least two lawmakers.

Reyes is allegedly a nominee of 1-UTAK (United Transport Koalisyon), a party-list coalition of jeepney drivers and operators, while Arroyo is said to be the first nominee of Ang Galing Party (AGP), a party-list group that claims to represent transport drivers and security guards, among others.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo said that both Reyes and Arroyo should be declared ineligible to run under the party-list system because the party-list is supposedly for the underrepresented and marginalized sectors of society.

“In all honesty, can Mikey Arroyo and Angelo Reyes proclaim themselves as representing the marginalized sectors? They should be immediately declared unqualified and ineligible to represent any legitimate party-list group in Congress,” said Ocampo, a three-term party-list representative seeking a senatorial seat under the Makabayan-Nacionalista Party slate.

Ocampo added that allowing Reyes and Arroyo to run for Congress as party-list nominees “makes a mockery of the party-list system.”

“In his entire stint as energy secretary, he (Reyes) failed to protect consumers and allowed the oil and electricity firms to continue manipulating their rate and pricing mechanisms so they can continue to rake in super profits,” he said.

Ocampo also said that Arroyo’s plan to seek a seat in Congress is cause for “outrage” as it would show that the Arroyo family is “abusing the party-list system to further their own political ambitions and schemes.”

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is running for congresswoman in Pampanga’s second district, a post currently occupied by Mikey Arroyo.

There are currently four Arroyos in the House of Representatives – Mikey, his brother, Dato (Camarines Sur), uncle Ignacio Arroyo (Negros Occidental), and aunt Ma. Lourdes (partylist group Ang Kasangga).

Last week, Arroyo said there were offers for him to run for party-list representative.

He could not be reached for comment.

Rep. Teodoro Casiño, also from the Bayan Muna party-list, shared Ocampo’s position.

He said Reyes could not represent 1-Utak because he is not even a member of that party-list group.

Accredited party-list groups have until March 26 to submit to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) five names, three of which will sit as representative if the group garners the required number of votes.

The Comelec earlier said that to be eligible as party-list nominee, the person must be a member of the party-list or sectoral group he was representing as ruled by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, in its two decisions on Comelec cases against Barangay (village) Association for National Advancement and Transparency (Banat) group and Ang Bagong Bayani, ruled that “nominees of party-list groups must be Filipino citizens who belong to marginalized or underrepresented sectors. If he represents the fisherfolk, he must be a fisherfolk, and a senior citizen if he represents senior citizens.”

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