Satur, Liza file disqualification case vs Mikey Arroyo

By DateLine Philippines

Saying that his entry into the party-list system would be a “brazen act of sullying and prostituting” the system, two militant lawmakers on Thursday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify Pampanga Representative Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo.

Arroyo, the eldest son of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is the first nominee of Ang Galing Pinoy (AGP), a party-list group that claims to represent security guards and tricycle drivers.

In filing their petition, Representatives Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna and Liza Maza of Gabriela said that Arroyo “should not make a mockery of the party-list system” and should voluntarily withdraw his nomination.

“He must know that he’s throwing a massive monkey wrench in the party-list system and muddling what has already been clarified before. He is performing a great disservice to the members of the genuine party-list groups and the marginalized sectors they represent,” they said.

Ocampo and Maza, guest senatorial candidates of the Nacionalista Party, said there was no way the President’s son could justify that he is representing a group of security guards and tricycle drivers.

Unlike the income of lowly security guards, Arroyo’s net worth has ballooned by more than 1,600% in seven years, from P5.7 million in 2001 to P74.4 million in 2004, and then to P99.2 million in 2008, according to an Inquirer report.

Citing a Supreme Court ruling on the Bagong Bayani case, the lawmakers said “it is not enough for the candidate to claim representation of the marginalized and underrepresented, because representation is easy to claim and to feign. The party-list organization or party must factually and truly represent the marginalized and underrepresented constituencies mentioned in Section 5. Concurrently, the persons nominated by the party-list candidate-organization must be Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties.”

“Indeed, the law crafted to address the peculiar disadvantages of Payatas hovel dwellers cannot be appropriated by the mansion owners of Forbes Park. The interests of these two sectors are manifestly disparate,” the two said.

Ocampo and Maza asserted that Arroyo’s attempt to remain in Congress through the party-list election is part of an “orchestrated effort” to fulfill the President’s plan of becoming Speaker of the House and from this position, move to amend the 1987 Constitution.

The young Arroyo still has one term left in the House of Representatives but gave way to his mother, who is seeking a congressional seat in Pampanga’s second district.

Ocampo called on the Comelec to be daring in standing up against powerful political figures like the Arroyos, who are trying to get to Congress through the party-list system.

“If Arroyo will not withdraw, then the Comelec should not wait for more protests because this is an open and shut case: it must immediately declare Arroyo unqualified,” Ocampo said.

Meanwhile, Arroyo dismissed anew the criticisms thrown at him for seeking a congressional seat via the party-list system.

“If you notice, those criticizing all come from the opposition, nothing is new,” he said in a text message.

Asked if he plans to back out, he said, “That is for the party-list hierarchy to decide.”

The family of President Arroyo stands to potentially gain five seats in the House of Representatives of the 15th Congress.

Aside from Arroyo and the President, Representative Diosdado Arroyo, the President’s other son, and Representative Ignacio Arroyo, her brother-in-law, are both seeking reelection in Camarines Sur and Negros Occidental, respectively.

It is not yet certain if Ma Lourdes Arroyo, the President’s sister-in-law, will be a nominee anew of the party-list group Ang Kasangga, which purportedly represents microentrepreneurs.

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