Let Migrante Run in 2010!Tuloy ang Laban!

Migrante Sectoral Partylist (MsP) vows to fight Comelec’s decision to delist it from participating in the May 10, 2010 elections.It has already filed oppositon to Comelec’s decision and currently awaiting the latter’s reply.If Comelec turns down the appeal, MsP is ready to go to the Supreme Court (SC) to be reinstated in the list and be qualified for participation before the official campaign starts on February 2010.

  • On October 13, Comelec delisted MsP along with 25 other partylist groups without prior notice and hearing as required by the partylist law.Apart from the lack of due process, Comelec delisted MsP on the grounds that it has failed to participate in the last two preceding elections or failed to obtain at least two percentum (2%) of the votes cast in the two preceding elections.
  • Fact is that MsP participated in only one election (2004), so the first argument “failure to participate in the last two elections” does not apply to it. Neither does the second ground “failure to obtain at least two percentum (2%) of the votes cast in the two preceding elections” apply to MsP as it participated only once. Also, earlier on, MsP did manifest its intention to Comelec not to run in the 2007 elections so that it can prepare itself better for the 2010 elections, for which the latter acknowledged.Hence, Comelec’s interpretation is flawed and nullifies the participation of MsP in the 2010 elections. Worse, this was done without notice or hearing.
  • Comelec’s delisting of MsP smacks of political motivation. MsP has the best and biggest chance to represent OFWs in Congress in 2010. For over three decades, Migrante has become the severest critic of government for its labor export policy. Government stands to benefit the most from stopping Migrante in its bid for congress through its partylist.
  • No matter the delisting, MsP will still hold its convention on November 11 to select its nominees and file a petition to participate on November21,unlessComelec or the SC hands down its final decision..
  • There are indications that Comelec may delay or sit on MsP’s appeal until the campaign period starts, which would effectively nullify any hopes for MsP to participate.No case can be brought before the SC until Comelec acts on MsP’s petition. Neither is there guarantee that the SC will decide on MsP’s favor once the case reaches its court.
  • Still, the best guarantee is for Migrante to continue being vigilant and militant so as to get an early orfavorable decision for MsP.Increasing protests must be mounted in the country and in various parts of the world where Migrante and MI chapters are found. Internationally coordinated protests have already been set before the Comelec, consulates and embassies.
  • Up to this time, the 8-10 million Filipinos around the world have not had a representation in congress from their own sector.Others have stood up in behalf of Filipino migrants.Now is the time for the country’s OFWs to make their voices heard and through MsP assert their right to representation in congress.

Let the Voices of OFWs be Heard:

Urgent Petition for Migrante to run in the 2010 party-list elections

We condemn a recent move by the Philippine government to disqualify Migrante Party-List from participating in the 2010 national elections. We believe that this will disenfranchise millions of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and deny them the right to representation in Congress. This move will push one of the most exploited sectors of Philippine society—migrant Filipinos who work under vulnerable conditions while keeping the Philippine economy afloat—into further marginalization and voicelessness.

We believe that this move is politically motivated and will greatly erode the credibility of the Arroyo administration to hold clean and honest elections at a time when many Filipinos are clamoring for progressive politics and genuine change.

We believe that the Commission on Elections En Banc Resolution No. 8679 should not have included Migrante Party-list in its list of disqualified party-list groups. The said resolution violates the Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-List System Act, which says that a party-list can only have its registration removed or cancelled if it fails to participate in the two preceding elections or to obtain at least two per cent (2%) of the total party-list votes in the same. Migrante Party-list, which ran in the 2004 elections and manifested its intent not to run in the 2007 elections, falls under neither category.

Furthermore, while RA 7941 requires the Comelec to give prior notice and a hearing before acting on disqualification, Migrante Party-list received none. 

We therefore believe that the electoral body has illegally and deliberately misread the Party-List System Act so as to undermine its democratic spirit. We believe that it has demonstrated bias against an organization known to be a vocal critic of the Philippine government’s labor export policy.

Migrante Party-list has chapters in 23 OFW-populated countries, and has been consistent in defending the rights and welfare of migrant Filipino workers. In the past three national elections, it has contributed greatly in ensuring OFWs’ participation through Overseas Absentee Voting. It is thus unacceptable that Migrante Party-list is being denied the right to be elected into office; while pseudo party-list groups known to have been set up by the Arroyo administration and lack a marginalized constituency are allowed to run and gain representation in Congress.

We demand the immediate removal of Migrante Party-list from de-listed party-list groups. The Arroyo administration should desist from disenfranchising migrant Filipino workers who are set to cast their ballots in 2010. We believe that it is a form of electoral fraud and injustice against OFWs who need genuine representation in Congress to defend them from renewed attacks on their rights and welfare.

We call on the Philippine government to give the right to Migrante Party-list to run in the 2010 elections. We believe that Overseas Filipino Workers should be accorded the right to equal representation under the law. Any move to undermine this basic right must not pass unchallenged.


Thousands of OFWs disenfranchised with COMELEC’s delisting of Migrante

October 23, 2009

Party list coalition Makabayan today strongly urged the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to reconsider its earlier resolution to remove Migrante Sectoral Party from the list of accredited party-list organizations participating in the 2010 elections.

“Thousands of overseas Filipinos are in danger of being disenfranchised by this COMELEC ruling. They who contribute so much from the economy have for so long been marginalized by the electoral system. Now, once again, they are being denied their right to representation,” said Rep. Satur Ocampo, president of Makabayan.

In an en banc resolution last October 13, 2009, COMELEC barred Migrante and 25 other party-list organizations from participating in the 2010 elections. Migrante, according to the commission, participated and failed to gain seats in two straight elections prior to the upcoming polls.

It is on record, however, that Migrante only participated during the 2004 elections and signified their intent not to run in 2007 while maintaining the option to run in the next election.

“It is clear from its track record that Migrante is a legitimate party-list organization, with the largest and broadest membership among overseas Filipinos and their families in the Philippines. It cannot be denied that to delist Migrante is to disenfranchise their constituency,” explained Ocampo.

Ocampo further pointed to COMELEC’s wild inconsistencies in its decision to delist and maintain party-list groups in its accredited list. For instance, groups like BISA, Pinoy Overseas Party and Banat were allowed to run in 2004 even as they failed to garner the required two-percent of total party-list votes to garner seats in 1998. These groups also failed to run during the 2001 elections.

Meanwhile, groups with dubious representation like (Mike Arroyo’s sister) Ma. Lourdes Arroyo’s Kasangga Party-list and butcher general Jovito Palparan’s Bantay Party-list were allowed to participate in 2007 and defame the true spirit of the Party-List System Act.

“All these point to a political motive in the delisting of Migrante. After all, Migrante, along with the other progressive party-list organizations, have been the most vocal in criticizing government misdeeds and even exposing electoral fraud during the past elections,” said Ocampo.

Ocampo also urged the commission not to give in to pressure from Malacañang. He asked COMELEC to give progressive party-list organizations like Migrante a chance to finally run for House seats that would represent the millions of Filipinos long denied of due representation. ###

KMU Statement: Disqualify Gloria’s party-lists, not Migrante

In its haste to shorten the official ballot in the coming 2010 elections, the Comelec has just disqualified Migrante Sectoral Party-list along with 25 other party-list groups. 

Migrante was delisted because it failed to get 2% of the party-list votes in the 2004 elections and decided not to run in the 2007 elections to focus on strengthening itself. From a perspective that is faithful to the view that marginalized groups should be represented in the Philippine legislature, Migrante’s move makes perfect political sense.

Now, after Migrante has decided it is strong enough to run in the 2010 elections, the Comelec decides to delist it, thereby depriving the group of the name it had painstakingly built and popularized among its members and the general public.

What is the message here? That the party-list system welcomes only those groups that are strong enough to win in the first or second of two consecutive elections? This framework favors groups that are supported by the wealthy and powerful, to the detriment of groups like Migrante that truly represent the country’s marginalized.

We have worked with Migrante in many campaigns. We know for a fact that it truly represents Filipino migrants – they who are many in number, praised in rhetoric by the government, important in the country’s economy, but are marginalized in politics.

If the Comelec wants to remain faithful to the spirit of the party-list system and shorten the official ballot for the elections, it should disqualify Gloria’s party-lists which cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, represent the marginalized: Bantay (representative: Jovito Palparan), ANAD (Jun Alcover), Kasangga (Ma. Lourdes Arroyo), among others.  

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson, 0929-629-3234

# Migrante Partylist