Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sabungeros eye party-list seats

Sabungeros eye party-list seats
By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) Updated August 18, 2009 12:00 AM
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MANILA, Philippines - A group of cockfighting aficionados is among the more than 200 organizations seeking accreditation with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to run in the 2010 party-list polls.

In a four-page petition, the Alyansa ng Sabungero claimed that their sector – composed of kristo, asentista, kasador, sentenciador, mananari, largador, matchmaker, takilyador and backyard breeder – is marginalized and, therefore, needs to be represented in Congress.

“(We) lead a hand-to-mouth existence... earning only if the tahor (we) work for wins and earns,” the petition noted.

The group listed a certain Nid Anima as its president and has office at Huelva street, Camella Townhouse in Sucat, ParaƱaque.

Cockfighting is one of the favorite pastimes of Filipinos. Some of the popular politicians in the country are known and avid sabungeros, like former Ilocos Sur governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, former Tarlac congressman Jose “Peping” Cojuangco who is now Philippine Olympic Committee president, Rizal ex-governor Casimiro Ynares, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno and presidential adviser on revenue enhancement Narciso “Jun” Santiago Jr., husband of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Even boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is an avid sabungero. Pacquiao has announced plans to run for congressman in Sarangani province in 2010.

Yesterday was the deadline for the filing of accreditation for party-list groups.

As of 5 p.m., a total of 264 organizations have filed for accreditation, including Ang Ladlad which represents gays, lesbians, transgenders and bisexuals.

According to Comelec commissioner Rene Sarmiento, the poll body intends to screen all groups for their track records, constituency, previous projects, source funding and if they are truly marginalized.

Sarmiento added they would reject a party-list group if it is found to be funded by either the government or religious groups.

Comelec chairman Jose Melo said they hope to trim down to at least 50 the number of party-list groups that would participate in next year’s elections for the sake of voters and to streamline the ballots.

Asked why he thinks many groups wanted to run in the party-list elections, the poll chief claimed it is either because of the pork barrel given to congressional representatives and the “typical Filipino mentality” to form his own group when rejected by a group.

“We have to be strict. Otherwise, there would be a lot of names that need to be printed in the ballots,” Melo added.

The other party-list groups that filed for accreditation are All Rainbow Party, United Filipino Seafarers, Aabot, Alab ng Lahi, Partido Lakas ng Masa, Citizen Call for Action, Better Philippines, One Nation Empowered with Technology, Liwanag sa Bilangguan, OFWs, Alagaan Natin Ating Kalusugan, Grand Bohol and Balikatan.

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