5 ‘Bicol’ partylist groups to vie for votes in 2019
posted 19-Dec-2018  ·  
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Five partylist groups which are either organized in the Bicol region or have Bicolanos as nominees placed no higher than No. 48 in the initial list reflecting the order of their appearance on the official ballot for the May 2019 midterm elections.

Placing highest among them is Talino at Galing Pinoy (TGP) whose first nominee is former Vice Governor Jose Teves Jr. In 2016, with two of its five nominees belonging to the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity, TGP garnered a total of 87,009 votes nationwide of 0.27 percent of the total votes cast. It did not win a single seat.

Teves himself is a former national chairman of the fraternity’s Triskelion Alumni Organization (TAO) and leaned heavily on the local chapter’s support in his failed bid for the governorship in 2016.

Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (BUHAY), the partylist group formed by El Shaddai leader Mike Velarde, is at No. 87. From 2004 to 2010, one of its partylist congressmen was his son Rene Velarde while another son, Mike Velarde Jr., succeeded his brother. It got over 760,000 votes in 2016, good for two seats in Congress.

The Barangay Natin partylist (BANAT), which first nominee Provincial Board Member Joseph Al-Randie Wong seeks to use as vehicle to become a House representative, drew No. 98 in the Commission on Election’s electronic raffle on Nov. 5, 2018.

In the 2016 elections, with former Marcos-time Assemblyman Salvador Britanico as its first nominee, BANAT garnered only 31,185 votes (0.10%).

Architect Enrique Olonan’s Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Konstruksiyon (SAMAKO) will be No. 121 in the ballot order for 2019. In 2016, it gathered only 52,251 votes nationwide or 0.16 percent, with its top three nominees – Olonan himself, Vicente Besa and Romeo Soria Jr. – winning no seats in Congress. Incidentally, an ailing Olonan has reportedly sold his Bigaa, Virac mansion to businessman and 2019 congressional bet Hector Sanchez, who is using the sprawling compound as his headquarters.

Ako Bicol political party is next at No. 141 and seeks to top the partylist elections next year. In the last polls, it got 1.6 million votes including 41,000 in Catanduanes. Three of its nominees – incumbent Reps. Rodel Batocabe, Alfredo Garbin Jr. and Christopher Co – won sits in the current Congress.

Its three other nominees in 2016 – lawyers Ronald Ang, Jason Rodenas and Nikko Batingana – are all corporate officers of Sunwest Water & Electric Co. (SUWECO), the biggest power provider in the Catanduanes grid.

The trio also happens to be the ones who were authorized by the billion-peso power firm to file the cyberlibel suit against former Tribune columnist Rosulo Manlangit and current publisher Fernan Gianan. The local journalists were convicted of the offense last April 2018 by Legazpi City RTC Branch 1 Judge Ignacio Almodovar on his last day in office before retiring the next day. The case, which meted a three-year prison term and P9-million in damages against the accused, is on appeal.

A new partylist group in the region, One Unified Transport Alliance of the Philippines – Bicol Region (1 UTAP BICOL), is seeking votes next year among transport workers and operators.

In the COMELEC raffle, Bayan Muna earned the top spot after being drawn first.

Making up the rest of the top 10 are: 2. Kabalikat ng Mamamayan (KABAYAN); 3. Magkakasama sa Sakahan, Kaunlaran (MAGSASAKA); 4. Philippine Educators Alliance for Community Empowerment (PEACE); 5. Nagkakaisang Pilipino Para Sa Pag-angat ng Maralitang Manileño; 6. National Association for Electricity Consumers for Reforms (KONTRA BROWN OUT); 7. OFW Family Club, Inc (OFW FAMILY); 8. 1-United Transport Koalisyon (1-UTAK); 9. Kusug Tausug; and, 10. Global Workers and Family Federation (GLOBAL).

The bottom of the list – taking the 181st spot – was occupied by AA-Kasosyo party-list, who has former communications assistant secretary Mocha Uson as nominee.

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