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Bicol bloc urges poll body to proclaim Ako Bicol immediately

By Rhaydz B. Barcia, Manila Times Correspondent

LEGAZPI CITY: Following the opposition of Bayan Muna and other militant group to disqualify and disenfranchise the Bicolano homegrown regional political party, the entire Bicol governors and majority of solons urged the Commission on Election (Comelec) to proclaim immediately the three nominees of Ako Bicol to uphold the rule of law and the voice of the Bicolano eletorate here.
The appeal before the Comelec of the powerful Bicol bloc was led by Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero of Sorsogon wherein they’re urgently asking the poll body to immediately proclaim the regional party-list of the Bicolano people.

“Ako Bicol topped the elections in the party-list system of representation with more than 1.5 million votes nationwide with almost 1.1 million votes in the Bicol region alone. Notwithstanding, the overwhelming mandate given by our people to Ako Bicol, its proclamation has been deferred on the ground that there is a pending disqualification filed against it. Unfortunately, this disqualification case was belatedly filed last May 21, 2010 long after our people has given their mandate to Ako Bicol,” the Bicol bloc pointed out.

“The disqualification case of Ako Bicol as a regional political party with the intention to participate in the partylist system of representation should have been questioned at the time when it was still applying for accreditation and not after the Comelec has issued accreditation. Suffice it to state, the disqualification case is not a legal impediment that will bar the proclamation of Ako Bicol. We therefore, appeal to the Comelec to yield to the sovereign will of our people. Let us not disenfranchise the voters who reposed their trust and confidence on Ako Bicol. Proclaim Ako Bicol immediately to uphold the rule of law and the voice of the people,” the Bicol bloc said in a letter sent to the poll body.

The members of the Bicol bloc who signed for the immediately proclamation of Ako Bicol are Escudero, governors Joey Salceda of Albay, Raul Lee of Sorsogon, Luis Raymund Villafuerte of Camarines Sur, Scoot Lanete of Masbate, Edgar Tallado of Camarines Norte and Joseph Cua of Catanduanes while the solons are Al Francis Bichara of Second District of Albay, Fernando Gonzalez of Third District of Albay, Salvio Fortuno, Fifth District of Camarines Sur, Deogracias Ramos of 2nd district of Sorsogon, Salvador Escudero of the First District of Sorsogon and Renato Unico Jr. of First District of Camarines Norte.

Bayan Muna and other militant organizations in Bicol strongly contested the proclamation of Ako Bicol nominees such as lawyers Rodel Batocabe, Pido Garbin and Christopher Co because according to the oppositors the Ako Bicol does not represent the marginalized sector of the society here.

Tessa Lopez, regional spokesman of Bayan-Bicol told The Manila Times that besides the disqualification case they’re pursuing massive signature drive campaign to disenfranchise the Ako Bicol.

Elizaldy “Zaldy” Co, chairman of the board of Ako Bicol told The Times that proclaim or not proclaimed, Ako Bicol will continue pursue its primary thrust to help alleviate the lives of the poor communities, education and development of Bicol region.

Co also told The Times that the leftist group is strongly opposing the proclamation of Ako Bicol nominees because they turned town the request of Bayan Muna leaders to at least allocate or give one seat for Bayan Muna.

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