The Commission on Elections drew flak after it rejected an aspiring party-list that represents nurses and other health workers who are at the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.
Nurses United was one of over 100 aspiring party-list groups that Comelec denied with finality to run for the 2022 national elections due to “deficiencies.”
In Resolution No. 10735 promulgated last December 1, the poll body announced its decision to reject the aspiring party-list groups’ motions for considerations.
These groups have already been denied accreditation by Comelec’s divisions last November.
The names of NU and other rejected aspiring party-list groups are listed on the section 2 of the resolution.
“The motions for reconsideration of the petitions for registration of the following party-list groups, organizations, and coalitions have been denied,” the document read.
The resolution, however, did not provide other information about the grounds for disqualifying the aspiring party-lists.
In a briefing on Monday, December 6, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez acknowledged the outrage of the group after being denied opportunity to run.
However, he recommended NU to also appeal their right to seek public office.
“They have every right to say that but I would recommend that they take the proper legal actions to seek redress, right? Kung tingin nila naagrabyado sila, meron silang legal remedy, ipaglaban nila,” Jimenez said.
Criticisms vs Comelec’s ruling
Rey Valmores-Salinas of Bahaghari Philippines, an LGBT rights group, slammed the Comelec’s supposed “arrogance and detachment from reality.”
“Nurses United, a party-list of healthcare workers and a voice that should be highlighted foremost during a pandemic, has been REJECTED by COMELEC. And now, they are being told to ‘just shout in the streets’?” Salinas said.
“The sheer arrogance and detachment from reality of @COMELEC,” she added.
Others also perceived the rejection to be prejudiced toward NU and other party-lists comprising members of the marginalized sectors of the society.
They juxtaposed them with other accredited party-list groups who were perceived to have questionable advocacies and members.
“Kapal ng mukha niyo @COMELEC. Lakas niyo mag-approve sa mga halatang fake partylists pero sa mga totoong nagrerepresenta ng sektor ay hindi niyo pinapapasok? Nasaan ang transparency sa proseso ng pag-approve o reject ng partylist?” one Twitter user said.
“How come government officers never try to provide reasons for their decisions, and instead respond by telling other people what to do?” another Twitter user wrote.
“Ito ay isang halimbawa ng limitasyon ng kasalukuyang sistema ng eleksyon sa Pilipinas—lalong ginigipit ang mga aping sektor, habang patuloy na pinapaboran ang malalaking negosyo’t political dynasties,” another Twitter user said.
Some online users criticized Jimenez for suggesting NU should follow legal remedy.
“Sobrang detached?? I mean, haven’t they fought enough? Di man lang inexplain yung grounds for rejection?” one Twitter user said.
“Imagine telling healthcare workers, ‘kung tingin nila naagrabyado sila,’” another Twitter user wrote.
NU also slammed Comelec in a statement released on Facebook.
“Binalewala ng COMELEC ang mga nars at health workers. Sa halip na itaguyod ng COMELEC ang magandang layunin ng party-list system, maliwanag na naging instrumento na ito ng mga nasa poder upang sagkaan ang mahihirap at inaaping sektor ng lipunan na magkaroon ng boses at representasyon sa Kongreso,” the aspiring party-list said.
NU members also previously staged a rally in front of Comelec’s headquarters in Intramuros, Manila to protest the poll body’s decision.