By Hannah Torregoza
Otso Diretso opposition slate’s campaign manager Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Friday criticized the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for declaring the Nacionalista Party (NP) of former Senate President Manny Villar as the dominant minority party, saying that it only showed that the poll body has kowtowed to the whims of the Duterte administration.
In a statement, Pangilinan expressed his frustration, noting how the Comelec, in just four days before election day, declared Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel’s Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban) as the dominant majority party, while Villar’s NP will be the dominant minority party.
“How can that happen when PDP and NP are both allied with the Administration? How can they be both majority and minority? Is the PDP-NP alliance the new KBL?” Pangilinan pointed out.
“Honorable Commissioners, your decision runs counter to democracy. Runs counter to the basic tenets of fair play. Runs counter to common sense. Incredible,” Pangilinan added.
“You chose to deny the existence of the Opposition and gave all the privileges to the Administration,” he lamented.
The Liberal Party (LP) President said the Comelec’s decision is no different from the decision and politicking of politicians in the House of Representatives when they proclaimed Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as House Speaker and elected as minority leader their ally and party-mate Rep. Danny Suarez.
“Is Comelec also engaged in politicking?” the LP stalwart asked.
“We appeal to Comelec, don’t pretend to be blind. Don’t be an instrument and a tool of the Administration in trampling on our political rights and mangling our democracy. Has the Comelec become a sycophant too?” he added.
“The decision was released yesterday, May 9, 2019 or four days before election day. There is no time to appeal. Was this deliberate?” he also noted.
Nevertheless, Pangilinan said LP will exhaust all legal means to contest the Comelec ruling.
“We will exhaust all remedies available. This sets a terrible precedent not just for this coming election but for future elections. It must be vigorously contested,” he said.
“This is absolutely unacceptable. We oppose this. We will oppose before the Supreme Court. No retreat. Never surrender,” Pangilinan emphasized.