By Rey Panaligan
The Advocates and Keepers Organizations of Overseas Filipino Workers, Inc. (AKO-OFW) asked the Supreme Court (SC) Wednesday to compel the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to accredit it as a party-list group in the May elections.
AKO-OFW which has been disqualified by the Comelec pleaded for a temporary restraining order (TRO).
It told the SC it sought registration as a party-list group to fulfill its mission of protecting the rights and welfare of OFWs which remained as a marginalized and underrepresented sector.
It added it was behind the creation of Bantay OFW App where its members communicate their concerns for help and referral to appropriate domestic or foreign counterpart agencies or to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) or to the appropriate Philippine embassy or consular office.
Its petition was the second filed by disqualified party-list groups. The first petition was filed by the group, Manggagawa, which was disqualified for failure to comply with certain Comelec requirements.
Both petitions are expected to be taken up by the SC in its full-court session next week.
Through its chairperson Celerino Umandap and national president Marcia Vicenta Sadicon, AKO-OFW accused the Comelec of grave abuse of discretion for holding that it failed to comply with the requirement of consent under Section 6 (1) of Comelec Resolution No. 9366 which provides for the guidelines for party-list groups participating in the elections.
Section 6 (1) mandates that the petition for registration as a party-list group should state that all its officers and members have given their consent to the petition.
AKO-OFW said that its petition for registration contained documentary evidence of consent and approval of its members and officers.
“The petition for registration of AKO OFW substantially complied with the requirement of the law. The failure of the Comelec to scrutinize the documents supporting the petition, the amended petition and the motion for reconsideration, and most importantly all the annexes attached thereto, amounted to utter evasion to perform its duty to dispose the matter with utmost care and vigilance in the light of the spirit and intent of the party-list law,” it said.
It pointed out that it attached to its petition for registration pertinent board resolutions which showed that its members and officers gave their consent to the filing of the petition.
“The circumstances showing that the organization as a whole is desirous to be registered as a sectoral party and participate in the 2019 party-list elections existed from the time the organization meeting was convened…,” it added.