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Gabriela partylist denies election law violation, urges COMELEC to uphold partylist law

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

#LegalBasis Episode Highlight

Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) on Sunday denied the accusations made by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) which in 2019 filed a petition to cancel the party-list’s registration on grounds of violating the election law and the Constitution.

In its petition, the NTF-ELCAC claimed that GWP has been receiving funds from foreign governments and has been using violence and unlawful means to advance its goals.

The petition also alleged that the party-list has supported the principles and advocacies of the New People’s Army by citing a sworn statement of a certain Edison Coloma Villanueva who claimed that GWP “utilizes its funds for the procurement of firearms and ammunition’s for the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA.”

Speaking on NYK’s legal program titled “Legal Basis,” Gabriela Women’s Party legal counsel Atty. Alnie Foja contested the evidence presented by the petitioner.

“Mayroon silang salaysay daw ng isang tao pero ang nakakatawa nga doon, lalaki ‘yung nagsalaysay at wala kaming miyembrong lalaki sa Gabriela Women’s Party,” she said.

“Tumatanggap daw ng financial support ang Gabriela Women’s Party sa foreign government o agency. Ang ginagamit niyang ebidensya ay remittances para sa Gabriela Incorporated. Kaya sinasabi namin, hindi magkaparehas ang Gabriela Women’s Party at Gabriela Incorporated. Magkaiba sila ng opisina,” Foja explained.

The women’s rights lawyer also questioned the objective of the NTF-ELCAC in seeking to disqualify the Gabriela Women’s Party. Foja said the petition does not even meet the supposed intent of Executive Order No. 70 which established the NTF-ELCAC.

“If I may read, isa sa mga wheareases niya is ‘there is a need to reframe and refocus the government policy for achieving inclusive and sustainable peace by recognizing that insurgencies, internal disturbances and tensions and other armed conflicts and threats are not only military and security concerns but are symptomatic of broader social, economic and historical problems such as poverty, historical injustice, social inequality, and lack of inclusivity, among others,’” she said.

“Kung nagustuhan niyo po ‘yung narinig ninyo, actually kami naguguluhan kung bakit NTF is in the business of seeking the cancellation of registration of Gabriela Women’s Party when Gabriela Women’s Party is the only sectoral partylist of marginalized and underrepresented women in Congress,” added Foja.

Claiming that the accusation is just another act of red-tagging the party-list, Foja urged the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to uphold the mandate of the party-list law in responding to the petition.

"Sa COMELEC, umaasa kami na that it will uphold the spirit of the party-list law, which is bigyan ng boses ang mga mahihirap at mga underrepresented na walang boses sa Kongreso at i-assess fairly ‘yung ebidensya na nakahain in relation to this case,” she said.

"Nag-iisa na nga itong boses ng kababaihan sa Kongreso. Hindi tayo dapat basta pumayag na tanggalin o busalan ang boses ng kababaihan sa Kongreso. Dapat nga paramihin pa ang kababaihan na magtataguyod ng women agenda sa Congress. Ang tanong ko sa ating lahat ay 'Can you really imagine Congress without Gabriela Women's Party,'" Foja added.

--- Watch the full episode of Legal Basis: On the Petition to Cancel Gabriela Partylist Registration|February 28, 2021

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