Statement on my alleged removal from Kabayan Party-list

Congress of the Philippines

I have received word from our friends in the media that the Kabayan Party-list has sent them copies of a supposed notice of my removal from the party. The fact that the notice of removal was sent to the media but not to me or my office just goes to show that the people behind this plot are after media mileage, not the interest of our party.

My alleged ouster from my party-list is of no moment, having been done in violation of the Constitution and By-Laws of the party itself, and by people who have usurped functions of the incumbent Executive Committee.

Section 3, Article IV of the Kabayan Party-list Constitution and By-Laws provides that a regular party congress shall be held once every three years. An emergency congress could be called upon on the basis of two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee shall serve for a period of three years. Its members shall be elected at large during the regular party congress.

I have on several occasions, requested that a party congress be convened, but Rep. Salo would not have none of it. Instead, he put up his own Executive Committee, composed of individuals he had hand-picked, in gross violation of the party Constitution and By-laws.

For this reason, I filed today with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) a petition to compel the party to hold a party congress so that the issue of the rightful leadership of the party can be settled legally.

Our petition also seeks the annulment of the illegal resolution issued by Rep. Salo’s board for being null and void.

The COMELEC is the proper venue for the intra-corporate dispute now brewing within the party-list group.

In the case of Alcantara et al., vs. COMELEC et al., (G.R. No. 203646, April 16, 2013), the Supreme Court had the opportunity to define the COMELEC’s jurisdiction as follows:

In the exercise of its power to register parties, the COMELEC necessarily possesses the power to pass upon the question of who, among the legitimate officers of the party-list group, are entitled to exercise the rights and privileges granted to a party-list group under the law. The COMELEC’s jurisdiction on this point is well settled and is not here disputed.

In the Lokin (CIBAC) case (G.R. No.193808, June 26, 2012), the Supreme Court ruled similarly held:

In the 2010 case Atienza v. Commission on Elections, it was expressly settled that the COMELEC possessed the authority to resolve intra-party disputes as a necessary tributary of its constitutionally mandated power to enforce election laws and register political parties. The Court therein cited Kalaw v. Commission on Elections and Palmares v. Commission on Elections, which uniformly upheld the COMELEC’s jurisdiction over intra-party disputes:

The COMELEC’s jurisdiction over intra-party leadership disputes has already been settled by the Court. The Court ruled in Kalaw v. Commission on Elections that the COMELEC’s powers and functions under Section 2, Article IX-C of the Constitution, “include the ascertainment of the identity of the political party and its legitimate officers responsible for its acts.” The Court also declared in another case that the COMELEC’s power to register political parties necessarily involved the determination of the persons who must act on its behalf. Thus, the COMELEC may resolve an intra-party leadership dispute, in a proper case brought before it, as an incident of its power to register political parties.

Kabayan Party-list is a multi-sectoral party that cuts across social classes and geographical boundaries on a regional scale, principally in Region IV. It represents transport workers, farmers, fisherfolk, industrial workers, urban poor, migrant workers and seafarers, youth, and professionals.

It was born through the consolidation efforts of the Barangay and Community Alternative Leaders/Bacal Group of Organization (BACAL), a legitimate community-based organization registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with registration no. A200115183 issued on October 5, 2001.

In 2009, COMELEC approved its registration as a party-list.

Rep. Salo only has his own Executive Committee to back him up. I can confidently say that I have the support of the various sectors that make up the party as well as the duly constituted Executive Board.

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