Akbayan Rep. Arlene Bag-ao may have forfeited her position as partylist rep of Akbayan when she filed her certificate of candidacy as a member of the Liberal Party. Bag-ao is running for district representative in Dinagat. In her COC, it is clear she’s running under the Liberal Party. She was also recently appointed as congressional caretaker of Dinagat in the absence of its congressman. It was reported in the news that P140M in pork barrel funds were released while she was caretaker.
Sec 15 of the partylist law states that “any elected party-list representative who changes his political party or sectoral affiliation during his term of office shall forfeit his seat”.
The provision of the law is quite clear. There’s really no going around it.
Now if Rep. Bag-ao will say that dual-memebership is allowed, that she can be LP and Akbayan at the same time, then that exposes Akbayan’s duplicity. You can’t be marginalized on one hand and belong to the ruling party on the other. This is what we’ve been saying in the disqualification case vs Akbayan. The case of Rep. Bag-ao highlights the assertion that Akbayan is not a partylist representing the marginalized. It’s current rep in Congress is member of and is running under the ruling party.
There is nothing wrong in stepping down now, just before the campaign period. When she steps down, the group’s next nominee can simply take her place. That is the proper thing to do. That is the principled thing to do. That is what the law requires.
Unless of course the caretaker role in Dinagat, and the PDAF that goes with it, has become more important than upholding the partylist law.