Napoles does not represent OFWs – Migrante Why is OFW Family Partylist now “shopping” for nominees?

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International slammed Congressman-elect Roy Seneres of the OFW Family Partylist for attempting to place Jo Christine Napoles as the partylist’s second-seater in Congress.

Napoles is the daughter of Janet Lim Napoles of JLN Trading that is recently implicated in a P10-billion pork barrel scam. Seneres’ children, according to reports, were the ones who elected Napoles as nominee because “she is a long-time friend”.

Migrante International also asked Seneres to explain why his group now seems to be “shopping” for nominees months after their appointment.

Slots for OFW Family’s second to fifth nominees are now technically vacated after two “resigned”, one failed to declare his US citizenship and Napoles was not allowed to assume her place as representative-elect by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“Interestingly, these five nominees were not the original set of nominees submitted by Seneres when he first applied for Comelec accreditation for the partylist,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

The original set of nominees submitted by former Ambassador Roy Seneres, Sr., were himself as first nominee, his son Seneres, Jr. as second nominee, his daughter Hannah Seneres Francisco as third nominee and seaman Melchor Rosales as fourth nominee.

Seneres, Sr. said that when the partylist won two seats in the recent mid-term elections, both the Seneres children and Rosales were asked to resign, to be replaced by Juan “Johnny” Revilla and Napoles.

After the elections, Seneres ousted Revilla as second nominee because of his US citizenship and said that Napoles would take his place as the partylist’s second-seater in Congress.

However, in a recent ruling, the Comelec did not allow Napoles to “move up” as second nominee because her name was not included in the partylist’s list of official nominees.

Revilla, on the other hand, is also under flak for his dubious track record. He is the project manager of Placewell Manpower, a recruitment agency contracted by the Comelec to man PCOS machines in the 2010 elections.

Placewell Manpower was one of three companies that won the contract from Smartmatic-TIM to supply 50,000 IT technicians responsible for operating 82,000 PCOS machines in the May 10, 2010 presidential elections. It is one of the most notorious recruitment agencies involved in countless cases of illegal recruitment, contract substitution and other contract violations against OFWs, Martinez said.

“This ‘shopping’ for nominees is highly irregular and a cause for serious concern. We are now led to question who is really behind this partylist? What is behind this conflict within the partylist? Does this ‘shopping’ for nominees have to do with funding and other favors done for the partylist during the elections?”, Martinez said.

To the Comelec, Martinez said, “They also have to explain how the partylist was able to get away with this arbitrary submission of names and the haphazard transfer of nominees. Nakalagpas lang ba ito sa kanila? Lumalabas ngayon na partylist ito ng mga magkakamag-anak at magkakaibigan. This is questionable especially since the Comelec has been particularly strict with its requirements for some partylist groups last elections.”

Martinez said that while they welcome OFW representation in Congress, they could not simply let the issue pass. “How can it claim to represent OFWs when its own nominees’ interests are in conflict with the interests of OFWs and voters in general?” Martinez said. ###