August 4, 2011
Poll watchdog group Kontra Daya and umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today called on the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation to look into two partylist groups with links to former Pagcor chair Ephraim Geniuno, saying that these entities may lead to the discovery of more anomalies These two partylist groups are different from the Batang Iwas Droga (BIDA), also exposed by Kontra Daya in 2010, and whose nominee is Sheryl Genuino-See, the daughter of Ephraim.
Based on the list issued by the Comelec for the 2010 polls, Abot Tanaw and Bigkis Pinoy (Bigkis) were both accredited and deemed eligible to participate in the 2010 polls.
“If the previous Pagcor administration was able to divert public funds towards BIDA, then these two other bogus partylist groups should also be investigated for possible anomalies,” said Fr. Joe Dizon of Kontra Daya. The poll watchdog was at the forefront of efforts in exposing Arroyo-linked partylist groups in the 2007 and 2010 elections.
Gerwyn See is the first nominee of partylist group Abot Tanaw. Gerwyn is the son-in-law of Ephraim Genuino and husband of Sheryl Genuino-See. Abot Tanaw’s second nominee is Mario Cornista, a Pagcor consultant and, coincidentally, the chairman of the board of directors of the Pagcor-linked BIDA partylist group. The group’s third nominee Tomas Toledo is also a Pagcor consultant. Based on records from the Comelec, Abot Tanaw ran on a platform of providing free overseas calls for OFWs.
Bigkis Pinoy meanwhile has failed to get a partylist seat after several attempts dating back to 2001. It was also believed to be associated with Genuinio. Both Sheryl Genuino- See and Johnny Tan were previous nominees of Bigkis Pinoy before they became nominees of BIDA. Other nominees were Mario Cornista, Ismael Tabo and Tomas Toledo who were also Pagcor consultants. Previous Bigkis Pinoy nominees also included Pagcor officials Eduardo King and Ramon Agoncillo.
The questionable accreditation of these partylist groups was done by the Comelec Second Division under Nicodemo Ferrer. Ferrer, along with Comelec chair Benjamin Abalos, has been implicated by in the 2007 election fraud in Mindanao by former Comelec official Lintang Bedol.
“It is therefore preposterous that Johnny Tan now claims that he has no close relations with Ephraim Genuino when clearly he has been associated with the Pagcor chair through the Bigkis Pinoy partylist in 2007 and later on BIDA partylist in 2010,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“Aside from the recently exposed business deals, Johnny Tan seems to have a long political relationship with two Genuino-linked partylist groups,” he added.