Sunday, January 24, 2016


Coop-Natcco Party-list Congressman Cresente "Mr. Co-op" Paez, who is seeking a Senate seat as an independent, said that he should not be included in the list of party-list members of the House of Representatives, who may be deemed resigned for shifting affiliation during his or her term.

The independent senatorial candidate, who has been adopted by the Liberal Party-Daang Matuwid, said he remains with the Coop-Natcco Party-list.

This issue surfaced after Harry Roque, an independent senatorial candidate allied with the Grace Poe-Chiz Escudero tandem pointed out that Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan is deemed resigned from Congress because she will be running under Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod political party, led by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

The Manila Times, in a story last Friday (January 22, 2016) listed Paez as among the 11 party-list representatives similarly situated with Ilagan.

Although he is adopted in the Daang Matuwid-Liberal Party senatorial slate, Paez filed his Certificate of Candidacy as an independent.

The Daang Matuwid-Liberal Party though has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) last November 30, 2015 to campaign together and support each other's advocacy.

During the signing of that MoU held at the LP headquarters in Cubao, Quezon City, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte was quoted as saying that the Daang Matuwid-LP would benefit from their alliance with Coop-Natcco and the cooperative movement in general, "kasi cooperatives are already organized and the Daang Matuwid-LP can directly address its message to you as a group," Belmonte was quoted as saying.

According to Jose Romeo Ebron, chief of staff of Paez in the House of Representatives, Congressman Paez is set to finish his last term as Coop-Natcco Party-list representative in the 16th Congress.

LP presidential bet Mar Roxas has assured Paez he will personally campaign for the cooperative leader as he shares the advocacy of cooperatives.

The candidacy of Paez is supported by the Philippine cooperative movement which claims to have 13 million members from around 25, 000 cooperatives registered with the government's Cooperative Development Authority.

Aside from the inclusion in the administration's Daang Matuwid-LP senatorial slate, the cooperatives organized the Coalition of Cooperatives' Party (CCP) to push the senatorial candidacy of Paez.

Paez has been endorsed by the Party-list Coalition at the House of Representatives.  The Party-list Coalition, which has 40 members in the 16th Congress got around 14 million votes in the 2014 election.  The cooperative block in Congress composed, of Coop-Natcco, which has two seats; Agap also with two seats; Butil, 1Care and Ating Koop, each with one seat, has combined votes of around 3 million in the last election.  The Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) used to be a member of the cooperative bloc, but failed to get a seat in the 16th Congress.

Major primary cooperatives are also behind the CCP.  It, though, is not yet registered with the Commission on Elections.

Reprinted from a report by Bencyrus Gerona Ellorin

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