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2 add to House roster of party-list neophytes

THE House of Representatives will have two new members—a labor representative and a former leader of the rebel group Alex Boncayao Brigade’s sparrow unit—by the time the 16th Congress opens its second regular session on July 28.

Roland de la Cruz is replacing Raymond Democrito Mendoza as party-list representative of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, the country’s largest labor group.

Former rebel leader Joseph Stephen Paduano is joining the House as congressman of Abang Lingkod party-list group.

Also known as Carapali Luahalti when he was still national commander of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade, Paduano was sworn into office by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. before Congress adjourned sine die.

Paduano becomes the 290th member of the House.

Paduano received his Certificate of Proclamation from the Commission on Election  after it was approved by the Comelec en banc.

The Supreme Court ordered the Comelec to proclaim the previously disqualified Abang Lingkod as one of the winning groups in the May 2013 party-list elections.

The high tribunal granted the group’s petition to reverse its disqualification only a few days before the May 13 polls.

The Comelec then filed a motion for reconsideration but the high court upheld its decision in March, Paduano said.

Abang Lingkod is among the groups disqualified after they were found not representing any marginalized sector.

The Supreme Court, however, said the Comelec “gravely abused its discretion in cancelling the registration of Abang Lingkod under the party-list system.”

The TUCP, meanwhile, gained a new party-list representative in the 16th Congress after the Court of Appeals sustained its decision supporting the leadership of former Senator Ernesto Herrera as the group’s rightful representative.

Roland de la Cruz will replace Raymond Democrito Mendoza as the representative of the TUCP.

TUCP spokesman Raffy Mapalo said the appellate court upheld with finality Herrera’s assumption of the post of TUCP president, thus affirming the validity of all the acts that he performed as chief executive of the national labor center.

“Among Herrera’s actions which the CA effectively legitimated was the designation of De la Cruz as TUCP’s first party-list nominee in the 2013 congressional elections,” Mapalo said in a statement.

De la Cruz is deputy general secretary of the 80,000-strong National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry of the Philippines.

In a decision promulgated on June 16 this year, Mapalo said, the appellate court also declared as “void from the start” all the acts performed by resigned TUCP president Democrito Mendoza Sr., including his act of designating his son Raymond as the labor group’s first party-list nominee in the 2013 elections.

Mapalo recalled that after 38 years as TUCP president, the elder Mendoza, now 91, voluntarily resigned his post on Nov. 1, 2011.

“Mendoza’s resignation, conveyed in writing, was accepted by the TUCP’s national executive board. Herrera, then general secretary, automatically succeeded Mendoza based on the TUCP’s Constitution and By-laws,” Mapalo said.

However, Mapalo said, the elder Mendoza later recalled his resignation at the prodding of his son, thus setting off a dispute that the Court of Appeals resolved in a ruling first promulgated on Oct. 7, 2013.

In that decision, the court upheld Herrera as TUCP president, saying the former two-term senator validly assumed the post of president when Mendoza quit his post on his own accord.

“The new CA ruling merely affirmed its previous decision sustaining Herrera as TUCP president and denied Mendoza’s motion for reconsideration,” Mapalo said.

The court also ordered the Department of Labor and Employment to ensure that Herrera and other duly-designated officers “shall have full use and access to the TUCP offices including its equipment, facilities, papers, properties in Quezon City and located elsewhere, as may be necessary in the discharge of official duties without interruption or disruption.”

Referring to the same department, the court added: “Public respondents are also ordered to sanction, in accordance with existing laws and applicable regulations, any TUCP member or agent who obstructs, delays or defeats the enforcement of this decision.”

Mendoza had previously padlocked the TUCP’s headquarters in Diliman, Quezon City, forcing Herrera and the other officers and staff to temporarily hold office in Manila.

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