Ex-rebel leader is newest member of Congress

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

A FORMER leader of the "rejectionist" faction of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) is newest member of the House of Representatives.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte on Wednesday night swore in Joseph Stephen Paduano, as the chamber's 290th legislator representing the farmers' group Abang Lingkod party-list.

Paduano is a former national commander of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB), which is breakaway faction of the CPP-NPA). He is known in the group as Carapali Lualhati.

The former communist leader is the first nominee of Abang Lingkod, which was earlier disqualified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Earlier, Comelec barred Abang Lingkod from participating in the 2013 midterm polls after it submitted to the poll body digitally altered photographs of its activities, as proof of its track record as a group.

"Photoshopping images to establish a fact that did not occur is tantamount to declaring unlawful statements," Comelec said.

The Supreme Court stopped Comelec from implementing its order and issued a status quo ante order to allow the group to take part in the May 2013 elections.

Abang Lingkod garnered 260,215 votes out of the overall 26,722,131 votes, which entitles it a seat in the House of Representatives.

The high court recently ordered the Comelec to proclaim the group. (Sunnex)

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