62 party-list groups barred from 2013 pollsBy Jocelyn R. Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has delisted 62 groups from party-list organizations participating in the May 2013 polls, including a women’s group previously linked to the Arroyo administration and an association of tricycle drivers run by the brother of former Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr.
In an en banc decision, the Comelec said some of the organizations were dropped from the rolls for failing to obtain sufficient votes in the last two elections while the rest have been denied to register “with finality” by either the election body or the Supreme Court.
In its 24-page resolution, the election body also said the delisted organizations may only vie for party-list seats in the next balloting in 2016.
“That means they cannot run in 2013… they are suspended for one election period. But they can file [their candidacy] again in 2016,” said Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes in an interview with reporters.
Under Section 3 of Republic Act No. 7941, groups running in the party-list system should be registered with the Comelec to qualify in the balloting.
The Party-List System Act also states that the election body may cancel the registration of a party or an alliance if it “fails to participate in the last two preceding elections or fails to obtain at least two percent of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two preceding elections.”
At least 29 of the 62 delisted groups, which had been approved by Comelec to seek congressional seats during the May 2010 elections, failed to gain at least two percent of the votes cast under the party-list system two years ago.
These groups included Biyaheng Pinoy, a sectoral party of tricycle drivers which listed Abalos’ brother, Dr. Arsenio Abalos, as one of its representatives during the 2010 elections.
Critics of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo questioned Biyaheng Pinoy’s accreditation, identifying the group as one of the nine sectoral party-lists allegedly formed as “fronts” for the Arroyo administration to create a major voting bloc in the House of Representatives.
The other groups delisted due to its failure to gather sufficient votes in the 2010 elections were 1-Tubig, ABA Ilonggo, Abay Parak, Vendors Party-list, Kalahi, Kasapi, Ahon, Almana, Amang, Anak, Apo, Apoi, Asahan Mo, Add-Tribal and Lypad, among others.
The group, Babae Ka, which had also been tagged as a front for the Arroyo administration, was also disqualified to run in the 2013 polls.
In its resolution, the Comelec also said there were 32 other groups which failed to get registration under the system.