Too late for purged party-list groups to appealBy Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
It’s too late for disqualified party-list groups to question before the Supreme Court the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) authority to review their qualifications, an election lawyer said Wednesday.
Romulo Macalintal said various party-list groups (PLGs) seeking accreditation from Comelec were asked early this year to submit documentary proof of their compliance with the guidelines set by the poll body. This includes proof that majority of their members are actual members of the marginalized and underrepresented sector they claim to represent.
“No one questioned this directive of the Comelec. All PLGs, including those disqualified, submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the Comelec without raising the issue of whether or not Comelec had the authority to review the qualifications of groups,” Macalintal explained.
“It is now too late for any PLG to raise that issue before the Supreme Court, which cannot review the facts or evidence that served as the basis of their disqualification.
Unless Comelec violated the Party-list Law or abused its discretion, its decision against these PLGs groups stand valid and subsisting,” he added.
Ako Bicol, one of more than 60 groups disqualified, has sought relief from the Supreme Court by questioning their disqualification by the Comelec.
Macalintal said PLGs that have been disqualified would therefore not be able to raise to the Supreme Court the validity of the guidelines and standards used by the Comelec, unless they can convince the Court that the Comelec applied the standards capriciously or arbitrarily.
Comelec required new PLGs seeking to participate in next year’s election to submit the lists of their officers and members, majority of whom must belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sector they seek to represent.