MANILA, Philippines – In what was described as a “historic” event that has “never happened before,” the Commission on Elections (Comelec) raffled off the placement of party-lists groups in the official ballot that will be used in the 2013 elections.
Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said that they have decided to conduct a raffle in order to “level the playing field” because of the large number of party-lists whose names start with the number 1 or letter A.
“The reason for these group names is in order for them to be in the top of the listing of party-list groups,” Sarmiento said.
“And so, to level the playing field we decided to conduct a raffle,” he said. “This is a historic first for the party-list groups.”
A total of 136 party-lists will be participating in the 2013 elections.
The raffle was conducted using numbered pingpong balls and a “tambyolo” with the commissioners taking turns in drawing the balls.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said that this has never happened before in the Comelec.
“The purpose is to avoid abnormal names of party-lists using 1 and A,” he told reporters.
Fifteen party-list groups have names that start with the number 1 while 75 groups have names that start with the letter A.
“What matters now is their number on the ballot,” he said.
Brillantes said that they issued a resolution to no longer use the alphabetical order for the ballot.
When asked if this naming was helpful for the groups, Brillantes said that it might be helping them a bit but it was not a major contribution.
“It’s not always the number 1 that wins. It might help because it’s the first name people see,” Brillantes said.
He reminded all party-list representatives present during the raffle that it was not like lotto where the grand prize was the first slot.
“Even if you are on the number 1 slot, it does not mean that you will win [in the elections],” Brillantes said.
1st Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy or 1-CARE won the top spot on the ballot.