Partylists split over ballot order sequence
MANILA, Philippines—Partylist groups were likely to find a workaround to ensure voters pick them during the midterm polls in May, despite the Commission on Elections’ move to determine the sequence of partylists’ names in the ballots via raffle, a lawmaker said Friday.
Kabataan Partylist Representative Raymond Palatino said that while the raffle eliminates the problem on partylists who register names starting with 1 or A to ensure they land a top spot in the ballots, “I can foresee a new controversy: partylist groups asking people to vote for numbers instead of supporting an agenda or marginalized group.”
Cibac Partylist Representative Sherwin Tugna meanwhile felt that the resulting “jumbled list will be cumbersome to the voters. A lot of voters will surely be disenfranchised.”
But he said that their group submits to the Comelec’s methods as the government agency tasked with ensuring fair and orderly polls.
Akbayan Partylist Representative Walden Bello said that they initially proposed a formula for the sequence of the partylist groups’ names on the ballots wherein the first 10 to 15 slots would be raffled off but the succeeding ones would be alphabetical.
“This was, we felt, a compromise that would go done way to eliminating advantage of those at the top of the slate owing to their starting with a number or letter “a” while at the same time not making too hard for voter to locate his favored party list,” he said. Comelec turned down this proposal.
Some partylist legislators did not view the raffle as an issue, just like Agham Partylist Representative Angelo Palmones who said that he even favored the method.
Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Representative Bernadette Herrera-Dy echoed this, telling reporters “Ok naman iyon para maayos ang pangalan ng mga partylist groups.”
Palatino however maintained that “voters education is still the most important task to avoid confusion in the partylist elections.”