Supreme Court rules party-list not only for marginalized

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Revising the rules it laid down 12 years ago, the Supreme Court on Friday voted to allow political parties and groups not representing marginalized and unrepresented sectors to participate in party-list elections.

The Court en banc, voting 10-2, granted 54 petitions for certiorari and prohibition filed by party-list groups that were disqualified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). The justices ordered the cases remanded to Comelec so the poll body can ascertain the qualifications of each party-list groups based on the revised standards formulated by the Court.

The 10 who voted in favor were Justices Antonio Carpio, Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Roberto Abad, Martin Villarama Jr., Jose Perez and Jose Mendoza.

Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno voted to remand only nine cases while Justice Bienvenido Reyes said only 10 should be returned to Comelec. Justice Marvic Leonen, on the other hand, said 39 groups should be allowed to participate in the May election but the other 13 should again be screened by Comelec.

The justices also voted 7-6 in ruling that Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying the petitioners.

“As a general finding, the Court held that the Comelec did not commit grave abuse of discretion in following prevailing decisions of the Supreme Court in disqualifying the petitioners from participating in the May 13, 2013 party-list elections. However, since the decision adopts new parameters in the qualification of national, regional and sectoral parties under the party-list system, the Court remands to the Comelec all the present petitions for the Comelec to determine who are qualified to participate under the May 2013 elections under the new parameters prescribed,” the Court said in the decision penned by Carpio.

Inhibited

Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., whose wife and daughter are nominees of the party-list group Ang Mata’y Alagaan (AMA), inhibited himself from the case. AMA is not a party to the case as it had been accredited by Comelec as a party-list group last year.

Justice Estela-Perlas Bernade was on leave.

The Court also ruled that while Comelec conducts “summary evidentiary hearings,” only 41 of the petitioners will be temporarily allowed to participate in the May elections. This was because they were able to secure status quo ante orders (SQAOs) and mandatory injunctions, which resulted in the inclusion of their names in the ballots already printed by Comelec.

Thirteen party-list groups that secured SQAOs but not mandatory injunctions would not be able to participate, but Comelec is still required to determine their qualifications, the Court added.

These are: Ako An Bisaya (AAB); Alagad ng Sining (Asin); Alab ng Mamahayag (Alam); Association of Guard, Utility Helper, Aider, Rider, Driver/Domestic Helper, Janitor, Agent and Nanny of the Philippines Inc. (Guardian); Abyan Ilonggo; Alliance of Organizations; Networks and Associations of the Philippines (Alona); Partido ng Bayan and Bida (PBB); Pilipinas Para sa Pinoy (PPP); 1-Alliance Advocating Autonomy Part (1AAP); Kalikasan Akbay Kalusugan (Akin); Manila Teachers Savings and Loans Association (Manila Teachers); and Association of Local Athletics, Entrepreneurs and Hobbyists (Ala-Eh).

 

 ‘Parameters’

The high court also enumerated six “parameters” which the Comelec was instructed to “adhere to” in determining which group may participate not only in this year’s elections but in subsequent elections. The parameters modified some of the eight “guidelines for screening party-list participants” set by the Court in the case Ang Bagong Bayani v. Comelec (2001).

The justices voted on each of new parameters.

First, the justices said, voting 13-0, three different groups are allowed to participate in the party-list system: national parties or organizations; regional parties or organizations; and sectoral parties or organizations.

Second, national parties or organizations and regional parties or organizations do not need to organize along sectoral lines and do not need to represent “any marginalized and underrepresented” sector. Here the justices voted 11-2.

Independent party

Third, the justices ruled, voting 13-0, political parties can participate in party-list elections provided they register under the party-list system and do not field candidates in legislative district elections.

“A political party, whether major or not, that fields candidates in legislative district election can participate in party-list elections only through its sectoral wing that can separately register under the party-list system. The sectoral wing is by itself an independent party, and is linked to a political party through a coalition,” the justices added.

Fourth, sectoral parties or organizations may either be “marginalized and underrepresented” or lacking in “well-defined political constituencies.” Here, the justices voted 11-2, adding: “It is enough that their principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and concerns of the sector. The sectors that are marginalized and underrepresented” include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans and overseas workers. The sectors that lack well-defined political constituencies include professionals, the elderly, women and the youth.”

Fifth, the justices, voting 13-0 again, ruled that the majority of the members of sectoral parties or organization that represent the “marginalized and underrepresented” must belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sector that they represent.

Similarly, the justices added, a majority of the members of sectoral parties or organization that lack “well-defined political constituencies” must belong to the sector that they represent. The nominees of either sector must either belong to their respective sectors, or must have a track record of advocacy for their respective sectors; while the nominees of national and regional parties or organizations must be bona fide members of such parties or organizations.

 

No prohibition

The justices pointed out that Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-list System Act of 1995, the law that implements the party-list system prescribed in the Constitution, does not require national and regional parties or organizations to represent the “marginalized and underrepresented sectors.”

“To require all national and regional parties under the party-list system to represent the ‘marginalized and underrepresented’ is to deprive and exclude, by judicial fiat, ideology-based and cause-oriented parties from the party-list system.”

The Court distinguished between ideology-based and cause-oriented political party from a sectoral party.

“There is no requirement in RA 7941 that a national or regional political party must represent a ‘marginalized and underrepresented sector.’ It is sufficient that the political party consists of citizens who advocate the same ideology or platform, or the same governance principles and policies regardless of their economic status as citizens,” the justices said.

Not marginalized

Thus, professionals, elderly, women and the youth are not, by definition, “marginalized and underrepresented,” may be considered as lacking “well-defined political constituencies” and can organize themselves into sectoral parties advocating their interests, they added.

Lastly, the justices, also voting 13-0, said national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations shall not be disqualified if some of their nominees are disqualified, provided that they have at least one nominee who remains qualified.”

The new guidelines were welcomed by political parties, particularly those purged from the party-list roster.

The Ako Bikol (AKB) political party, which was among the party-list groups disqualified from participating in the May 13 elections, said it welcomed the Supreme Court decision that “clearly defined and explained the party-list system of representation in accordance with the true spirit and intent of the Constitution.”

“The landmark decision will put a stop to massive disinformation about the true nature of the party-list system by some groups who are motivated not by their adherence to the rule of law, but by their mistaken conviction that the party-list system is their personal dominion and not open to other groups which have contrary beliefs, ideologies and programs of action.”

The AKB said it will submit itself to public judgment based on its merits and performance.

Inquirer Viber

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  • farmerpo

    Decision must have been due to the heat wave. Pag mainit, kumukulo ang utak at di masyadong malinaw ang pag iisip. The brain is the easiest affected by heat and lack of oxygen. It becomes befuddled. Party list for marginalized does not really mean party list for the poor. Party list for LP or NP or UNA or any thing else is fine dudes.

  • txtman

    AHAHAHA
    BUTI NGA
    AKALA KASI NG MGA LEFTISTS SA KANILA NA YAN 1/4 NG CONGRESS
    DAPAT NGA TANGGALIN NA YAN PARTY LISTS
    KARAMIHAN NAMAN DYAN MGA LEFTISTS & TUTA NG MGA POLITIKO
    PURO CONDOM, KALESBIANAAN,ABORTION,SAME SEX MARRIAGE LANG
    .. …… NAMAN ALAM NG MGA YAN
    PITIFUL NA MGA BULL- S++ – HITS LANG MGA YAN
    PITIFUL

  • MULEN

    Ibig sabihin nito wala ng balakid pagpasok ng mga grupo ng artista, chambers of commerce and industries and other big business interests, retired generals and flag officers na sumali sa party list system. Doble daguk ito sa mga party list groups who are truly representing the marginalized and the underprivileged dahil hindi nila kakayanin ang pera at impluensya ng mga sikat at nasa kapangyarihan. SMH.

  • wawa2172

    ha ha ha..pwedi nang mag buo nang Party list ang Taipans, Binondo Central Banker’s, former politicians at mga mayayaman. Its more fun in the Philippines, the party list made it an open multi-party system sa Pinas. Like Hontiveros, she was allowed to run as senator but bringing with her ang kanyang affiliation sa Akbayan. Wow, party list list anyone and in coalition with the Liberal Party and Team PNoy. Ano ba talaga ang batas, malabo na yata. SC had it marginalized then but hindi na ngayon. Ok, let us have a party-party and list those who will join. Harlem shake na lead by PNoy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/noelsantos37 Noel Santos

    puro gastos lang ang alam ng SC..

    • Sandy Bulet

      Eh sino ba ang nagpasa ng Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-list System Act of 1995? Un ang sisihin mo, ang SC taga interpret lang po ng batas. Dapat bilang isang mamamayan eh binabantayan mo rin ang mga batas na ipinapasa ng congress at senate, hindi ung kung kelan nakitaan na ng butas don ka umaarangkada sa komento. Sus!

  • Loggnat

    ‘The justices also voted 7-6 in ruling that Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying the petitioners.
    “As a general finding, the Court held that the Comelec did not
    commit grave abuse of discretion in following prevailing decisions of
    the Supreme Court in disqualifying the petitioners from participating in
    the May 13, 2013 party-list elections. However, since the decision
    adopts new parameters in the qualification of national, regional and
    sectoral parties under the party-list system, the Court remands to the
    Comelec all the present petitions for the Comelec to determine who are
    qualified to participate under the May 2013 elections under the new
    parameters prescribed,” the Court said in the decision penned by Carpio.’ ///

    Passing the BUCK Supreme Court style. :))
    So, did the COMELEC commited grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying the petitioners or not?!!!
    Every citizen in the Philippines lives under one of the districts represented by it’s elected congressman/woman, so every citizen is represented already in Congress. Party list representation is useless and it is just another way to increase the number of politicians in the House of Representative and allows them to get access to the pork barrel. Do away with the Pork Barrel and watch all those without sincere dedication and honest intention in Congress disappears. Then there will be no need for Party List Bull_ _ i t!!

  • AntiAko

    Eh pwede naman palang mag define ang Supreme Court ng Party List provision, bakit hindi nila kayang mag define ng POLITICAL DYNASTY?

    Nag-O-OA-han lang talaga itong Supreme Court na ito. Nasusuka tuloy ako.

    • Richard Rhal

      kasi wala namang naghahain ng official complaint before the court. the court will only act when presented with a case.

  • RegineMarfie

    The justices pointed out that Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-list System Act of 1995, the law that implements the party-list system prescribed in the Constitution, does not require national and regional parties or organizations to represent the “marginalized and underrepresented sectors.”

    “To require all national and regional parties under the party-list system to represent the ‘marginalized and underrepresented’ is to deprive and exclude, by judicial fiat, ideology-based and cause-oriented parties from the party-list system.”

    The Court distinguished between ideology-based and cause-oriented political party from a sectoral party.

    “There is no requirement in RA 7941 that a national or regional political party must represent a ‘marginalized and underrepresented sector.’

    It is sufficient that the political party consists of citizens who advocate the same ideology or platform, or the same governance principles and policies regardless of their economic status as citizens,” the justices said.
    ————————————————-

    SO is there Redundancy in the Party System added on top of so much leniency putting up so many garbage parties out there… amendment na naman?

  • shane oy

    dagdag gastos lang yang party list na yan abolish na ang party list system mga palamunin ng taong bayan lang naman ang nariyan at karamihan ay mga walang silbi kundi mangorakot.

  • speedstream2

    Isn’t this kind of of legislating from the bench? What gives?

  • dadwel

    Naku ang dami natin mga Sin-nador, meron na tayong sang damakmak na Tong-gressman na wala naman talaga nagagawang mabuti para sa Pilipinas. Tapos idadagdag pa itong mga party list. Gastos lang sa Pork barrel mga yan.

    Sobra na mga batas natin kailangan lang tamang pagapapatupad at i-update lang sila para maging angkop sa bagong panahon.

    Wala na talaga maasahan na pag-unlad kung ganito tatakbo ang ating gobyerno.

    Kaya mga kabababyan mag sariling sikap na lang tayo para umasenso at tulungan natin yung mga gustong tulungan ang kanilang mga sarili, wag na tayo dumagdag sa pabigat sa lipunan.

  • labcu

    party list representation is not necessary anymore kaya nga nandyan ang mga congressmen called representative of their own districts. All people already been represented by them whatever job/profession/membership they are in. Sino pa ba ang hindi represented? Bakit kailangan gumasto pa ang mamayan para sa pork barrel ng party list representative? It doesn’t make sence at all!

  • JC

    ano ba yan SC, dapat kasi wala na yang party list. sayang lang binabayad na buwis dyan.

  • ThePearljoy .

    what case is this please? I’d like to read the whole case.

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