Dropped party lists will be allowed to run–BrillantesBy Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Around 30 party-list groups that were earlier disqualified by the Commission on Elections will now be allowed to run in the May 13 polls, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Tuesday.
Brillantes said that of some 40 party-list groups whose cases were ordered remanded to the Comelec by the Supreme Court, around 30 would be allowed to run while 10 would be disqualified.
“We agreed on the 40 that were discussed. We will allow some of them to run and cancel the others,” said Brillantes in an interview after a Comelec en banc session on Tuesday.
But he added: “It’s still not sure because we are still going to vote (on Thursday).”
There were 52 party-list groups that appealed their disqualification to the Supreme Court after the Comelec dropped them for supposedly not being true representatives of marginalized sectors.
The Supreme Court, however, ruled that the party-list system was not only for the marginalized and released new guidelines for the Comelec to follow in determining who could qualify as a party-list group.
Tuesday’s en banc session was the first for new commissioner Al A. Parreño, who took his oath of office before Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Abad over the weekend.
“This was his first attendance, it was the second for Commissioner Luie Guia,” Brillantes said.
He said Parreño would take over from Commissioner Grace Padaca in overseeing the voting by prisoners. At the same time, Parreño would be joining Commissioner Christian Robert Lim in tackling IT (information technology) concerns.
Parreño and Lim will also jointly handle issues of campaign finance, Brillantes said.
He said Parreño would be assigned to the First Division while Guia would go to the Second Division.
Meanwhile, three militant party-list groups have asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to allow party-list groups not representative of marginalized or unrepresented sectors to participate in the coming polls.
Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela told the high court they wanted to intervene in the case since the Comelec did not appeal the tribunal’s decision.
The three groups are not parties to the case filed by 52 party-list groups that were disqualified by the Comelec.
All 52 party-list groups were reinstated under the new guidelines issued by the Supreme Court.
The high court, however, is in recess until June 4 and cannot take up their petition before the May 13 elections.
“We firmly adhere to the interpretation that the party-list system is a social justice mechanism that would enable the marginalized and underrepresented sectors to become veritable lawmakers themselves. The constitutional intent was to open the party-list system only to poor and marginalized groups,” the petitioners said.—With a report from Dona Z. Pazzibugan