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Dilemma over partylist formula delays winners’ proclamation

By Nikko Dizon
Inquirer
First Posted 23:52:00 07/02/2007

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2007

MANILA, Philippines -- The dilemma over which partylist formula to use has put the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in a bind, apparently delaying the proclamation of the partylist winners in the May 2007 mid-term elections.

"We will abide by the Supreme Court and use the Panganiban formula. But the commission also has to listen and study the several petitions filed by partylist organizations for us to use the 2-4-6 formula before we make any proclamation," Comelec commissioner Rene Sarmiento told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview on Monday

Sarmiento said most of the partylist organizations were worried that the Panganiban formula would lead to "lesser (partylist) representation" in the House of Representatives.

The Panganiban formula, also known as the first party rule, is named after former Supreme Court chief justice Artemio Panganiban who devised the equation that would determine how many seats a partylist would have based on the number of votes the group received.

The formula provides that the additional number of seats a partylist gets is dependent on the number of votes of the top vote-getting partylist group following the two percent threshold.

Panganiban created the formula as it resolved the case of the Veterans Federation Party, et al vs. Comelec in 2000.

On the other hand, in the 2-4-6 formula, a partylist that gets six percent of the total number of votes cast for partylists would be entitled to three seats, a partylist with four percent will get two seats, and a partylist with two percent would get one seat.

Bayan Muna counsel and third nominee, Neri Colmenares, told the Inquirer that 1.2 million votes had yet to be canvassed by the sub-committee of the National Board of Canvassers from at least five provinces that include Zamboanga del Sur, Basilan, and North Cotabato.

The vote tallies in these provinces have been deferred because of allegations of vote padding.

"Anybody could still be the first party with these 1.2 million votes still uncanvassed. What if one party suddenly gets a boost from these untabulated returns and get some 600,000 votes?" Colmenares said.

Colmenares said the Comelec should immediately resolve the pending petitions.

Colmenares added: "The first party rule is causing instability in the party list, since every one else's proclamation hinges on the fortunes of the first party. The Comelec will have a difficult time proclaiming until the 1.2 million votes remain uncanvassed."

Colmenares said the Comelec should make a partial proclamation without prejudice to the resolution of the pending issues.

Moreover, a partial proclamation would also allow party list organizations, like Bayan Muna, to participate and vote in the speakership fight.

As of June 15, the official Comelec count for partylist shows the El Shaddai group, Buhay, leading with 1.13 million votes followed by Bayan Muna with 945,468 votes.

The rest of the official tally is as follows:

Cibac -- 744,647
Gabriela -- 590,334
APEC -- 510,635
A Teacher -- 462,599
Akbayan -- 444,005
Alagad -- 416,568
Butil -- 404,667
Batas -- 379,390
Coop Natcco -- 359,204
Anakpawis -- 353,616
Abono -- 334,227
Agap -- 321,688
ARC -- 313,806



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