MANILA, Philippines ? (UPDATE) The Commission on Elections has proclaimed 29 new partylist representatives following a Supreme Court ruling increasing the number of partylist seats in the House of Representatives.
The Comelec said earlier in the day that it was scheduled to proclaim 28. There are presently 22 partylist representatives in the House.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted a petition filed by the Barangay Association for National Advancement (Banat) to void the 2 percent threshold previously used to determine which partylist groups would get a second or third seat at the House.
?Several events have occurred and affected the total number of votes and total seat number alloted for party lists at the House of Representatives,? explained Comelec chairman Jose Melo after the poll body en banc signed on Friday the resolution increasing the number of partylist representatives at the lower chamber.
He noted that when the creation of the province of Shariff Kabunsuan was nullified by the Supreme Court on July 16, 2008, the total number of legislative districts was reduced from 220 to 219. Accordingly, the number of seats allocated to partylists was reduced from 55 to 54, said Melo.
But Melo said this would further be reduced to 51 because the proclamation of three representatives ? one to Alyansa ng Labang Filipino (ALIF) and two to the Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikain ng Sambayanan (BATAS) ? would have to be deferred pending the resolution of their cases involving the cancellation of their registration before the Comelec.
The poll chief added however that the Commission en banc would resolve the two pending cases immediately.
Melo also said that another partylist, Cocofed, ?could no longer be accommodated,? being the 55th group.
Melo also cited the disqualification of Filipinos for Pease, Justice and Progress Movement (FPJPM) on July 2008, which also resulted in the change in the partylist rankings and percentage of votes.
?Since votes obtained by disqualified parties are stray votes, the 301,031 votes for FPJPM shall be deducted from the original total of 16,024, 795, giving a total of 15,723,764,? said Melo, noting this affected the ranking of partylist groups.
The percentage of votes garnered by each party is arrived at by dividing the number of votes they garnered by the total number of votes cast for all partylist candidates so that any change in the total number of votes would affect the ranking of a party.
New partylist representatives lauded the decision and were hopeful that they would still be able to serve until their terms end in 2010.
Buhay and Bayan Muna gained three seats each, while Cibac, Gabriella, Apec, A Teacher, Akbayan, Alagad, Coop-NATCCO, Butil, ARC, Anakpawis, Amin, Abono, Yacap, Agap and An Waray were allotted two seats.
Partylists with one seat each include Uni-Mad, ABS, Kakusa, Kabataan, Aba-Ako, Senior Citizens, AT, VFP, Anad, Banat, Ang Kasangga, Bantay, Abakada, 1-Utak and TUCP.