Comelec to follow SC guidelines on party-list groups
Responding to questions raised by an election watchdog over the qualifications of party-list nominees, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Thursday it had no choice but to follow the guidelines set by the Supreme Court concerning the party-list system.
“As far as the Comelec is concerned, it has, since the beginning of the party-list system, always adhered to the interpretation of the law by the [Supreme Court],” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said.
“The Comelec remains committed to the guidelines,” he added.
According to election watchdog Kontra Daya, many of the 185 party-list groups that registered for the May 2019 polls have nominees who have links either to political dynasties or elected officials, are representing special business interests, or have questionable advocacies.
Bounds of jurisprudence
The group called on the Comelec to ensure that the integrity of the party-list system would not be further eroded by the entry of more party-list groups and nominees that do not truly represent the interests of the marginalized and the underrepresented.
But Jimenez said the poll body could not go beyond the bounds of jurisprudence.
“The proper relief should be sought from the proper parties. And if the problem of some groups is with the interpretation, which is handed down by the court, then perhaps the solution lies with the court,” he added.
Kontra Daya said it was considering challenging the 2013 decision of the high court on the case filed by Atong Paglaum party-list group against the Comelec.
The Supreme Court ruled that the party-list system was not solely for the marginalized and underrepresented sectors.
‘Corruption’ of system
The high court’s verdict, it said, paved the way for the “bastardization and corruption” of the party-list system.
Based on this landmark ruling, Jimenez said the poll body scrapped the review of party-list groups.