Comelec insists: NP, not LP, is dominant minority party
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Sunday insisted that the Nacionalista Party (NP) should be the dominant minority party and not the Liberal Party (LP).
Members of the LP slammed Comelec’s declaration of the NP as the dominant minority party in the May 13 midterm polls.
The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), meanwhile, was declared as the leading majority party.
The Comelec designation is crucial as the dominant majority and minority parties are entitled to copies of critical poll documents — the election returns (ERs) and certificates of canvass — plus preferential rights to deploy watchers to polling places and canvassing centers.
Comelec Deputy Executive Director for Operations (DEDO) Bart Sinocruz said, however, that the Comelec only followed its process and its computation for determining the leading majority and the dominant minority for the polls.
Earlier Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez explained that the dominant majority and minority parties were selected based on the number of their incumbent elected officials, the number of candidates fielded for the midterm polls, and their “numerical strength in the regions,” among others.
“Before the evaluation of the computation, Comelec released the criteria,” Sinocruz , speaking partly in Filipino, said. “They also released how they did they computation… Under our rules, whoever comes out first and second would be the dominant majority and dominant minority parties.”
He added that not being labeled as the dominant majority or dominant minority party only meant lack of representation.
“It doesn’t mean that you don’t have representation,” he said. “There are many copies of the election returns. So they can get copies. They would still be represented as watchers in canvasses at the precinct, except that, if there’s lack of space, the priority would be watchers from the dominant majority and minority.”
Sinocruz assured the candidates that other parties not declared as dominant majority and dominant minority would still receive certificates of canvass and the election returns.
“The parties filed their petitions in accordance to the rules and they were evaluated in accordance with the rules,” Sinocruz said.
Administration-opposition cannot be simply separated
The LP earlier slammed the declaration of both PDP-Laban and NP as pro-administration parties.
Asked if the Comelec could separate the opposition and administration politicians before ranking the parties, Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas said that the rules could not be changed at this time.
Quoting the NP, Abas said that some members of the party were pro-administration while others were members of the opposition.
“Under our rules, whoever is second based on the criteria will be the dominant minority party,” he said.
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.