HOW IT WORKS: Party-list seat allocation in the House

/ 11:14 PM May 19, 2019
Arwin Serrano

Dr. Arwin Serrano, board member of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), explains how party-list seats are allocated in the House of Representatives. (Photo by NEIL ARWIN MERCADO / INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines — Unlike the senatorial race where the top 12 vote-getters can easily be proclaimed as the winners, determining successful party-list groups in elections is more complicated than simply determining the rankings.

Dr. Arwin Serrano, board member of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), explained that party-lists were originally designed to represent those in the marginalized sectors in the House of Representatives.


In the Philippines, voters are allowed to vote for one party-list group. Depending on the number of votes garnered and the ranking in the elections, party-list groups will be filling up the number of seats allocated depending on the number of seats in the House of Representatives for the particular election season.

For the 2019 elections, a total of 61 party-list seats are up for grabs.


“Each particular party-list can only get a maximum of three seats. So if that party-list group gets a really large number of votes, automatically that group would be getting three seats,” Serrano, speaking partly in Filipino, said in an interview with INQUIRER.net.

How are the number of seat determined?

Getting the maximum number of seats for party-list groups, which is three, is not guaranteed.

To be able to get several party-list seats, a group must be able to garner at least 2 percent of the total number of votes cast.

Those who get more than 2 percent of the votes will be assured of at least one seat.

The seats taken will then be subtracted from the total number of seats available.

Thus, if eight party-list groups were able to secure more than 2 percent of the total votes cast, eight seats will be automatically subtracted from the total number of House of Representatives seats available for party-list groups.


Once the group who got more than 2 percent of total votes cast has been determined, a computation will identify how many additional seats they will receive through this formula: percentage of votes acquired by the group multiplied by the number of remaining seats to get the number of additional seats to be given to the party-list.

But the seats to be given for every winning party-list group cannot exceed three.

The same formula will be used to determine how many additional seats will be given to other party-list groups that received more than 2 percent of the total votes cast.

“Those in the top 10 can expect to get seats. But I am not saying that 11 to 20 can’t expects seats, as there will still be determination of the last remaining votes,” Serrano said.

“But I should say that those from number 1 to 10, especially the top five, would be getting at least two seats, and possibly the first three would be getting a maximum of three seats,” he added.

In perspective

Based on the results from the PPCRV transparency server as of 3:09 p.m. on Sunday, the following eight groups had so far garnered more than 2 percent of the total votes:

  • ACT-CIS: 2,609,055 (9.45%)
  • Bayan Muna: 1,108,995 (4.02%)
  • Ako Bicol: 1,046,349 (3.79%)
  • Cibac: 924,062 (3.35%)
  • Ang Probinsyano: 767,660 (2.78%)
  • 1Pacman: 711,039 (2.58%)
  • Marino: 677,378 (2.45%)
  • Probinsyano Ako: 628,559 votes (2.28%)

From the 61 party-list seats available, eight seats will be subtracted since each of the mentioned party-list groups are already assured of at least one seat, slashing the remaining seats available to 53.

To determine how many additional seats ACT-CIS will be getting, the above mentioned formula will be used, thus: 9.45% x 53 = 5.0085

However, since the maximum number of seats is only three, ACT-CIS will automatically only get two more additional seats.

“They could not get more than three seats,” Serrano stressed. “It has happened before. No matter how high the number of votes, they could only get the maximum number, which is three seats.”

The same formula will be used for the other party-list groups that got more than 2 percent of the votes.

Following are the distribution of the 19 seats secured as of this writing:

  • Act-CIS: 3
  • Bayan Muna: 3
  • Ako Bicol: 3
  • Cibac: 2
  • Ang Probinsyano: 2
  • 1Pacman: 2
  • Marino: 2
  • Probinsyano Ako: 2

What happens to the remaining seats?

With only 19 seats so far secured, 42 more remain unoccupied.

These will be allocated to other groups according to their ranking. Each group will be given one seat.

So those who are low in the ranking would be hoping that few groups will get two or three seats, Serrano said.

He pointed out that no party-list could ever really feel safe unless it had received at least 2 percent of the votes cast.

“You try to get as many votes as you can,” he said.

(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)

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TAGS: 2019 elections, Arwin Serrano, Party-List Groups, PPCRV
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