Guanzon: Some party-list seats are up for sale
MANILA, Philippines – Elections Commissioner Ma. Rowena Guanzon on Tuesday claimed that some party-list group seats are for sale.
Guanzon made this revelation during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms headed by Senator Imee Marcos on various bills, including a proposal strengthening the party-list system in the country.
“I’m personally against the gaming of the party-list rules because I’m sorry to say that in truth, a lot of party-list or some of them, sell their seats,” she said.
“After they win, they change their representatives or nominees,” Guanzon added.
She explained that party-list nominees can only withdraw, replace, or change the order of their list of nominees only up to the close of precincts on election day as provided for in the Party-list Act.
“So that’s May 13, up to 5p.m.,” she pointed out.
“It’s not correct to say that the rule is they can change anytime of the year…”
“Why? because the people have a right to information. The people have a right to know who they are voting for.”
Also under the law, Guanzon said party-list groups can only change their nominees if there is vacancy as declared by the House of Representatives, and not by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
She said the nominees must have assumed the seat at the House first before he or she can resign and be replaced by another nominee.
“That’s the only time when there’s a vacancy. If he is dropped from the rolls of the House of Representatives, then the Speaker or the Secretary-General attests, informs the Comelec in writing that there’s a vacancy,” Guanzon said.
The Comelec will then inform the Speaker who the next nominee would be, based on the list submitted by the party-list organization.
“That’s when they can change their nominees or add to it if their list is already exhausted,” she further explained. /gsg
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