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Legal issues delaying party-list proclamations – Comelec

/ 05:38 AM May 26, 2022

Comelec main office with superimposed logo. STORY:

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec), sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), again postponed the proclamation of winning party-list groups to today, May 26, saying disqualification cases and the formula to be adopted in allocating seats in the House of Representatives were still being studied.

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In a press briefing on Wednesday, Commissioner George Garcia said the commissioners had yet to agree on the poll body’s position on petitions asking the Comelec to abandon the so-called “Banat formula” in computing the House seat allocation for party-list groups.

The formula was based on a 2009 Supreme Court ruling that has been the guide of Comelec in past elections, Garcia said, suggesting that party-list groups with pending disqualification cases may not be declared winners despite making it to the Top 63.

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“There are several cases pending at the Comelec with regards to the disqualification of some party-list organizations or [their corresponding] nominees. We know that, in the past, when a disqualification petition is [filed] against the actual party, we do not issue a certificate of proclamation,” Garcia said.

The former election lawyer further explained that the Comelec may only proclaim the party list in question when the petition for cancellation is only against a nominee.

However, the Gabriela Women’s Party, which ranked 21st based on partial results from the transparency server, disputed Garcia’s remark, saying the group was proclaimed in 2019 although they also faced a disqualification case from the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).

“Gabriela party list was proclaimed as winning party list in 2019 and was issued a certificate of proclamation despite the fabricated disqualification case lodged by NTF-Elcac days before the May 2019 polls. Hence, there is a clear precedent for the poll body to proceed with the proclamation and the issuance of the certificate of proclamation to Gabriela,” it added.

But Garcia said that that was only a possibility that is “subject to the conformity of the entire en banc.”

“The Comelec adheres to precedents as we have consistently proven. The statement I made is based on the rules as this was the query posited earlier. I did not say that this is what we are going to do. Nobody should second-guess the NBOC,” Garcia said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Comelec started canvassing the votes from the special elections held in Tubaran town, Lanao del Sur, and Garcia said the results from the special polls would determine the final ranking and which party lists would make the cut.By today, Garcia hoped the commission would already have a position on which formula to adopt in House seat allocations and proceed with the proclamation of some of the winning parties.

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