SC chief to Comelec: Ask Congress to amend party-list law

SC chief to Comelec: Ask Congress to amend party-list law

05:48 AM January 25, 2024

SC chief to Comelec: Ask Congress to amend party-list law

Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo. PHOTO FROM SUPREME COURT FB PAGE

MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo has called on Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair George Garcia to urge Congress to amend the law on the party list system to avoid issues about its implementation.

“You realize the gaps in the law, particularly on the party list system. You are aware of all the issues that crop up over the years, right? So I think it’s high time for you to call the attention of Congress to amend the laws necessary so that issues can be avoided and the real purpose of the party list system is actually achieved,” Gesmundo said on Tuesday.


He made this statement as the Supreme Court resumed oral arguments on the petition filed by the Duterte Youth Party-list challenging the substitution of former Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon as the P3PWD party list nominee.


For his part, Garcia said the Comelec had been asking Congress to amend Republic Act (RA) No. 7941, or the Party-List System Act.

“In almost all cases that have been resolved and decided by the honorable Supreme Court of certain extent, we call that judicially legislated on the provision of [RA] 7941,” he added.

“In fact, there are several instances that this court flip-flopped or changed its position, especially on the formula for arriving at the 2 percent,” Garcia said, referring to the percentage of votes needed for a party list group to be assigned one seat in the House of Representatives.

He noted the significance of the case between the Duterte Youth Party-list and Guanzon, saying that regardless of the personalities involved, the resolution would guide the Comelec in drafting rules for the 2025 elections.

In a June 2022 petition to the Supreme Court filed by Duterte Youth Rep. Marie Cardema and Chair Carlo Cardema, they questioned the Comelec’s decision to allow the substitution of Guanzon as P3PWD nominee They argued that P3PWD, which was able to secure a seat in Congress, filed past the Nov. 15, 2021 deadline given to substitute candidates who would replace nominees who wanted to voluntarily withdraw from May 9, 2022 elections.

According to Comelec Resolution No. 10717, after the said deadline, substitution would be allowed only in case of death or incapacity of the original candidates or party-list nominees, and only up to midday of Election Day.


However, Comelec spokesperson and law department chief Rex Laudiangco said in 2022 that the said resolution “provides for the rules prior to elections and not postelections.”

He added that the poll body’s decision was “consistent with the 2019 case of Duterte Youth wherein the commission en banc allowed withdrawals, substitutions and submission of new list of nominees after the elections.”

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TAGS: Alexander Gesmundo, party-list system, Supreme Court

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