SC urged to nullify Comelec order disqualifying Ako Bicol
MANILA, Philippines—The members of Ako Bicol Party (AKB) on Tuesday challenged before the Supreme Court the Commission on Election’s decision that disqualified their group from running in the party-list election next year.
In an 86-page petition, Ako Bicol urged the high court to stop the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from implementing its resolution dated Oct. 10 that disqualifies them for not being part of the marginalized sector.
It said the Comelec “acted beyond its power in adjudging its qualification as a party-list” since it pointed that no less than Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes admitted that “there is no exact legal definition for ‘marginalized and underrepresented sector.'”
“Respondent Comelec has no power to determine the qualifications of party-list representatives and impose arbitrary assumption that to be qualified as a party-list, petitioner must represent financially poor and destitute constituents,” it explained.
The group added that they were not also accorded due process and opportunity to be heard when it was not given notice that their accreditation is being reviewed.
Petitioner Ako Bicol is a regional political party first accredited and registered by the respondent Commission on Elections (“Comelec”) in 2009. In 2010, the Comelec confirmed petitioner AKB’s eligibility to be voted for in the party-list elections of that year by dismissing a petition filed for the cancellation of its accreditation and registration.
Ako Bicol said the standards previously applied by Comelec and provided by law – that marginalized and underrepresented refer to those who are politically weak to win in district election – should prevail.
“Of course, Comelec is in serious error to hold in its Resolution dated 10 October 2012 that, for petitioner AKB to qualify a party-list, it must represent sectors mentioned in the Constitution or in RA 794l, namely, labor, peasant, fisher folk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals, and LGBTs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders). A party-list must represent marginalized and under-represented group/s, but it is a mistake to think that these sectors are the only marginalized and under-represented sectors of society and further that these sectors are necessarily financially poor and destitute,” the petition stated.