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Suspended party-list canvass resumes

By: - Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQ
/ 01:17 AM May 20, 2013

With the proclamation of the 12 senators-elect over and done with, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will tackle on Monday another “sensitive” canvassing—that of the party-list groups.

“Tomorrow we will start with the party-list canvassing. This is also sensitive,” Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. told the Inquirer by phone on Sunday.

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The Comelec commissioners, sitting as the national board of canvassers (NBOC), last week suspended the canvassing of the votes received by the party-list groups amid questions on what to do with the votes received by 12 disqualified groups.

The NBOC noted that the questions raised on the party-list votes would delay the canvassing of the votes in the senatorial race. So the canvassers set it aside.

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On Saturday, Brillantes said the Comelec had to decide what to do with the votes received by the 12 party-list groups that the commission disqualified but which later received a reprieve from the Supreme Court.

“We are going to meet early to discuss certain amendatory rules to speed up the process. At the same time, we are also waiting for the data on the 12 disqualified groups so we can officially settle their issues,” Brillantes said.

He added that the NBOC hoped to finish the canvassing of the party-list groups’ votes within 10 days and then proclaim the 58 duly-elected party-list representatives.

Monday’s canvassing will be held at the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila.

Faster canvassing

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares told the Inquirer by phone that he hoped for a faster canvassing for the party-list groups’ votes.

Colmenares said the Comelec should no longer wait for the Supreme Court to resolve any appeals, if there were any filed by the disqualified party-list groups.

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It would take at least two years for the Supreme Court to decide on an appeal, Colmenares said, adding that it took two years for the Supreme Court to resolve his own 2007 appeal before he was able to sit as Bayan Muna’s third party-list representative. He was only able to serve one of the three years of his first term in Congress.

“Our concern here is, why would the groups with the votes be made to suffer?” Colmenares said.

Colmenares also pointed out that the Comelec should determine the “real threshold” for the party-list groups’ votes. This would determine how many seats each one of the winning groups should get.

New parameters

The Comelec’s party-list problem surfaced after the Supreme Court issued new guidelines for the accreditation of party-list groups and told the Comelec to reconsider the groups it had disqualified.

Contrary to the Comelec’s guidelines, the high court’s new parameters would allow even political parties and groups not representing marginalized and unrepresented sectors to participate in party-list elections.

The court granted 54 petitions for certiorari and prohibition filed by party-list groups that had been disqualified by the Comelec and ordered the cases remanded to Comelec.

The court said that even while the Comelec was reconsidering their qualifications, the groups that had secured status quo ante orders and mandatory injunctions should be allowed to participate in the elections.  Some groups, however, were not able to petition for mandatory injunctions.

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TAGS: canvass, Commission on Elections, Elections, party lists, Philippines, Politics
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