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2 or 3 of disqualified party lists may still make it to Congress

Calling Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. RYAN LEAGOGO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Only two or three  of the 12 disqualified party-list groups may eventually make it to Congress, Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Saturday.

Only these two or three groups, not all of which he identified, obtained enough votes to be declared winners in the 2013 party-list elections, Brillantes said.

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However, the Comelec will officially count their votes only if the Supreme Court overturns their disqualification, he said.

“Of the 12 that we disqualified, I think eight or nine did not make it. They will no longer be included: in the race to fill the 58 seats in the House of Representatives that were at stake in the party-list elections, he said.

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He said one of the disqualified groups that could possibly make it to Congress is the Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines, Inc. (Senior Citizens) which got half a million votes and would rank 10th in the party-list rankings if its votes are counted.

Brillantes noted that the Comelec had cancelled the registration of the Senior Citizens party-list group twice.

“Only the Supreme Court can now tell us not to cancel it,” he said.

Brillantes said the poll body would wait until Monday for word from the high court about the fate of the disqualified party-list groups.

“We need to finish this.  We can no longer wait. If there’s no action by the Supreme Court, then we will no longer count the votes of the 12 disqualified groups,” he said.

He said the Comelec would be coming out with a resolution proclaiming the other winners in the party-list race on Monday.

If the Supreme Court grants the appeals filed by at least three of the 12 disqualified groups, Brillantes said, the Comelec would defer the proclamation of the winners for the last three of the 58 contested party-list seats in the House.

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Meanwhile, the party-list groups Bayan Muna and Kabataan urged the Comelec to announce all the winners in the party-list race as soon as possible.

“Delay in proclamation leaves room for electoral fraud to be committed especially since, as Comelec admitted, more than 18,000 PCOS machines failed to transmit”, said Bayan Muna party-list member Neri Colmenares.

“While we are glad that we have been finally proclaimed, we cannot allow those who deserve a seat from not being proclaimed even if they got fewer votes than us. There is no reason for the delay considering that  Comelec has declared that they have canvassed almost all the votes except the OAV (overseas absentee votes),” he added.

Kabataan noted that the Comelec, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, had tallied as of May 20 more than 95 percent of the total national and overseas absentee votes, with the party-list votes already reaching 28.29 million votes.

“The remaining uncanvassed votes for the party-list elections comprise less than a percent of the total partylist votes, and Comelec can already proclaim all of the winning party lists if it wanted to,” said Kabataan president and first nominee Terry Ridon.

He said Kabataan already obtained 337,950 votes as of May 20, “ranking 28th in the party-list race and entitling it to one seat according to the guidelines set by the Supreme Court.”

“The issue here is the fact that Comelec is again delaying the proclamation of other party-lists, thus opening the party-list elections to further suspicions of fraud and vote manipulation to favor well-entrenched party-lists that are at the tail-end of the ranking,” Ridon said.

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TAGS: Comelec, Congress, Elections 2013, party-list group
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