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Comelec urged to rule on LPGMA partylist disqualification case

/ 04:46 PM February 09, 2014

MANILA, Philippines — Exclude the LPG Marketers Association (LPGMA) from the Commission on Elections’ list of accredited partylist organizations.

The call was made anew on Sunday, by the 800-member Federation of Philippine Industries as it urged the Comelec to decide in favor of its petition to permanently disqualify the LPGA as a partylist group.

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The FPI cited the recent issuance of a Supreme Court resolution remanding the LPGMA accreditation case to the poll body.

In a November 12 notice, the high tribunal denied with finality the partylist group’s motion for reconsideration of its August 13 resolution remanding the FPI petition to the Comelec.

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“The court resolved to deny with finality (LPGMA’s) motion for reconsideration as no substantial arguments were presented to warrant the reversal of the questioned resolution,” said Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal.

In its August 2013 resolution, the high court pointed out “since new parameters for participation in the party-list system have been adopted, it is proper to remand the present (FPI) petition to the Comelec.”

The poll body, it also said, “may conduct summary evidentiary evidence hearings for this purpose.”

According to the Supreme Court, “private respondent LPGMA should be given ample opportunity to show that it is qualified under the parameters (of Republic Act No. 7941, or the Party-List System Act) before any pronouncement is made and before any course of action is adopted which may deprive LPGMA of the right to participate and be elected in the party-list system.”

FPI chair Jesus Arranza asserted the LPGMA “should not be allowed to take part in the partylist system,” stressing the business group “does not represent a sector authorized by the partylist law.”

In a phone interview, he noted that the group has “described itself as representing the marginalized and independent entrepreneurs and retailers of LPG.”

“But nowhere in the partylist system or in the Constitution does it provide for a slot for the sector of businessmen, traders, marketers and retailers of LPG, who are anything but marginalized,” said Arranza.

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He warned that “allowing LPGMA to be part of the partylist system would encourage other business and money-making groups to join the party-list bandwagon.”

Earlier, the FPI head said that the retention of the LPGMA’s party-list accreditation was a grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Comelec because “LPGMA president and party-list Rep. Arnel Uy is a big businessman and a certified millionaire.”

The Philippine Daily Inquirer tried but failed to reach Uy for comment.

Sometime in February 2013, the FPI filed a petition for certiorari on the Comelec resolution dated Dec. 13, 2012 that retained the LPGMA partylist registration.

The high court, however, dismissed the petition, saying there was no point in remanding to the poll body the complaint for cancellation of the group’s accreditation since it had already issued another resolution that included the LPGMA in the list of accredited party-list organizations allowed to run in the May 2013 elections.

“Evidently, the Comelec has already determined and declared that the present factual circumstances of LPGMA meet the qualifications imposed by law on party-list groups,” said the high court.

The court’s decision prompted the FPI to file a motion of reconsideration on July 22.

On Aug. 13, the Supreme Court resolved to grant the FPI’s motion and remand the petition to the Comelec. On Sept. 10, the LPGMA filed a motion of reconsideration of that decision.

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TAGS: Commission on Elections, constitutional law, courts, disqualification cases, Federation of Philippine Industries, Judiciary, law, litigation, LPG Marketers Association, LPGMA, News, Party list, Supreme Court, trials
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