243 party-list groups to join 2016 polls, says Comelec
A total of 243 party-list organizations intend to participate in the May 2016 elections, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the number is higher than the 183 party-list groups that were accredited to run during the 2013 midterm polls.
Jimenez said the 243 include both existing and new party-list groups that have yet to be approved by the Comelec.
“These applications will be screened by our Law Department which will then recommend which groups are qualified to run,” said Jimenez.
During a forum in Manila on Wednesday, Comelec chair Andres Bautista said they have yet to come up with the guidelines that would determine which among the applicant-party-list groups are qualified to join the elections.
“We have to come up with guidelines that conform with the Constitution and to the SC (Supreme Court) decision,” said Bautista in a separate interview.
“For now they have to go through hearings at the Comelec—at the division and the en banc—to determine whether or not they are qualified,” he added.
The Comelec previously said that it would not conduct an “automatic review” of party-list organizations in the 2016 polls anymore as provided by the SC ruling on the Atong Paglaum party-list case in 2013.
The “automatic review” was adopted by the poll body ahead of the 2013 midterm elections to ensure that only the marginalized and underrepresented groups can join the party-list race.
However, the SC decision ruled that the Party-List System Act does not require parties, organizations, and sectors to be marginalized and underrepresented before they are allowed to join the elections.
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