MANILA, Philippines – This Santa Claus has reason to say, “Ho-ho-ho!”
The Supreme Court (SC), after all, gave the Commission on Elections (Comelec) an early Christmas gift. In a way affirming the Comelec's unprecedented party-list purge for 2013, it upheld the disqualification of party-list group Kabaka in 2013. This was the SC's first ruling on the petitions filed by 36 groups barred from the party list.
Wearing a Santa Claus costume for the second straight day, Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr said this is his Christmas wish: more of these SC rulings.
“Supreme Court, bilis-bilisan n'yo lang ang pag-dismiss, at huwag na kayong mag-issue ng SQA,” said the 73-year-old Brillantes in an interview after the Comelec's Christmas gathering for reporters on Friday, December 21.
SQAs, or status quo ante (SQA) orders issued by the SC, will force the Comelec to include a number of previously accredited, and now disqualified, party-list groups in the ballot. The poll body will raffle the party-list groups slots on the ballot on Jan 4, 2013. (Watch the interview with "Santa Sixto" below.)
Kabaka's disqualification, Brillantes added, was a good signal.
He noted the Comelec's basis for disqualifying Kabaka (which the poll body previously accredited): its being a non-marginalized political party running under the party list. He said this was the same basis for disqualifying Ako Bicol, the top vote-getter in the 2010 party-list race that has 3 representatives in Congress.
“It's a political party running under the party list. That's Kabaka. So apparently the Supreme Court has started to review, and they understand what we did,” Brillantes said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Brillantes noted that the Party-List System Act allows political parties to participate in the party-list race.
“But there are requirements. It's not enough to be a political party to participate. You have to be underrepresented. You have to be marginalized also. You have to be representing a particular sector,” he explained.
The son of a Comelec commissioner whose life-long dream was to follow in his father's footsteps, Brillantes said another wish trumps all others.
“Iisa lang: malinis lang palagi ang eleksyon,” Brillantes said. “Talaga namang 'yun lang ang aking ambisyon eh. Wala na akong tinitingnan sa buhay.” (Just one: clean elections. That is my only ambition. I want nothing more in life.)
Whether or not his wish is granted, however, the public will hold this Santa Claus – who oversees the elections after all – most accountable. – Rappler.com