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MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Supreme Court barred the Commission on Elections on November 27 from disqualifying Bantay - a partylist group previously represented by former military commander and now fugitive Jovito Palparan - and 3 other groups from seeking congressional seats in the 2013 midterm elections.
The SC expanded the status quo ante order it issued on November 13 to include Bantay, Abroad partylist, Philippine Coconut Producers Federation and Agri-Agra na Reporma Para sa Magsasaka ng Pilipinas Movement.
Bantay, which militant groups describe as anti-left, won a seat in the 14th Congress. Its representative however (Palparan) has been charged for his alleged involvement in the reported abduction of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in 2006.
Authorities though have yet to track down Palparan, who disappeared in December 2011.
The SC has previously stopped the poll body from disqualifying 8 other partylist groups: Ako Bicol, Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives, 1-Care and Alliance of Rural Concerns, Aksyon Magsasaka-Partido Tinig ng Masa or AKMA-PTM, Kapatiran ng mga Nakulong na Walang Sala (KAKUSA), Association for Righteousness Advocacy on Leadership and the Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction Inc.
The Comelec disqualified them in October because they allegedly do not represent marginalized sectors.
Comelec said that under Republic Act 7941 or the Party-List System Act, marginalized sectors cover only labor, peasant, fisher folks, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals. The above groups said though that Comelec arbitrarily limited the definition of what is "marginalized."
The poll body has disqualified 154 partylist groups since October. - Rappler.com
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