APEC asks SC to overrule Comelec
MANILA, Philippines - The previously-accredited partylist group Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday, November 6 to nullify a resolution disqualifying the party from running in the 2013 midterm elections.
APEC said the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which also disqualified Ako Bicol and 12 other partylist groups from vying for party-list seats in Congress, violated their right to due process because they were not allowed to appeal the poll body's October 15 resolution.
"Comelec did not give APEC a chance to file a motion for reconsideration," the group's lawyer Yeshter Donn Baccay said.
Baccay said they were surprised that Comelec disqualified them 18 years after they first joined Congress in 1998. APEC currently has one seat in the 15th Congress and is represented by Rep Ponciano Payuyo.
The Comelec said that APEC represents electric consumers, which is not a marginalized sector. Comelec said that according to 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 group also asked the High Court to issue a temporary restraining order and a status quo ante order that would put it back to its accredited status.
"The constituents of APEC are expecting the partylist to be once more included in the 2013 National Election and the implementation of the questioned Resolution would probably work injustice to APEC," the group said.
APEC is the second disqualified partylist group to question Comelec's move. Ako Bicol, which won the most number of seats among partylist groups in the 2010 elections (1.5 million votes), also filed a similar petition in October.
Ako Bicol lawyer Alfredo Molo III said Comelec also did not inform them of the grounds for the review of their partylist accreditation, even if they were summoned to a hearing on August 24 where they were asked to provide evidence that they represent marginalized and underrepresented constituency. Molo said the poll body deprived the partylist group of their right to due process.
In 2010, the accreditation of Ako Bicol as a partylist group was also challenged before the Comelec because it was reportedly funded by the wealthy Co clan. The group's chairman Elizaldy Co heads the transnational group Sunwest Group of Companies, Tektone Global Technologies Foundation, commercial hub Embarcadero de Legaspi, and other construction firms, as well as malls and resorts.
The Comelec ruled in favor of Ako Bicol during that time, however. - Rappler.com