Congress opens with 4 empty party-list seats

Michael Bueza

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Only 54 of the seats allocated to party-list representatives have been filled. Five groups await the Comelec and Supreme Court decisions on whether they can get the 4 remaining seats.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – At the opening session of the 16th Congress on Monday, July 22, only 54 party-list representatives were mentioned during the roll call.

Four seats remain vacant as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Supreme Court (SC) deliberate on the appeal of organizations that have either been disqualified or have pending issues preventing their inclusion.

Following the constitutional provision that 20% of seats in the House of Representatives be allocated for the party list, there should be 58 party-list representatives in the incoming Congress. However, the list of House members obtained by Rappler on July 23 included only 54 names.

Party-list representatives are elected indirectly, with the electorate only voting for the organizations. The groups who get at least 2% of the total votes cast for the party list automatically gets one seat.

Who gets to sit is determined by the order of names on the nominees’ list that each organization submits to Comelec upon application for accreditation.

A complicated formula determines how many nominees per group will have a seat in the Lower House, taking into account the number of votes each group obtains beyond 2%.

39 groups so far

Based on the list provided by the House, there are 39 party-list groups that won in the May 2013 elections.

Buhay Hayaan Yumabong, the topnotcher, is the only group that secured 3 seats, the maximum number that a group is allowed to get.

Thirteen groups get two seats each, while the rest gets one each.

Two groups – Akbayan and Butil – have been elected for the 6th time.  They are the only groups that have won in every party-list election since 1998, the first time sectoral representatives were elected.

Akbayan and Butil join 24 other re-elected party-list groups this year.

There are 11 new party-list groups in the 16th Congress:

  • 1-BAP – 1 Banat & Ahapo Party-list Coalition
  • 1-Sagip – Social Amelioration & Genuine Intervention on Poverty
  • ACT-CIS – Anti-Crime and Terrorism – Community Involvement and Support, Inc.
  • AGRI – Agri-Agra na Reporma Para sa Magsasaka ng Pilipinas
  • AMA – Ang Mata’y Alagaan
  • ANAC-IP – Ang National Coalition of Indigenous People’s Action Na! Inc.
  • Ang Nars
  • Angkla – Ang Partido ng mga Pilipinong Marino, Inc.
  • Append Inc.
  • Magdalo – Magdalo Para sa Pilipino, Inc.
  • OFW Family Club, Inc.

ANAC-IP, Append Inc and re-elected group Agbiag were proclaimed by Comelec only on Thursday, July 19, three days before the opening session of Congress.

Nine of the newly elected party-list groups won a seat each. Magdalo and OFW Family Club got two seats each.

Two organizations that lost their re-election bids in 2010 made the cut this year: Abakada Guro and Anak Mindanao. They have one seat each.

54 representatives

Twenty-three party-list representatives so far are entering the House for the first time. Their number is less than the 27 neophyte party-list representatives who joined Congress in 2010.

Sixteen party-list solons are now on their second term, while 13 are on their third and last term.

Abakada Guro’s first nominee, Jonathan dela Cruz, returns to Congress after a 3-year break due to the group’s loss in the 2010 polls.

Meanwhile, former Pangasinan 6th district Rep Conrado Estrella III makes a return to replace his brother, Robert Raymund, as representative of Abono.

Changes from 2010

Garnering 4.44% of the vote this year, Buhay now has 3 representatives in the House, from two in 2010.

AGAP’s seats increased from one in 2010 to two this year after placing 12th in the race and receiving 2.08% of the vote.

Meanwhile, Ako Bicol gets one less seat this year, failing to retain the 3-seat allocation it got when it topped the 2010 polls.

A total of 15 party-list groups say goodbye to the Lower House after losing their re-election bids this year. They include veteran groups APEC, ANAD, and ALE as well as one-term groups like 1-Utak, Bagong Henerasyon, Ang Galing Pinoy, and PBA.

Where are the others?

The Comelec has yet to make a decision on the party-list groups that will occupy the last 4 seats.

(UPDATE: The SC on Tuesday, July 23 ordered the poll body to proclaim Senior Citizens’ nominees, after its disqualification was overturned by the SC. The Comelec, however, will determine the number of seats to be given to Senior Citizens.)

Abang Lingkod – disqualified by Comelec on May 10 – awaits an SC ruling on their inclusion.

Meanwhile, cases involving Ating Koop and TUCP are pending with the poll body.

Abang Lingkod, Ating Koop and TUCP garnered enough votes to win at least one House seat. –

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Michael Bueza

Michael is a data curator under Rappler's Tech Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.