Comelec stops purge of registered party-list groups

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Comelec stops purge of registered party-list groups
The poll body, however, already cancelled the registration of 39 party-list groups, including Ang Ladlad and Pasang Masda

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday, February 13, announced it will no longer purge the list of currently registered party-list groups for the 2016 elections.

This move is expected to shorten the process of accrediting party-list groups, which took as much as 3 months in the 2013 elections.

The Comelec, however, already cancelled the registration of 39 party-list organizations, including gay rights organization Ang Ladlad and transport group Pasang Masda. 

In a statement, the Comelec said it ruled “that the automatic review of accredited party-list groups or organizations whose registrations are retained shall not be implemented for the 2016 national and local elections.”

This doesn’t mean these party-list groups can join the 2016 elections if they:

  • fail to file a manifestation of intent to participate in the elections

  • become the subject of petitions for cancellation or disqualification

The poll body issued these rules through Comelec Resolution 9932, which it promulgated on Thursday, February 12.

In a phone interview with Rappler, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body scrapped the review of party-list groups after the Supreme Court (SC) issued a landmark ruling on the party list.

In a case filed by party-list group Atong Paglaum Incorporated, among others, against the Comelec, the SC ruled in 2013 that the party list is not solely for marginalized and underrepresented sectors. 

‘3 months of marathon hearings’ 

The SC ruling means more party-list groups can run in the elections, Jimenez said. The loose requirements for party-list groups, he explained, lessened or removed the need for an automatic review. 

The Atong Paglaum ruling reversed a decade-old interpretation by the SC, which the Comelec, under then chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr, used to disqualify an unprecedented number of party-list groups.

In 2013, the disqualified party-list groups included those previously accredited by the Comelec. Among these groups was Ako Bicol, which won by the biggest margin in the 2010 elections.

Jimenez recalled that for the 2013 elections, the Comelec spent around 3 months of almost daily marathon hearings to purge the list of registered party-list groups.

“Bulk of our time and effort was spent in figuring out which party-list group is among the marginalized and underrepresented,” Jimenez said in Filipino. 

39 party-list groups delisted

While the Comelec scrapped the review of party-list groups, it already delisted and cancelled the registration of 39 party-list groups.

The poll body cited the following reasons:

  • “failure to obtain at least 2% of the votes cast for the party-list system”

  • “failure to obtain a seat in the second round of seat allocation for the party-list system in the last two preceding elections”

The Comelec cancelled the registration of the following groups:

  1. 1GANAP/GUARDIAN – 1 Guardians Nationalist of the Philippines

  2. AAMA – Alliance of Advocates in Mining Advancement for National Progress

  3. AANI – Ang Agrikultura Natin Isulong

  4. ABA – Alyansang Bayanihan ng mga Magsasaka, Manggagawang-Bukid, at Mangingisda

  5. ABANTE KA – Abante Katutubo Inc

  6. A BLESSED PARTY-LIST – Blessed Federation of Farmers and Fishermen International Inc

  7. ABP-BICOLNON – Alliance of Bicolnon Party

  8. ABROAD – Action Brotherhood for Active Dreamers Inc

  9. ADA – Agrarian Development Association

  10. ADAM – Adhikain ng mga Dakilang Anak Maharlika

  11. AFPSEGCO – Alliance for Philippines Security Guards Cooperative

  12. AGILA – Agila ng Katutubong Pinoy

  13. AKAP BATA – Akap Bata Sectoral Organization for Children Inc

  14. AKMA-PTM – Aksyon Magsasaka-Partido Tinig ng Masa

  15. AKO – Ako Ayoko sa Bawal na Droga Inc

  16. AKO BAHAY – Adhikain at Kilusan ng Ordinaryong Tao para sa Lupa, Pabahay, Hanapbuhay, at Kaunlaran

  17. ALIM – Action League of Indigenous Masses

  18. ALLUMAD – Alyansa Lumad Mindanao

  19. ALYANSA NG OFW – Alyansa ng OFW Party

  20. AMS – Alyansa ng Media at Showbiz

  21. ANG LADLAD – Ang Ladlad LGBT Party

  22. ANG MINERO – Sectoral Party of Ang Minero

  23. ARAL – Association for Righteousness Advocacy in Leadership

  24. ARARO – Alliance for Rural and Agragrian Reconstruction

  25. ARC – Alliance for Rural Concerns

  26. ATM – Abante Tribung Makabansa

  27. BAYANI – Bayani

  28. FIRM 24-K – Firm 24-K Association Inc

  29. GREENFORCE – Green Force for the Environment – Sons and Daughters of Mother Earth

  30. HAPI – Hanay ng Aping Pinoy

  31. KAAKBAY – Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan All Filipino Democratic Environment

  32. KATRIBU – Katribu Indigenous People’s Sectoral Party

  33. KLBP – Kababaihang Lingkod Bayan sa Pilipinas

  34. PACYAW – Pilipino Association for Country Urban Poor Youth Advancement and Welfare

  35. PASANG MASDA – Pasang Masda Nationwide Inc

  36. UMDJ – Union of the Masses for Democracy and Justice

  37. UNI-MAD – United Movement Against Drugs Foundation

  38. VFP – Veterans Foundation Party

  39. YOUNG PINOYS – Youth Organization Unified for the Next Generation of Pinoys

The party list is a system of proportional representation. This means the number of seats that an organization can win will be determined by the percentage of votes it will get against the total votes cast for all party-list bets. (READ: 8 things you need to know about the party list) – Rappler.com 

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com