Duterte allies named dominant majority, minority parties

Paterno Esmaquel II
Duterte allies named dominant majority, minority parties
'Kalokohan,' says Liberal Party president Senator Francis Pangilinan, adding that this decision is against democracy

MANILA, Philippines – Enraging the opposition Liberal Party (LP), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) named parties allied with President Rodrigo Duterte as the dominant majority and dominant minority parties in the May 13 polls.

In a resolution dated Wednesday, May 8, the Comelec named Duterte’s party, PDP-Laban, as the dominant majority party.

The poll body meanwhile declared the Villar-led Nacionalista Party (NP), which is allied with Duterte, as the dominant minority party.

Republic Act No. 9369 requires the Comelec to give copies of election returns and certificates of canvass to the dominant majority party and dominant minority party.

This decision by the Comelec is a break from its record in recent history.

In both the 2013 and 2016 elections, when Benigno Aquino III was president, the Comelec declared the Aquino-led LP as the dominant majority party, while it named the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, led by then-vice president Jejomar Binay, as the dominant minority party.

LP president Senator Francis Pangilinan blasted the Comelec for its decision.

“Paano naman nangyari ‘yun eh magkaalyado ang PDP at NP sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang administrasyon? Sila na ang majority, sila pa rin ang minority? Mga kagalang-galang na mga commissioners, kontra sa isang demokrasya ang inyong naging pasya,” Pangilinan wrote in a Facebook post on Friday, May 10.

(How could that happen when PDP and NP are allies under the current administration? They’re already the majority and they’re still the minority? Honorable commissioners, your decision is against democracy.)

“Kontra sa common sense. Kalokohan. Pinwera ninyo ang oposisyon at binigay lahat ng pribilehiyo sa administration,” Pangilinan added.

(This is against common sense. Foolishness. You marginalized the opposition and gave all privileges to the administration.)

Comelec packed with Duterte appointees

The LP appealed to the Comelec not to become an “instrument” of the administration to destroy Philippine democracy. “Pati ba ang Comelec ay sunud-sunuran na rin?” (Is the Comelec now just a blind follower, too?)

The Comelec said it used the following criteria to identify the dominant parties:

  • “The established record of the parties, coalition, or groups that now compose them, taking into account, among other things, their showing in the past elections”
  • “The number of incumbent elective officials belonging to them on the last day of the filing” of certificates of candidacy
  • “Their identifiable political organizations and strengths as evidenced by their organized chapters”
  • “The ability to field a slate of candidates from the municipal level to the senatorial positions”
  • “The number of women candidates fielded by political parties from the municipal level to the position of senator”
  • “Other analogous circumstances that may determine their relative organizations and strengths”

The 7-member Comelec is now dominated by Duterte appointees.

Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas and Commissioners Socorro Inting, Marlon Casquejo, and Antonio Kho Jr were appointed by Duterte to their current posts. (Abas was also an Aquino appointee, but as commissioner before he became chairman.)

Only Commissioners Al Parreño, Luie Tito Guia, and Rowena Amelia Guanzon were appointed by Aquino. (READ: PROFILES: The men and women of the Comelec running the 2019 elections– Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

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