Did DQ ruling pull down Ako Bicol?

Paterno Esmaquel II
The top vote-getter in 2010, which the Comelec initially disqualified, didn't fare as well in 2013

MANILA, Philippines – For 7 months, a cloud of doubt lingered over Ako Bicol, the party-list group that got the most votes in 2010, but initially got disqualified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in October 2012.

Did this disqualification affect the group’s standing in the 2013 polls?

In November 2012, Ako Bicol did get a status quo ante (SQA) order from the Supreme Court (SC), but it was a temporary relief until the SC rules with finality. In the meantime, the Comelec included its name in the ballot. 

It was only last May 6 – a week before the midterm elections – that the Comelec cleared Ako Bicol’s fate. The poll body allowed it to run, along with other initially disqualified groups, based on criteria revamped by the SC.

How did the long period of uncertainty – for the party as well as its supporters – affect Ako Bicol’s campaign?

‘Buhay’ beats it

What is clear, based on partial results from the Comelec, is that Ako Bicol is no longer the top vote-getter nationwide.

The group, however, kept its lead by a wide margin in all Bicol provinces.

Official results as of Monday evening, May 20 – the latest released by the Comelec to media – show Ako Bicol garnering 761,115 votes. This is a far cry from the 1.5 million votes it got in 2010, which allowed it to clinch the maximum number of party-list seats – 3 – in the House of Representatives.

The 2013 count shows Ako Bicol getting 2.69% of total votes cast for party-list groups, guaranteeing the group at least one seat in Congress.

This year’s leading party-list group – the pro-life group Buhay – has garnered 1,255,734 votes so far. This comprises 4.44% of total party-list votes.

Bicol’s number one

Ako Bicol, however, led by as much as 200,000 votes in the Bicol region. It is the number one party-list group in all 6 Bicol provinces.

In the Bicol region, it got the most votes in Albay – 272,174. Trailing it in Albay was the group Agri, with 13,613 votes.

Below is the breakdown of Ako Bicol’s votes in all Bicol provinces, followed by the second top vote-getter. The breakdown also includes the number of votes for Alliance of Bicolnon Party, another regional group:


Ako Bicol – 272,174

Agri – 13,613

Alliance of Bicolnon Party – 556


Ako Bicol – 218,554

Agri – 29,078

Alliance of Bicolnon Party – 2,539


Ako Bicol – 99,400

Coop Natcco – 19,132

Alliance of Bicolnon Party – 269


Ako Bicol – 54,927

A Teacher – 8,584

Alliance of Bicolnon Party – 344


Ako Bicol – 36,444

Alliance of Bicolnon Party – 10,957

A Teacher – 3,945


Ako Bicol – 29,693

Adam – 17,829

Alliance of Bicolnon Party – 345

The Comelec has failed to release the latest party-list tally to the media after Monday. Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr said the poll body will finalize the party-list tally by Friday, May 24. 

Under the party list, the 58 allocated seats don’t automatically go to the 58 groups with the most number of votes.

It is, after all, 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 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.