Brillantes on party-list winners: Quite unhappy

Paterno Esmaquel II
Poll chief Sixto Brillantes Jr laments the victory of groups it previously disqualified, including Ako Bicol and 1-Care

MANILA, Philippines – If the Commission on Elections (Comelec) had its way, two of the 14 party-list groups it proclaimed as winners Friday, May 24, wouldn’t get a seat in Congress.

Unfortunately for the Comelec, the Supreme Court revamped its criteria for qualified party-list groups, opening the party list to 24 groups it previously disqualified.

Siyempre hindi ako masyadong masaya, lalo na ‘yung dinisqualify namin pero nanalo,” Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr told reporters Friday. (Of course I’m not very happy, particularly with those whom we disqualified but won.)

(Watch the video below.)


The Comelec, sitting as the national board of canvassers (NBOC), on Friday proclaimed rival groups Bayan Muna and Akbayan, and 12 other party-list organizations as winners for 2013.

The most prominent group that the Comelec initially disqualified, but won a party-list seat, is Ako Bicol.

Ako Bicol, which got the most party-list votes in 2010, no longer received the most votes this year. This was after a cloud of doubt lingered over it for 7 months, as the Comelec initially disqualified the group.

The other initially disqualified group that got proclaimed on Friday, is 1-Care.

The NBOC will finalize the list of party-list winners next week, according to Brillantes.

Unprecedented purge, but…

For the midterm elections, voters chose from 111 party-list groups, even as the Comelec initially approved the candidacies of 84.

Brillantes led the unprecedented purge of party-list groups last year. It was the first time the Comelec canceled the accreditation of existing party-list groups.

In an interview in November 2012, the poll chief said unqualified groups degrade the party-list system. Citing a ruling by the SC, he asserted the party-list system is for the marginalized and underrepresented. (Watch more in the video below.)

Bumababa na masyado ang kuwan eh, ang public position. Congressman ka, party list, pero parang napakababa na ng pagtingin. At saka you will notice naman, hindi ba nakikita ninyo kung sino-sino. Ni hindi natin kilala kung sinu-sino ang mga congressman na nandiyan,” he explained.

(It is degrading the value of the public position. You’re a congressman, from a party list, but there is low regard for you. And you yourself will notice, it’s practically anyone. We don’t even know who these congressmen are.)

The SC, however, in a landmark decision, reversed its earlier ruling and said marginalization is not required for party-list groups. –

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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