2022 PH party-list race

Waiting for copy of Comelec orders, rejected PL groups run out of time to plead to SC

Dwight de Leon
Waiting for copy of Comelec orders, rejected PL groups run out of time to plead to SC

Members of party-list group Nurses United stage a protest outside the Comelec headquarters in Intramuros, Manila, on December 6, 2021, after the poll body denied their petition to participate in the May 2022 elections.

Rappler

Some party-list groups are worried over the delayed release of the Comelec's denial order against their registration. They say they need that document to make an appeal to the Supreme Court.

MANILA, Philippines – Frustration mounts among some party-list groups whose applications for registration were rejected by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) but are still hoping to make it to the 2022 ballot through a last-ditch appeal to the Supreme Court (SC).

The root of frustration: The poll body’s delayed release of Comelec denial orders on their motions for reconsideration.

Some groups that Rappler talked to on Thursday, December 9, insisted they need a certified true copy of their individual Comelec resolutions in order to make a strong appeal to the High Court.

The SC has the power to grant these rejected party-list groups a status quo ante order, which would basically prevent the Comelec from keeping them out of the December 14 raffle that would determine the placement of party-list groups on the official 2022 ballots.

“How can we file a request with the [SC] if the Comelec has not given us a copy of their order? We run the risk of being rejected due to technicality,” said Mar Valbuena, first nominee of transport group Manibela.

“Maybe they should have given us a copy of the order first before they released the list of registered party-list groups. Because what they did to us was unfair,” Valbuena added in Filipino.

Nurses United, which held protest action outside the Comelec office on Monday, December 6, said they cannot request a status quo ante order from the SC as they have not received a copy of the Comelec en banc’s order on their motion for reconsideration filed on October 9.

Its first nominee Maristela Abenojar said her group has even followed up with the Comelec multiple times since Monday.

“Para nga kaming tumutulay sa alambre e (It’s like walking on a tightrope),” she told Rappler.

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Members of party-list group Nurses United stage a protest outside the Comelec headquarters in Intramuros, Manila, on December 6, 2021, after the poll body denied their petition to participate in the May 2022 elections.

Other rejected party-list groups such as MedCann and LGBTQ Plus have also not ruled out the possibility of seeking temporary relief from the High Court, but like Manibela and Nurses United, they are still waiting for their individual Comelec rulings to be sent to them.

MedCann is a group seeking to represent patients who are pushing for the safe access of cannabis medicine in the Philippines. LGBTQ Plus is perhaps among the few groups, if not the only, seeking to represent the marginalized sector in the party-list system for the 2022 polls.

What’s with the delay?

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body is still working on sending copies of the resolutions to rejected party-list groups.

“The waiting time is due to the volume of work being completed – there are numerous denials being prepared for release,” he explained.

“We’ve postponed the raffle so they have more time,” Jimenez added, referring to the Comelec’s decision to reschedule the raffle from December 10 to December 14.

But even if copies of the rulings are released to the groups on Friday, December 10, it still gives them little time to ask for the Supreme Court’s intervention.

Based on Comelec Resolution No. 10735, released only on Saturday, December 4, there were 107 party-list groups whose motions for reconsideration were denied by the en banc.

The Supreme Court has no timeframe when acting on a request for a status quo ante order from the day of filing.

Some requests take just a day to be processed, others could take months. – Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.