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MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now studying whether or not the term limit for representatives of party-list organizations should also apply to the groups themselves.
“We're discussing it now. Does the three-term limit apply to party-list groups, or to their officials only? Where should the rule apply?," Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento told reporters on Tuesday, July 3.
The Constitution states that “no member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more than 3 consecutive terms.” This means that a party-list representative can sit for 3 consecutive terms, or for a total of 9 years if his group wins an election.
The term limit, however, is observed by the party-list nominees or representatives, not by the party-list group itself.
Among those who have consistently won in the party-list race are the groups Bayan Muna, Akbayan, and Cibac. Akbayan has been represented in Congress for 5 consecutive terms now, while Bayan and Cibac have been represented for 4 consecutive terms.
This issue was raised after Comelec reiterated its policy of disallowing term-sharing among party-list nominees. This was the subject of the recently-dismissed petition of party-list group Senior Citizens for the replacement of its resigned representative.
Senior Citizens Rep David Kho offered to resign in December 2011 and asked Comelec if he can be replaced by the group's fourth nominee, Remedios Arquiza. The poll body rejected Kho's petition on June 27.
“The term of office of public officials cannot be made subject to any agreement of private parties. Public office is not a commodity that can be shared, apportioned or be made subject of any private agreement," the poll body said in its decision.
Comelec Resolution No. 9366 prohibits term-sharing among party-list representatives, unless in cases when the representative dies. - Rappler.com
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