The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has refused to proclaim any nominees of the two factions of the Coalition of Association of Senior Citizens Inc. as representatives of the group for violations of election rules and their by-laws.
The poll body defied the order of the Supreme Court to proclaim representative of the partylist as they are still resolving which of the two sets of nominees should be given the two seats.
In its 15-page resolution promulgated on January 13, the Comelec resolved to defer the resolution of Senior Citizens’ leadership dispute to the Regional Trial Court, for determination of the party’s members and officers.
The Comelec said that both factions led by Godofredo Arquiza and Francisco Datol Jr. had violated the existing election laws and their own articles of incorporation.
“It is clear … that both individuals [Arquiza and Datol] have abused their authority to usurp leadership over Senior Citizens from one another,” the Comelec said.
The Comelec said that Arquiza’s faction had refused to call for an election since he came into power in 2007 and that no election has been held since it was founded in 2003.
Meantime, the poll body said that Datol’s faction had illegally tried to seize the leadership of the party by misleading members and submitting falsified documents, including a padded members’ list.
“For persons claiming to be trustees and officers of Senior Citizens, both Arquiza and Datol are not simply expected, but required to comply with the law and the by-laws,” said the resolution.
To settle the issue between the two factions, the Comelec through its en banc division had urged them to enter into a compromise agreement.
“The Commission has attempted several times to have both factions reconcile and arrive at a settlement regarding their authority and responsibilities, if only to allow Senior Citizens to have representation in the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, the Commission’s call for reconciliation fell on deaf ears, thus this predicament,” the resolution added.
Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-List System Act provides that a participating group should be given one seat in the House of Representatives if it gets at least two percent of the total number of votes cast in the party-list elections, and an additional seat for every two percent of the votes thereafter until a party has a maximum of three seats.
During the May 13 polls, the group garnered a total of 677, 642 votes, which entitled them to have two nominees, but the group had two factions with its own set of nominees.
ROBERTZON F. RAMIREZ