Comelec in a bind over party-list cases with feuding nominees

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) runs the risk of being accused of involvement in a bidding war if it is made to decide on party-list groups with multiple sets of nominees, a House leader said.
Rep. Walden Bello of Akbayan party-list made the observation in light of the Comelec’s move disqualifying incumbent party-list group Coalition of Senior Citizens in the Philippines Inc. for having two sets of nominees.

“The lesson here is that, no matter how difficult, it is really incumbent on a party-list to forge a common slate before the elections instead of fielding two slates because to some extent, it’s unfair to get the Comelec to make the decision which is the legitimate slate. If it is the Comelec who will decide who is the legitimate slate, there will be an impression that Comelec is involved in a bidding war, even if it isn’t,” Bello said in a chance interview.

The Senior Citizens party-list is a top 10 vote getter in the last polls, gathering at least 677,000 votes which is way beyond the minimum requirement of two percent of the votes cast for party-list group which is good for one seat in the House of Representatives.

Akbayan finished fifth with at least 820,000 votes, retaining its incumbent two seats.

Aside from the Senior Citizens, other party-list groups who have enough votes but are facing a dilemma of two sets of nominees include Ako Bicol Political Party,Trade Union Congress Party, Adhikaing Tinataguyod ng Kooperatiba, Anak Mindanao Party List, Abakada-Guro and Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption.

“They [Senior Citizens] should be represented so as not to disenfranchise a huge sector of our population. But the responsibility [for determining the legitimate representatives]is really on the party-list,” Bello added.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. of Quezon City and Reps. Giorgidi Aggabao of Isabela, Simeon Datumanong of Maguindanao, Marcelino Teodoro of Marikina and Winston Castelo of Quezon City have earlier backed the reinstatement of the Senior Citizens party-list, arguing that its overwhelming mandate from the people should prevail over technicalities.




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