THE Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to immediately proclaim the Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens Inc. as a winning party-list organization in the May 13, 2013 elections and entitled to two seats in the House of Representatives.
The order came after the Comelec refused to proclaim any nominees of the two factions of the party-list, thereby defying the directive of the SC to proclaim representatives of the party-list as the poll body was still resolving which of the two sets of nominees should be given the two seats.
The Comelec earlier said both factions led by Godofredo Arquiza and Francisco Datol Jr. had violated existing election laws and their own articles of incorporation.
In a full-court ruling, dated April 21, 2015, but was released to the media just recently, the SC granted the Arquiza group’s prayer for enforcement of its final and executory decision dated July 23, 2013.
The High Court stated that the resolution of senior citizens’ leadership dispute should be referred to the Regional Trial Court for determination of the party’s members and officers, as the SC is not a trier of facts.
Republic Act 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, 2013 polls, the Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens Inc. garnered a total of 677, 642 votes, which entitled it to have two nominees but the group had two factions with their own set of nominees.
The High Court lambasted the Comelec for defying its decision stating that “the pendency of an intra-party leadership dispute is not a bar to the issuance of such a certificate of proclamation.”
In the same ruling, it directed the poll body “to show cause why it should not be cited in indirect contempt for failing to comply with our final and executory decision, [among others].”