THE Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday blocked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from further proclaiming winners in the party-list race, a move which could favor 11 groups that were previously disqualified by the poll body.
In a three-page resolution, the court en banc issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) that effectively barred the Comelec from proclaiming the remaining party-list groups in the running for the remaining slots in the House of Representatives.
The poll body was also ordered to answer within 10 days the petitions filed by the party-list groups it earlier disqualified.
On May 24, Comelec disqualified the Senior Citizens’ party-list group, Philippine Coconut Producers Federation; Abang Lingkod; Binhi-Partido ng mga Magsasaka para sa mga Magsasaka and Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy.
On Monday, six more party-list groups were rejected—Agapay ng Indigenous Peoples Rights Alliance Inc., Ang Galing Pinoy, Atong Paglaum Inc., Kaagapay ng Nagkakaisang Agilang Pilipinong Magsasaka, Social Movement for Active Reform and Transparency, and The True Marcos Loyalist Association of the Philippines Inc.
The court ruled that all the remaining party-list cases seeking relief shall be consolidated.
The case reached the Supreme Court after the Comelec disqualified the Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines.
In its petition, the group said it will suffer grave, severe, and irreparable damage if the Comelec is not stopped from enforcing the disqualification.
The group also claimed that the poll body’s order would disenfranchise about eight million senior citizens in the country.
The group, which was disqualified for having a term-sharing agreement for their two sets of nominees, gained 671,916 votes, entitling it to two seats in Congress. It even ranked 10th in terms of votes garnered.
Comelec Resolution No. 9366 bars term-sharing among party list nominees.
Reacting to the TRO issued by the Court, Brillantes said he has no qualms this time with the order because it would not affect the groups that were already declared winners.
He said it “already validates the proclamation of the 53 party-lists” proclaimed over the past week.
“Okay lang ang TRO [The TRO is ok]. That gives the Senior Citizens a chance now to make it in the winning circle,” the Comelec chief said.
Senior Citizens’ party-list Rep. Godofredo Arquiza also on Wednesday said they will submit a copy of the TRO to the poll body so that their votes can officially be tallied and their disqualification reversed.
Prior to the May 13 elections, Brillantes threatened to resign from his post after suffering humiliating setbacks from a series of TROs issued by the High Court.
The poll body had been issued similar orders on the issues of liquor ban, political advertisements airtime limits and the money ban.