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Comelec to proclaim party-list reps Friday

Posted on: April 23, 2009

Comelec to proclaim party-list reps Friday

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 17:47:00 04/23/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Elections, Congress

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will proclaim the additional party-list representatives Friday, officials said Thursday.

Comelec Commissioner Leonardo Leonida and Commissioner Armando Velasco, quoting the Commission en banc decision after meeting with some of the new party list reps Thursday afternoon, said the new officials would be proclaimed April 24 at 3:01 p.m.

“That is our target,” said Velasco, who noted the Comelec had to follow the ruling from the Supreme Court, given the decision was marked “immediately executory.”

In a landmark decision on Tuesday, the Supreme Court voided the 2-percent threshold previously used to determine which party list groups would get a second or third seat at House of Representatives.

The decision paved the way for party list representatives to fill in the total of 55 seats or 20 percent of total seats at the House of Representatives.

There are currently 22 party list representatives in the House of Representatives.

Several of the new representatives met with the Comelec en banc to inquire about the process of their proclamation, including retired army general Jovito Palparan, Jun Alcover or Anad, Domingo Espina of Cocofed, Godofredo Arquiza of the Senior Citizens party and Teodoro Lim of Unimad.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento confirmed Palparan would be among the new party list representatives to be proclaimed because his group Bantay qualified for the 32 additional seats.

In an interview with INQUIRER.net, Velasco said the Comelec could immediately proclaim the new representatives because there were party list groups with pending cases that could affect the computation for the percentage of votes earned by party-list candidates.

“There are two to three party list groups that might be deferred from proclamation due to their cases. These party lists will not be replaced, only deferred because the en banc has to resolve first the cases,” said Velasco.

Sarmiento said party list groups ALIS and BATAS have pending cases of cancellation of registration before Comelec, which the Commission en banc needed to decide on immediately.

Party list group ALAGAD has a pending case with the Supreme Court, which involved the issue on who would sit as representative of the group.

Sarmiento noted another party list, Filipinos for Peace, Justice and Progress Movement (FPJMP) which was disqualified from proclamation, following a Supreme Court ruling that canceled its registration in 2008.

Comelec executive director Jose Tolentino Jr added the disqualification of FPJMP would thus affect the computation for percentage of votes garnered by party-list groups.

FPJMP received 227, 136 votes in the May 2007 elections, Comelec documents showed.

Tolentino said votes received by FPJMP would be deducted from the total of 15, 950,900 votes for party-list in the 2007 polls, thus arriving at 15,723,764.

Under the law, a party list which gets 2 percent of the total votes gains a seat at the House of Representatives.

The percentage of votes garnered by each party is arrived at by dividing the number of votes garnered by each party by the total number of votes cast for all party-list candidates.

“The total number of votes for party lists is the denominator used to compute for the percentage of the votes a party list received. If the denominator is reduced, the percentage of vote increases,” said Tolentino.

He noted the increase would allow more party-list groups to satisfy the 2-percent threshold and gain one guaranteed seat for the first round of allocation of seats.

For groups with more than 2 percent of the votes, they could qualify to get additional second or third seats if the total number of party-list votes was reduced, said Tolentino.

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