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Comelec says SC ruling on Ladlad might result in stray ballots

Posted on: January 14, 2010

Comelec says SC ruling on Ladlad might result in stray ballots
January 13, 2010 21:12:00
Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—An election on Wednesday expressed concern that the Supreme Court ruling on gay party-list Ang Ladlad would result in stray ballots as other disqualified party-list groups might demand the same treatment.

“While we respect the decision of the Supreme Court, we are also concerned that this might be taken as a precedent for other party lists with pending accreditation to appeal the inclusion of their names in the ballots,” said Comelec spokesman James Jimenez.

“This might result in stray votes if in case the party turns out to be ineligible for accreditation later,” said Jimenez.

The Supreme Court ordered the Comelec Tuesday to recognize Ang Ladlad as an accredited partylist group and to include its name when the poll body starts printing the ballots for the May elections.

The directive was contained in a temporary restraining order issued by the court against a Comelec resolution disqualifying Ang Ladlad from the party-list elections in May.

Jimenez said the ruling this might result in “ballots containing party list names with pending appeals for accreditation.”

He said that while this might not pose a big technical issue in the preparation and printing of ballots, it “would surely lead to stray votes cast for otherwise ineligible candidates” and possibly, a longer ballot to include more names.

Comelec would file a motion for clarification on the case including these concerns, said Jimenez.

The Comelec en banc chaired by Chairman Jose Melo, which affirmed the earlier decision of the Second Division, junked the appeal of Ang Ladlad on December due to the supposed immorality of the group that “offends religious beliefs” and for its failure to prove the existence of chapters nationwide as claimed during the hearing for accreditation.

Meanwhile, Ang Ladlad chairman Danton Remoto welcomed the court ruling. He said the group would meet to name its five nominees.

Remoto said Ang Ladlad is confident to win at least a seat in the House of Representatives, citing the group’s voter’s base of at least half a million.

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