Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Party-list wait over

With two weeks to go before the Fourteenth Congress opens, the Commission on Elections on Monday proclaimed 13 party-list organizations as winners in last May elections.

Comelec Chairman Benja­min Abalos Sr. said the proclamation would ensure there would be 13 party-list groups with at least one representative each when Congress opens on July 23.

Proclaimed winners were:

Bayan Muna
Alliance for Rural Concern

All of them got the required 2 percent of the total votes cast for party-list groups.

The Comelec has temporarily set aside the proclamation of the group Batas (Bagong Alyansang Tagapagtaguyod ng Adhikaing Sambayanan) because of a pending disqualification case and petition for cancellation of registration filed before the Comelec by Nathan Macute, a registered voter of Sitio Roque, Alabang, Muntin­lupa City.

In his petition, Macute poin­ted out that the registration of Batas was intended to “completely deceive and defraud” the electorate because it is passing itself off as the Buklod ng mga Abogadong Tagapagta­guyod ng Adhikain ng Sam­bayanan, which bears the same acronym and was organized by lawyer Melanio Mauricio Jr.

“Batas party-list was interchangeably and wrongfully perceived as Batas, the nongovernment organization of Atty. Mauricio,” the petition said, when it reality it “represents a religious sector.”

Records show that the nominees of Batas were Daniel S. Razon, Melanio Mauricio Jr., Joey Y. Sonza, Ariel M. Pacis and Olivia G. Coo.

Abalos said other party-list groups with pending disqualification cases would not be proclaimed till the cases are resolved.

The additional party-list representatives would be determined using the so-called Panganiban Formula after the canvassing has been completed.

The Panganiban formula refers to a Supreme Court ruling penned by then-Justice Artemio Panganiban that determines the numbers of seats that a winning party-list group should occupy.

Under the formula, a group that gets at least 2 percent of party-list votes wins one seat but only the top vote-getter among party-list groups gets the maximum three seats.

The additional number of seats are computed by dividing each group’s total votes by the number of votes received by the “first party,” or the top vote-getter in the party-list race.

The quotient is then multiplied by the additional number of seats gained by the “first party” beyond the 2 percent minimum.

Previously, a group that gets 2 percent of party-list votes wins one seat; a group with 4 percent, two seats; and a group with 6 percent or more, the maximum three seats.