ATONG PAGLAUM vs COMELEC

May 8, 2014
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Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 203766               April 2, 2013

ATONG PAGLAUM, INC., represented by its President, Mr. Alan Igot,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. Nos. 203818-19          April 2, 2013

AKO BICOL POLITICAL PARTY (AKB),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 203922           April 2, 2013

ASSOCIATION OF PHILIPPINE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES (APEC),represented by its President Congressman Ponciano D. Payuyo,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 203936          April 2, 2013

AKSYON MAGSASAKA-PARTIDO TINIG NG MASA, represented by its President Michael Abas Kida,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 203958          April 2, 2013

KAPATIRAN NG MGA NAKULONG NA WALANG SALA, INC. (KAKUSA),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 203960           April 2, 2013

1st CONSUMERS ALLIANCE FOR RURAL ENERGY, INC. (1-CARE),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 203976          April 2, 2013

ALLIANCE FOR RURAL AND AGRARIAN RECONSTRUCTION, INC. (ARARO),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 203981           April 2, 2013

ASSOCIATION FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS ADVOCACY ON LEADERSHIP (ARAL) PARTY-LIST, represented herein by Ms. Lourdes L. Agustin, the party’s Secretary General,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204002        April 2, 2013

ALLIANCE FOR RURAL CONCERNS,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204094           April 2, 2013

ALLIANCE FOR NATIONALISM AND DEMOCRACY (ANAD),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204100         April 2, 2013

1-BRO PHILIPPINE GUARDIANS BROTHERHOOD, INC., (1BRO-PGBI) formerly PGBI,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

 

G.R. No. 204122          April 2, 2013

1 GUARDIANS NATIONALIST PHILIPPINES, INC., (1GANAP/GUARDIANS),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC composed of SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., Chairman, RENE V. SARMIENTO, Commissioner, LUCENITO N. TAGLE, Commissioner, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, Commissioner, ELIAS R. YUSOPH, Commissioner, and CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, Commissioner, Respondents.

 

G.R. No. 204125            April 2, 2013

AGAPAY NG INDIGENOUS PEOPLES RIGHTS ALLIANCE, INC. (A-IPRA), represented by its Secretary General, Ronald D. Macaraig,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204126           April 2, 2013

KAAGAPAY NG NAGKAKAISANG AGILANG PILIPINONG MAGSASAKA (KAP), formerly known as AKO AGILA NG NAGKAKAISANG MAGSASAKA (AKO AGILA), represented by its Secretary General, Leo R. San Buenaventura,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204139           April 2, 2013

ALAB NG MAMAMAHAYAG (ALAM), represented by Atty. Berteni Cataluña Causing,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204141           April 2, 2013

BANTAY PARTY LIST, represented by Maria Evangelina F. Palparan, President,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204153            April 2, 2013

PASANG MASDA NATIONWIDE PARTY by its President Roberto “Ka Obet” Martin,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondents.

 

G.R. No. 204158           April 2, 2013

ABROAD PARTY LIST,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, CHAIRMAN SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., COMMISSIONERS RENE V. SARMIENTO, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, MARIA GRACIA CIELO M. PADACA, LUCENITO TAGLE, AND ALL OTHER PERSONS ACTING ON THEIR BEHALF, Respondents.

 

G.R. No. 204174             April 2, 2013

AANGAT TAYO PARTY LIST-PARTY, represented by its President Simeon T. Silva, Jr.,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204216            April 2, 2013

COCOFED-PHILIPPINE COCONUT PRODUCERS FEDERATION, INC.,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204220            April 2, 2013

ABANG LINGKOD PARTY-LIST,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204236             April 2, 2013

FIRM 24-K ASSOCIATION, INC.,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204238           April 2, 2013

ALLIANCE OF BICOLNON PARTY (ABP),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204239          April 2, 2013

GREEN FORCE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF MOTHER EARTH (GREENFORCE),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204240           April 2, 2013

AGRI-AGRA NA REPORMA PARA SA MAGSASAKA NG PILIPINAS MOVEMENT (AGRI), represented by its Secretary General, Michael Ryan A. Enriquez,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204263            April 2, 2013

A BLESSED PARTY LIST A.K.A. BLESSEDFEDERATION OF FARMERS AND FISHERMEN INTERNATIONAL, INC.,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204318           April 2, 2013

UNITED MOVEMENT AGAINST DRUGS FOUNDATION (UNIMAD) PARTY-LIST,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204321           April 2, 2013

ANG AGRIKULTURA NATIN ISULONG (AANI), represented by its Secretary General Jose C. Policarpio, Jr.,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204323           April 2, 2013

BAYANI PARTYLIST as represented by Homer Bueno, Fitrylin Dalhani, Israel de Castro, Dante Navarroand Guiling Mamondiong,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, CHAIRMAN SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., COMMISSIONERS RENE V. SARMIENTO, LUCENITO N. TAGLE, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, and MARIA GRACIA CIELO M. PADACA, Respondents.

 

G.R. No. 204341          April 2, 2013

ACTION LEAGUE OF INDIGENOUS MASSES(ALIM) PARTY-LIST, represented herein by its President Fatani S. Abdul Malik,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204356           April 2, 2013

BUTIL FARMERS PARTY,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204358 April 2, 2013

ALLIANCE OF ADVOCATES IN MININGADVANCEMENT FOR NATIONAL PROGRESS (AAMA),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204359         April 2, 2013

SOCIAL MOVEMENT FOR ACTIVEREFORM AND TRANSPARENCY (SMART), represented by its Chairman, Carlito B. Cubelo,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204364           April 2, 2013

ADHIKAIN AT KILUSAN NG ORDINARYONG-TAO, PARA SA LUPA, PABAHAY, HANAPBUHAY AT KAUNLARAN (AKO BUHAY),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., RENE V. SARMIENTO, LUCENITO N. TAGLE, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, and MA. GRACIA CIELO M. PADACA, in their capacities as Commissioners thereof, Respondents.

 

G.R. No. 204367           April 2, 2013

AKBAY KALUSUGAN INCORPORATION(AKIN),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204370           April 2, 2013

AKO AN BISAYA (AAB), represented by its Secretary General, Rodolfo T. Tuazon,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204374          April 2, 2013

BINHI-PARTIDO NG MGA MAGSASAKA PARA SA MGA MAGSASAKA,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204379          April 2, 2013

ALAGAD NG SINING (ASIN) represented by its President, Faye Maybelle Lorenz,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204394           April 2, 2013

ASSOCIATION OF GUARD UTILITY HELPER, AIDER, RIDER, DRIVER/DOMESTIC HELPER, JANITOR, AGENT AND NANNY OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. (GUARDJAN),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204402           April 2, 2013

KALIKASAN PARTY-LIST, represented by its President, Clemente G. Bautista, Jr., and Secretary General, Frances Q. Quimpo,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204408           April 2, 2013

PILIPINO ASSOCIATION FOR COUNTRY-URBAN POOR YOUTH ADVANCEMENT AND WELFARE (PACYAW), Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204410           April 2, 2013

1-UNITED TRANSPORT KOALISYON (1-UTAK),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204421           April 2, 2013

COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE PHILIPPINES, INC. SENIOR CITIZEN PARTY-LIST, represented herein by its 1st nominee and Chairman, Francisco G. Datol, Jr.,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204425           April 2, 2013

COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE PHILIPPINES, INC.,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and ANY OF ITS OFFICERS AND AGENTS, ACTING FOR AND IN ITS BEHALF, INCLUDING THE CHAIR AND MEMBERSOF THE COMMISSION, Respondents.

 

G.R. No. 204426           April 2, 2013

ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL ATHLETICS ENTREPRENEURS AND HOBBYISTS, INC. (ALA-EH),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., RENE V. SARMIENTO, LUCENITO N. TAGLE, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, and MA. GRACIA CIELO M. PADACA, in their respective capacities as COMELEC Chairperson and Commissioners, Respondents.

 

G.R. No. 204428           April 2, 2013

ANG GALING PINOY (AG), represented by its Secretary General, Bernardo R. Corella, Jr.,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204435            April 2, 2013

1 ALLIANCE ADVOCATING AUTONOMY PARTY (1AAAP),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204436           April 2, 2013

ABYAN ILONGGO PARTY (AI), represented by its Party President, Rolex T. Suplico,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204455           April 2, 2013

MANILA TEACHER SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION, INC.,  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204484           April 2, 2013

PARTIDO NG BAYAN ANG BIDA (PBB), represented by its Secretary General, Roger M. Federazo, Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204485           April 2, 2013

ALLIANCE OF ORGANIZATIONS, NETWORKS AND ASSOCIATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. (ALONA), Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204486           April 2, 2013

1st KABALIKAT NG BAYAN GINHAWANG SANGKATAUHAN (1st KABAGIS),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.

 

G.R. No. 204490           April 2, 2013

PILIPINAS PARA SA PINOY (PPP),  Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, Respondent.

 

D E C I S I O N

CARPIO, J.:

The Cases

These cases constitute 54 Petitions for Certiorari and Petitions for Certiorari and Prohibition1 filed by 52 party-list groups and organizations assailing the Resolutions issued by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) disqualifying them from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections, either by denial of their petitions for registration under the party-list system, or cancellation of their registration and accreditation as party-list organizations.

This Court resolved to consolidate the 54 petitions in the Resolutions dated 13 November 2012,2 20 November 2012,3 27 November 2012,4 4 December 2012,5 11 December 2012,6 and 19 February 2013.7

The Facts Pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A. No. 7941) and COMELEC Resolution Nos. 9366 and 9531, approximately 280 groups and organizations registered and manifested their desire to participate in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections.

G.R. No. SPP No. Group Grounds for Denial
A. Via the COMELEC En Banc’s automatic review of the COMELEC
Division’s resolutions approving registration of groups/organizations
Resolution dated 23 November 20128
1 204379 12-099
(PLM)
Alagad ng
Sining (ASIN)
– The “artists” sector is not
considered marginalized and
underrepresented;
– Failure to prove track
record; and
– Failure of the nominees to
qualify under RA 7941 and
Ang Bagong Bayani.
Omnibus Resolution dated 27 November 20129
2 204455 12-041
(PLM)
Manila Teachers
Savings and
Loan
Association, Inc.
(Manila
Teachers)
– A non-stock savings and
loan association cannot be
considered marginalized and
underrepresented; and
– The first and second
nominees are not teachers by
profession.
3 204426 12-011
(PLM)
Association of
Local Athletics
Entrepreneurs
and Hobbyists,
Inc. (ALA-EH)
– Failure to show that its
members belong to the
marginalized; and
– Failure of the nominees to
qualify.
Resolution dated 27 November 201210
4 204435 12-057
(PLM)
1 Alliance
Advocating
Autonomy Party
(1AAAP)
– Failure of the nominees to
qualify: although registering
as a regional political party,
two of the nominees are not
residents of the region; and
four of the five nominees do
not belong to the
marginalized and underrepresented.
Resolution dated 27 November 201211
5 204367 12-104 (PL) Akbay
Kalusugan
(AKIN), Inc.
– Failure of the group to show
that its nominees belong to
the urban poor sector.
Resolution dated 29 November 201212
6 204370 12-011 (PP) Ako An Bisaya
(AAB)
– Failure to represent a
marginalized sector of
society, despite the formation
of a sectoral wing for the
benefit of farmers of Region
8;
– Constituency has district
representatives;
– Lack of track record in
representing peasants and
farmers; and
– Nominees are neither
farmers nor peasants.
Resolution dated 4 December 201213
7 204436 12-009 (PP),
12-165
(PLM)
Abyan Ilonggo
Party (AI)
– Failure to show that the
party represents a
marginalized and
underrepresented sector, as
the Province of Iloilo has
district representatives;
– Untruthful statements in the
memorandum; and
– Withdrawal of three of its
five nominees.
Resolution dated 4 December 201214
8 204485 12-175 (PL) Alliance of
Organizations,
Networks and Associations of
the Philippines,
Inc. (ALONA)
– Failure to establish that the
group can represent 14
sectors; – The sectors of homeowners’
associations, entrepreneurs
and cooperatives are not
marginalized and
underrepresented; and
– The nominees do not belong
to the marginalized and
underrepresented.
B. Via the COMELEC En Banc’s review on motion for reconsideration
of the COMELEC Division’s resolutions denying registration of groups
and organizations
Resolution dated 7 November 201215
9 204139 12-127 (PL) Alab ng
Mamamahayag
(ALAM)
– Failure to prove track
record as an organization;
– Failure to show that the
group actually represents the
marginalized and
underrepresented; and
– Failure to establish that the
group can represent all
sectors it seeks to represent.
Resolution dated 7 November 201216
10 204402 12-061 (PP) Kalikasan Party-List
(KALIKASAN)
– The group reflects an
advocacy for the
environment, and is not
representative of the
marginalized and
underrepresented;
– There is no proof that
majority of its members
belong to the marginalized
and underrepresented;
– The group represents
sectors with conflicting
interests; and
– The nominees do not belong
to the sector which the group
claims to represent.
Resolution dated 14 November 201217
11 204394 12-145 (PL) Association of
Guard, Utility
Helper, Aider,
Rider, Driver/
Domestic
Helper,
Janitor, Agent
and
Nanny of the
Philippines, Inc.
(GUARDJAN)
– Failure to prove
membership base and track
record;
– Failure to present activities
that sufficiently benefited its
intended constituency; and
– The nominees do not belong
to any of the sectors which
the group seeks to represent.
Resolution dated 5 December 201218
12 204490 12-073
(PLM)
Pilipinas Para sa
Pinoy (PPP)
– Failure to show that the
group represents a
marginalized and
underrepresented sector, as
Region 12 has district
representatives; and
– Failure to show a track
record of undertaking
programs for the welfare of
the sector the group seeks to
represent.

In a Resolution dated 5 December 2012,19 the COMELEC En Banc affirmed the COMELEC Second Division’s resolution to grant Partido ng Bayan ng Bida’s (PBB) registration and accreditation as a political party in the National Capital Region. However, PBB was denied participation in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections because PBB does not represent any “marginalized and underrepresented” sector; PBB failed to apply for registration as a party-list group; and PBB failed to establish its track record as an organization that seeks to uplift the lives of the “marginalized and underrepresented.”20

These 13  Petitioners (ASIN, Manila Teachers, ALA-EH, 1AAAP, AKIN, AAB, AI, ALONA, ALAM, KALIKASAN, GUARDJAN, PPP, and PBB) were not able to secure a mandatory injunction from this Court. The COMELEC, on 7 January 2013 issued Resolution No. 9604,21 and excluded the names of these 13  Petitioners in the printing of the official ballot for the 13 May 2013 party-list elections.

Pursuant to paragraph 222 of Resolution No. 9513, the COMELEC En Banc scheduled summary evidentiary hearings to determine whether the groups and organizations that filed manifestations of intent to participate in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections have continually complied with the requirements of R.A. No. 7941 and Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. COMELEC23 (Ang Bagong Bayani). The COMELEC disqualified the following groups and organizations from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections:

G.R. No. SPP No. Group Grounds for Denial
Resolution dated 10 October 201224
1 203818-19 12-154
(PLM)
12-177
(PLM)
AKO Bicol
Political Party
(AKB)
Retained registration and
accreditation as a political
party, but denied participation
in the May 2013 party-list
elections
– Failure to represent any
marginalized and
underrepresented sector;
– The Bicol region already
has representatives in
Congress; and
– The nominees are not
marginalized and
underrepresented.
Omnibus Resolution dated 11 October 201225
2 203766 12-161
(PLM)
Atong Paglaum,
Inc. (Atong
Paglaum)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– The nominees do not belong
to the sectors which the party
represents; and
– The party failed to file its
Statement of Contributions
and Expenditures for the
2010 Elections.
3 203981 12-187
(PLM)
Association for
Righteousness
Advocacy on
Leadership
(ARAL)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– Failure to comply, and for
violation of election laws;
– The nominees do not
represent the sectors which
the party represents; and
– There is doubt that the party
is organized for religious
purposes.
4 204002 12-188
(PLM)
Alliance for
Rural Concerns
(ARC)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– Failure of the nominees to
qualify; and
– Failure of the party to prove
that majority of its members
belong to the sectors it seeks
to represent.
5 204318 12-220
(PLM)
United
Movement
Against Drugs
Foundation
(UNIMAD)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– The sectors of drug
counselors and lecturers,
veterans and the youth, are
not marginalized and
underrepresented;
– Failure to establish track
record; and
– Failure of the nominees to
qualify as representatives of
the youth and young urban
professionals.
Omnibus Resolution dated 16 October 201226
6 204100 12-196
(PLM)
1-Bro Philippine
Guardians
Brotherhood,
Inc. (1BRO-PGBI)
Cancelled registration
– Failure to define the sector
it seeks to represent; and
– The nominees do not belong
to a marginalized and
underrepresented sector.
7 204122 12-223
(PLM)
1 Guardians
Nationalist
Philippines, Inc.
(1GANAP/
GUARDIANS)
Cancelled registration
– The party is a military
fraternity;
– The sector of community
volunteer workers is too
broad to allow for meaningful
representation; and
– The nominees do not appear
to belong to the sector of
community volunteer
workers.
8 20426 12-257
(PLM)
Blessed
Federation of
Farmers and
Fishermen
International,
Inc. (A
BLESSED
Party-List)
Cancelled registration
– Three of the seven
nominees do not belong to
the sector of farmers and
fishermen, the sector sought
to be represented; and
– None of the nominees are
registered voters of Region
XI, the region sought to be
represented.
Resolution dated 16 October 201227
9 203960 12-260
(PLM)
1st
Consumers
Alliance for
Rural Energy,
Inc. (1-CARE)
Cancelled registration
– The sector of rural energy
consumers is not
marginalized and
underrepresented;
– The party’s track record is
related to electric
cooperatives and not rural
energy consumers; and
– The nominees do not belong
to the sector of rural energy
consumers.
Resolution dated 16 October 201228
10 203922 12-201
(PLM)
Association of
Philippine
Electric
Cooperatives
(APEC)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– Failure to represent a
marginalized and
underrepresented sector; and
– The nominees do not belong
to the sector that the party
claims to represent.
Resolution dated 23 October 201229
11 204174 12-232
(PLM)
Aangat Tayo
Party-List Party
( AT )
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– The incumbent
representative in Congress
failed to author or sponsor
bills that are beneficial to the
sectors that the party
represents (women, elderly,
youth, urban poor); and
– The nominees do not belong
to the marginalized sectors
that the party seeks to
represent.
Omnibus Resolution dated 24 October 201230
12 203976 12-288
(PLM)
Alliance for
Rural and
Agrarian
Reconstruction,
Inc. (ARARO)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– The interests of the peasant
and urban poor sectors that
the party represents differ;
– The nominees do not belong
to the sectors that the party
seeks to represent;
– Failure to show that three of
the nominees are bona fide
party members; and
– Lack of a Board resolution
to participate in the party-list
elections.
Omnibus Resolution dated 24 October 201231
13 204240 12-279
(PLM)
Agri-Agra na
Reporma Para sa
Magsasaka ng
Pilipinas
Movement
(AGRI)
Cancelled registration
– The party ceased to exist for
more than a year immediately
after the May 2010 elections;
– The nominees do not belong
to the sector of peasants and
farmers that the party seeks to
represent;
– Only four nominees were
submitted to the COMELEC;
and
– Failure to show meaningful
activities for its constituency.
14 203936 12-248
(PLM)
Aksyon
Magsasaka-Partido Tinig ng
Masa (AKMA-PTM)
Cancelled registration
– Failure to show that
majority of its members are
marginalized and
underrepresented;
– Failure to prove that four of
its nine nominees actually
belong to the farmers sector;
and
– Failure to show that five of
its nine nominees work on
uplifting the lives of the
members of the sector.
15 204126 12-263
(PLM)
Kaagapay ng
Nagkakaisang
Agilang
Pilipinong
Magsasaka
(KAP)
Cancelled registration
– The Manifestation of Intent
and Certificate of Nomination
were not signed by an
appropriate officer of the
party;
– Failure to show track record
for the farmers and peasants
sector; and
– Failure to show that
nominees actually belong to
the sector, or that they have
undertaken meaningful
activities for the sector.
16 204364 12-180
(PLM)
Adhikain at
Kilusan ng
Ordinaryong
Tao Para sa
Lupa, Pabahay,
Hanapbuhay at
Kaunlaran
(AKO-BAHAY)
Cancelled registration
– Failure to show that
nominees actually belong to
the sector, or that they have
undertaken meaningful
activities for the sector.
17 204141 12-229
(PLM)
The True
Marcos Loyalist
(for God,
Country and
People)
Association of
the Philippines,
Inc. (BANTAY)
Cancelled registration
– Failure to show that
majority of its members are
marginalized and
underrepresented; and
– Failure to prove that two of
its nominees actually belong
to the marginalized and
underrepresented.
18 204408 12-217
(PLM)
Pilipino
Association for
Country – Urban
Poor Youth
Advancement
and Welfare
( PA C YAW )
Cancelled registration
– Change of sector (from
urban poor youth to urban
poor) necessitates a new
application;
– Failure to show track record
for the marginalized and
underrepresented;
– Failure to prove that
majority of its members and
officers are from the urban
poor sector; and
– The nominees are not
members of the urban poor
sector.
19 204153 12-277
(PLM)
Pasang Masda
Nationwide
Party (PASANG
MASDA)
Cancelled registration
– The party represents drivers
and operators, who may have
conflicting interests; and
– Nominees are either
operators or former operators.
20 203958 12-015
(PLM)
Kapatiran ng
mga Nakulong
na Walang Sala,
Inc. (KAKUSA)
Cancelled registration
– Failure to prove that
na Walang Sala,
Inc. (KAKUSA)
majority of its officers and
members belong to the
marginalized and
underrepresented;
– The incumbent
representative in Congress
failed to author or sponsor
bills that are beneficial to the
sector that the party
represents (persons
imprisoned without proof of
guilt beyond reasonable
doubt);
– Failure to show track record
for the marginalized and
underrepresented; and
– The nominees did not
appear to be marginalized and
underrepresented.
Resolution dated 30 October 201232
21 204428 12-256
(PLM)
Ang Galing
Pinoy (AG)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– Failure to attend the
summary hearing;
– Failure to show track record
for the marginalized and
underrepresented; and
– The nominees did not
appear to be marginalized and
underrepresented.
Resolution dated 7 November 201233
22 204094 12-185
(PLM)
Alliance for
Nationalism and
Democracy
(ANAD)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– Failure to represent an
identifiable marginalized and
underrepresented sector;
– Only three nominees were
submitted to the COMELEC;
– The nominees do not
belong to the marginalized
and underrepresented; and
– Failure to submit its
Statement of Contribution
and Expenditures for the
2007 Elections.
Omnibus Resolution dated 7 November 201234
23 204239 12-060
(PLM)
Green Force for
the Environment
Sons and
Daughters of
Mother Earth
(GREENFORCE)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– The party is an advocacy
group and does not represent
the marginalized and
underrepresented;
– Failure to comply with the
track record requirement; and
– The nominees are not
marginalized citizens.
24 204236 12-254
(PLM)
Firm 24-K
Association, Inc.
(FIRM 24-K)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– The nominees do not
belong to the sector that the
party seeks to represent
(urban poor and peasants of
the National Capital Region);
– Only two of its nominees
reside in the National Capital
Region; and
– Failure to comply with the
track record requirement.
25 204341 12-269
(PLM)
Action League
of Indigenous
Masses (ALIM)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– Failure to establish that its
nominees are members of the
indigenous people in the
Mindanao and Cordilleras
sector that the party seeks to
represent;
– Only two of the party’s
nominees reside in the
Mindanao and Cordilleras;
and
– Three of the nominees do
not appear to belong to the
marginalized.
Resolution dated 7 November 201235
26 204358 12-204
(PLM)
Alliance of
Advocates in
Mining
Advancement
for National
Progress
(AAMA)
Cancelled registration
– The sector it represents is a
specifically defined group
which may not be allowed
registration under the party-list system; and
– Failure to establish that the
nominees actually belong to
the sector.
Resolution dated 7 November 201236
27 204359 12-272
(PLM)
Social
Movement for
Active Reform
and
Transparency
(SMART)
Cancelled registration
– The nominees are
disqualified from
representing the sectors that
the party represents;
– Failure to comply with the
track record requirement; and
– There is doubt as to whether
majority of its members are
marginalized and
underrepresented.
Resolution dated 7 November 201237
28 204238 12-173
(PLM)
Alliance of
Bicolnon Party
(ABP)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– Defective registration and
accreditation dating back to
2010;
– Failure to represent any
sector; and
– Failure to establish that the
nominees are employed in the construction industry, the
sector it claims to represent.
Resolution dated 7 November 201238
29 204323 12-210
(PLM)
Bayani Party
List (BAYANI)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– Failure to prove a track
record of trying to uplift the
marginalized and
underrepresented sector of
professionals; and
– One nominee was declared
unqualified to represent the
sector of professionals.
Resolution dated 7 November 201239
30 204321 12-252
(PLM)
Ang Agrikultura
Natin Isulong
(AANI)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– Failure to establish a track
record of enhancing the lives
of the marginalized and
underrepresented farmers
which it claims to represent;
and
– More than a majority of the
party’s nominees do not
belong to the farmers sector.
Resolution dated 7 November 201240
31 204125 12-292
(PLM)
Agapay ng
Indigenous
Peoples Rights
Alliance, Inc.
(A-IPRA)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– Failure to prove that its five
nominees are members of the
indigenous people sector;
– Failure to prove that its five
nominees actively
participated in the
undertakings of the party; and
– Failure to prove that its five nominees are bona fide
members.
Resolution dated 7 November 201241
32 204216 12-202
(PLM)
Philippine
Coconut
Producers
Federation, Inc.
(COCOFED)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– The party is affiliated with
private and government
agencies and is not
marginalized;
– The party is assisted by the
government in various
projects; and
– The nominees are not
members of the marginalized
sector of coconut farmers and
producers.
Resolution dated 7 November 201242
33 204220 12-238
(PLM)
Abang Lingkod
Party-List
(ABANG
LINGKOD)
Cancelled registration
– Failure to establish a track
record of continuously
representing the peasant
farmers sector;
– Failure to show that its
members actually belong to
the peasant farmers sector;
and
– Failure to show that its
nominees are marginalized
and underrepresented, have
actively participated in
programs for the
advancement of farmers, and
adhere to its advocacies.
Resolution dated 14 November 201243
34 204158 12-158
(PLM)
Action
Brotherhood for Active
Dreamers, Inc.
(ABROAD)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation – Failure to show that the
party is actually able to
represent all of the sectors it
claims to represent;
– Failure to show a complete
track record of its activities
since its registration; and
– The nominees are not part
of any of the sectors which
the party seeks to represent.
Resolution dated 28 November 201244
35 204374 12-228
(PLM)
Binhi-Partido ng
mga Magsasaka
Para sa mga
Magsasaka
(BINHI)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– The party receives
assistance from the
government through the
Department of Agriculture;
and
– Failure to prove that the
group is marginalized and
underrepresented.
Resolution dated 28 November 201245
36 204356 12-136
(PLM)
Butil Farmers
Party (BUTIL)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– Failure to establish that the
agriculture and cooperative
sectors are marginalized and
underrepresented; and
– The party’s nominees
neither appear to belong to
the sectors they seek to
represent, nor to have
actively participated in the
undertakings of the party.
Resolution dated 3 December 201246
37 204486 12-194
(PLM)
1st
Kabalikat ng
Bayan
Ginhawang
Sangkatauhan
(1st
KABAGIS)
Cancelled registration and
accreditation
– Declaration of untruthful
statements;
– Failure to exist for at least
one year; and
– None of its nominees
belong to the labor,
fisherfolk, and urban poor
indigenous cultural
communities sectors which it
seeks to represent.
Resolution dated 4 December 201247
38 204410 12-198
(PLM)
1-United
Transport
Koalisyon (1-UTAK)
Cancelled accreditation
– The party represents drivers
and operators, who may have
conflicting interests; and
– The party’s nominees do not
belong to any marginalized
and underrepresented sector.
Resolution dated 4 December 201248
39 204421,
204425
12-157
(PLM),
12-191
(PLM)
Coalition of
Senior Citizens
in the
Philippines, Inc.
(SENIOR
CITIZENS)
Cancelled registration
– The party violated election
laws because its nominees
had a term-sharing
agreement.

These 39  Petitioners (AKB, Atong Paglaum, ARAL, ARC, UNIMAD, 1BRO-PGBI, 1GANAP/GUARDIANS, A BLESSED Party-List, 1-CARE, APEC, AT, ARARO, AGRI, AKMA-PTM, KAP, AKO-BAHAY, BANTAY, PACYAW, PASANG MASDA, KAKUSA, AG, ANAD, GREENFORCE, FIRM 24-K, ALIM, AAMA, SMART, ABP, BAYANI, AANI, A-IPRA, COCOFED, ABANG LINGKOD, ABROAD, BINHI, BUTIL, 1st KABAGIS, 1-UTAK, SENIOR CITIZENS) were able to secure a mandatory injunction from this Court, directing the COMELEC to include the names of these 39  Petitioners in the printing of the official ballot for the 13 May 2013 party-list elections.

Petitioners prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. This Court issued Status Quo Ante Orders in all petitions. This Decision governs only the 54 consolidated petitions that were granted Status Quo Ante Orders, namely:

G.R. No. SPP No. Group
Resolution dated 13 November 2012
203818-19 12-154
(PLM)
12-177
(PLM)
AKO Bicol Political Party (AKB)
203981 12-187
(PLM)
Association for Righteousness Advocacy on
Leadership (ARAL)
204002 12-188
(PLM)
Alliance for Rural Concerns (ARC)
203922 12-201
(PLM)
Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives
(APEC)
203960 12-260
(PLM)
1st
Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy, Inc.
(1-CARE)
203936 12-248
(PLM)
Aksyon Magsasaka-Partido Tinig ng Masa
(AKMA-PTM)
203958 12-015
(PLM)
Kapatiran ng mga Nakulong na Walang Sala,
Inc. (KAKUSA)
203976 12-288
(PLM)
Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction,
Inc. (ARARO)
Resolution dated 20 November 2012
204094 12-185
(PLM)
Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy
(ANAD)
204125 12-292
(PLM)
Agapay ng Indigenous Peoples Rights Alliance,
Inc. (A-IPRA)
204100 12-196
(PLM)
1-Bro Philippine Guardians Brotherhood, Inc.
(1BRO-PGBI)
Resolution dated 27 November 2012
204141 12-229
(PLM)
The True Marcos Loyalist (for God, Country
and People) Association of the Philippines, Inc.
(BANTAY)
204240 12-279
(PLM)
Agri-Agra na Reporma Para sa Magsasaka ng
Pilipinas Movement (AGRI)
204216 12-202
(PLM)
Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc.
(COCOFED)
204158 12-158
(PLM)
Action Brotherhood for Active Dreamer, Inc.
(ABROAD)
Resolutions dated 4 December 2012
204122 12-223
(PLM)
1 Guardians Nationalist Philippines, Inc.
(1GANAP/GUARDIANS)
203766 12-161
(PLM)
Atong Paglaum, Inc. (Atong Paglaum)
204318 12-220
(PLM)
United Movement Against Drugs Foundation
(UNIMAD)
204263 12-257
(PLM)
Blessed Federation of Farmers and Fishermen
International, Inc. (A BLESSED Party-List)
204174 12-232
(PLM)
Aangat Tayo Party-List Party (AT)
204126 12-263
(PLM)
Kaagapay ng Nagkakaisang Agilang Pilipinong
Magsasaka (KAP)
204364 12-180
(PLM)
Adhikain at Kilusan ng Ordinaryong Tao Para sa
Lupa, Pabahay, Hanapbuhay at Kaunlaran
(AKO-BAHAY)
204139 12-127 (PL) Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM)
204220 12-238
(PLM)
Abang Lingkod Party-List (ABANG
LINGKOD)
204236 12-254
(PLM)
Firm 24-K Association, Inc. (FIRM 24-K)
204238 12-173
(PLM)
Alliance of Bicolnon Party (ABP)
204239 12-060
(PLM)
Green Force for the Environment Sons and
Daughters of Mother Earth (GREENFORCE)
204321 12-252
(PLM)
Ang Agrikultura Natin Isulong (AANI)
204323 12-210
(PLM)
Bayani Party List (BAYANI)
204341 12-269
(PLM)
Action League of Indigenous Masses (ALIM)
204358 12-204
(PLM)
Alliance of Advocates in Mining Advancement
for National Progress (AAMA)
204359 12-272
(PLM)
Social Movement for Active Reform and
Transparency (SMART)
204356 12-136
(PLM)
Butil Farmers Party (BUTIL)
Resolution dated 11 December 2012
204402 12-061 (PL) Kalikasan Party-List (KALIKASAN)
204394 12-145 (PL) Association of Guard, Utility Helper, Aider,
Rider, Driver/Domestic Helper, Janitor, Agent
and Nanny of the Philippines, Inc.
(GUARDJAN)
204408 12-217
(PLM)
Pilipino Association for Country – Urban Poor
Youth Advancement and Welfare (PACYAW)
204428 12-256
(PLM)
Ang Galing Pinoy (AG)
204490 12-073
(PLM)
Pilipinas Para sa Pinoy (PPP)
204379 12-099
(PLM)
Alagad ng Sining (ASIN)
204367 12-104 (PL) Akbay Kalusugan (AKIN)
204426 12-011
(PLM)
Association of Local Athletics Entrepreneurs
and Hobbyists, Inc. (ALA-EH)
204455 12-041
(PLM)
Manila Teachers Savings and Loan Association,
Inc. (Manila Teachers)
204374 12-228
(PLM)
Binhi-Partido ng mga Magsasaka Para sa mga
Magsasaka (BINHI)
204370 12-011 (PP) Ako An Bisaya (AAB)
204435 12-057
(PLM)
1 Alliance Advocating Autonomy Party
(1AAAP)
204486 12-194
(PLM)
1st Kabalikat ng Bayan Ginhawang
Sangkatauhan (1st KABAGIS)
204410 12-198
(PLM)
1-United Transport Koalisyon (1-UTAK)
204421,
204425
12-157
(PLM)
12-191
(PLM)
Coalition of Senior Citizens in the Philippines,
Inc. (SENIOR CITIZENS)
204436 12-009 (PP),
12-165
(PLM)
Abyan Ilonggo Party (AI)
204485 12-175 (PL) Alliance of Organizations, Networks and
Associations of the Philippines, Inc. (ALONA)
204484 11-002 Partido ng Bayan ng Bida (PBB)
Resolution dated 11 December 2012
204153 12-277
(PLM)
Pasang Masda Nationwide Party (PASANG
MASDA)

The Issues

We rule upon two issues: first, whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in disqualifying  Petitioners from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections, either by denial of their new petitions for registration under the party-list system, or by cancellation of their existing registration and accreditation as party-list organizations; and second, whether the criteria for participating in the party-list system laid down in Ang Bagong Bayani and Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency v. Commission on Elections49 (BANAT) should be applied by the COMELEC in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections.

The Court’s Ruling

We hold that the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in following prevailing decisions of this Court in disqualifying  Petitioners from participating in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections. However, since the Court adopts in this Decision new parameters in the qualification of national, regional, and sectoral parties under the party-list system, thereby abandoning the rulings in the decisions applied by the COMELEC in disqualifying  Petitioners, we remand to the COMELEC all the present petitions for the COMELEC to determine who are qualified to register under the party-list system, and to participate in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections, under the new parameters prescribed in this Decision.

The Party-List System

The 1987 Constitution provides the basis for the party-list system of representation. Simply put, the party-list system is intended to democratize political power by giving political parties that cannot win in legislative district elections a chance to win seats in the House of Representatives.50 The voter elects two representatives in the House of Representatives: one for his or her legislative district, and another for his or her party-list group or organization of choice. The 1987 Constitution provides:

Section 5, Article VI

(1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.

(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.

Sections 7 and 8, Article IX-C

Sec. 7. No votes cast in favor of a political party, organization, or coalition shall be valid, except for those registered under the party-list system as provided in this Constitution.

Sec. 8. Political parties, or organizations or coalitions registered under the party-list system, shall not be represented in the voters’ registration boards, boards of election inspectors, boards of canvassers, or other similar bodies. However, they shall be entitled to appoint poll watchers in accordance with law.

Commissioner Christian S. Monsod, the main sponsor of the party-list system, stressed that “the party-list system is not synonymous with that of the sectoral representation.”51 The constitutional provisions on the party-list system should be read in light of the following discussion among its framers:

MR. MONSOD: x x x.

I would like to make a distinction from the beginning that the proposal for the party list system is not synonymous with that of the sectoral representation. Precisely, the party list system seeks to avoid the dilemma of choice of sectors and who constitute the members of the sectors. In making the proposal on the party list system, we were made aware of the problems precisely cited by Commissioner Bacani of which sectors will have reserved seats. In effect, a sectoral representation in the Assembly would mean that certain sectors would have reserved seats; that they will choose among themselves who would sit in those reserved seats. And then, we have the problem of which sector because as we will notice in Proclamation No. 9, the sectors cited were the farmers, fishermen, workers, students, professionals, business, military, academic, ethnic and other similar groups. So these are the nine sectors that were identified here as “sectoral representatives” to be represented in this Commission. The problem we had in trying to approach sectoral representation in the Assembly was whether to stop at these nine sectors or include other sectors. And we went through the exercise in a caucus of which sector should be included which went up to 14 sectors. And as we all know, the longer we make our enumeration, the more limiting the law become because when we make an enumeration we exclude those who are not in the enumeration. Second, we had the problem of who comprise the farmers. Let us just say the farmers and the laborers. These days, there are many citizens who are called “hyphenated citizens.” A doctor may be a farmer; a lawyer may also be a farmer. And so, it is up to the discretion of the person to say “I am a farmer” so he would be included in that sector.

The third problem is that when we go into a reserved seat system of sectoral representation in the Assembly, we are, in effect, giving some people two votes and other people one vote. We sought to avoid these problems by presenting a party list system. Under the party list system, there are no reserved seats for sectors. Let us say, laborers and farmers can form a sectoral party or a sectoral organization that will then register and present candidates of their party. How do the mechanics go? Essentially, under the party list system, every voter has two votes, so there is no discrimination. First, he will vote for the representative of his legislative district. That is one vote. In that same ballot, he will be asked: What party or organization or coalition do you wish to be represented in the Assembly? And here will be attached a list of the parties, organizations or coalitions that have been registered with the COMELEC and are entitled to be put in that list. This can be a regional party, a sectoral party, a national party, UNIDO, Magsasaka or a regional party in Mindanao. One need not be a farmer to say that he wants the farmers’ party to be represented in the Assembly. Any citizen can vote for any party. At the end of the day, the COMELEC will then tabulate the votes that had been garnered by each party or each organization — one does not have to be a political party and register in order to participate as a party — and count the votes and from there derive the percentage of the votes that had been cast in favor of a party, organization or coalition.

When such parties register with the COMELEC, we are assuming that 50 of the 250 seats will be for the party list system. So, we have a limit of 30 percent of 50. That means that the maximum that any party can get out of these 50 seats is 15. When the parties register they then submit a list of 15 names. They have to submit these names because these nominees have to meet the minimum qualifications of a Member of the National Assembly. At the end of the day, when the votes are tabulated, one gets the percentages. Let us say, UNIDO gets 10 percent or 15 percent of the votes; KMU gets 5 percent; a women’s party gets 2 1/2 percent and anybody who has at least 2 1/2 percent of the vote qualifies and the 50 seats are apportioned among all of these parties who get at least 2 1/2 percent of the vote.

What does that mean? It means that any group or party who has a constituency of, say, 500,000 nationwide gets a seat in the National Assembly. What is the justification for that? When we allocate legislative districts, we are saying that any district that has 200,000 votes gets a seat. There is no reason why a group that has a national constituency, even if it is a sectoral or special interest group, should not have a voice in the National Assembly. It also means that, let us say, there are three or four labor groups, they all register as a party or as a group. If each of them gets only one percent or five of them get one percent, they are not entitled to any representative. So, they will begin to think that if they really have a common interest, they should band together, form a coalition and get five percent of the vote and, therefore, have two seats in the Assembly. Those are the dynamics of a party list system.

We feel that this approach gets around the mechanics of sectoral representation while at the same time making sure that those who really have a national constituency or sectoral constituency will get a chance to have a seat in the National Assembly. These sectors or these groups may not have the constituency to win a seat on a legislative district basis. They may not be able to win a seat on a district basis but surely, they will have votes on a nationwide basis.

The purpose of this is to open the system. In the past elections, we found out that there were certain groups or parties that, if we count their votes nationwide; have about 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 votes. But they were always third place or fourth place in each of the districts. So, they have no voice in the Assembly. But this way, they would have five or six representatives in the Assembly even if they would not win individually in legislative districts. So, that is essentially the mechanics, the purpose and objectives of the party list system.

BISHOP BACANI: Madam President, am I right in interpreting that when we speak now of party list system though we refer to sectors, we would be referring to sectoral party list rather than sectors and party list?

MR. MONSOD: As a matter of fact, if this body accepts the party list system, we do not even have to mention sectors because the sectors would be included in the party list system. They can be sectoral parties within the party list system.

x x x x

MR. MONSOD. Madam President, I just want to say that we suggested or proposed the party list system because we wanted to open up the political system to a pluralistic society through a multiparty system. x x x We are for opening up the system, and we would like very much for the sectors to be there. That is why one of the ways to do that is to put a ceiling on the number of representatives from any single party that can sit within the 50 allocated under the party list system. x x x.

x x x

MR. MONSOD. Madam President, the candidacy for the 198 seats is not limited to political parties. My question is this: Are we going to classify for example Christian Democrats and Social Democrats as political parties? Can they run under the party list concept or must they be under the district legislation side of it only?

MR. VILLACORTA. In reply to that query, I think these parties that the Commissioner mentioned can field candidates for the Senate as well as for the House of Representatives. Likewise, they can also field sectoral candidates for the 20 percent or 30 percent, whichever is adopted, of the seats that we are allocating under the party list system.

MR. MONSOD. In other words, the Christian Democrats can field district candidates and can also participate in the party list system?

MR. VILLACORTA. Why not? When they come to the party list system, they will be fielding only sectoral candidates.

MR. MONSOD. May I be clarified on that? Can UNIDO participate in the party list system?

MR. VILLACORTA. Yes, why not? For as long as they field candidates who come from the different marginalized sectors that we shall designate in this Constitution.

MR. MONSOD. Suppose Senator Tañada wants to run under BAYAN group and says that he represents the farmers, would he qualify?

MR. VILLACORTA. No, Senator Tañada would not qualify.

MR. MONSOD. But UNIDO can field candidates under the party list system and say Juan dela Cruz is a farmer. Who would pass on whether he is a farmer or not?

MR. TADEO. Kay Commissioner Monsod, gusto ko lamang linawin ito. Political parties, particularly minority political parties, are not prohibited to participate in the party list election if they can prove that they are also organized along sectoral lines.

MR. MONSOD. What the Commissioner is saying is that all political parties can participate because it is precisely the contention of political parties that they represent the broad base of citizens and that all sectors are represented in them. Would the Commissioner agree?

MR. TADEO. Ang punto lamang namin, pag pinayagan mo ang UNIDO na isang political party, it will dominate the party list at mawawalang saysay din yung sector. Lalamunin mismo ng political parties ang party list system. Gusto ko lamang bigyan ng diin ang “reserve.” Hindi ito reserve seat sa marginalized sectors. Kung titingnan natin itong 198 seats, reserved din ito sa political parties.

MR. MONSOD. Hindi po reserved iyon kasi anybody can run there. But my question to Commissioner Villacorta and probably also to Commissioner Tadeo is that under this system, would UNIDO be banned from running under the party list system?

MR. VILLACORTA. No, as I said, UNIDO may field sectoral candidates. On that condition alone, UNIDO may be allowed to register for the party list system.

MR. MONSOD. May I inquire from Commissioner Tadeo if he shares that answer?

MR. TADEO. The same.

MR. VILLACORTA. Puwede po ang UNIDO, pero sa sectoral lines.

MR. MONSOD: Sino po ang magsasabi kung iyong kandidato ng UNIDO ay hindi talagang labor leader or isang laborer? Halimbawa, abogado ito.

MR. TADEO: Iyong mechanics.

MR. MONSOD: Hindi po mechanics iyon because we are trying to solve an inherent problem of sectoral representation. My question is: Suppose UNIDO fields a labor leader, would he qualify?

MR. TADEO: The COMELEC may look into the truth of whether or not a political party is really organized along a specific sectoral line. If such is verified or confirmed, the political party may submit a list of individuals who are actually members of such sectors. The lists are to be published to give individuals or organizations belonging to such sector the chance to present evidence contradicting claims of membership in the said sector or to question the claims of the existence of such sectoral organizations or parties. This proceeding shall be conducted by the COMELEC and shall be summary in character. In other words, COMELEC decisions on this matter are final and unappealable.52 (Emphasis supplied)

Indisputably, the framers of the 1987 Constitution intended the party-list system to include not only sectoral parties but also non-sectoral parties. The framers intended the sectoral parties to constitute a part, but not the entirety, of the party-list system. As explained by Commissioner Wilfredo Villacorta, political parties can participate in the party-list system “For as long as they field candidates who come from the different marginalized sectors that we shall designate in this Constitution.”53

In fact, the framers voted down, 19-22, a proposal to reserve permanent seats to sectoral parties in the House of Representatives, or alternatively, to reserve the party-list system exclusively to sectoral parties. As clearly explained by Justice Jose C. Vitug in his Dissenting Opinion in Ang Bagong Bayani:

The draft provisions on what was to become Article VI, Section 5, subsection (2), of the 1987 Constitution took off from two staunch positions — the first headed by Commissioner Villacorta, advocating that of the 20 per centum of the total seats in Congress to be allocated to party-list representatives half were to be reserved to appointees from the marginalized and underrepresented sectors. The proposal was opposed by some Commissioners. Mr. Monsod expressed the difficulty in delimiting the sectors that needed representation. He was of the view that reserving seats for the marginalized and underrepresented sectors would stunt their development into full-pledged parties equipped with electoral machinery potent enough to further the sectoral interests to be represented. The Villacorta group, on the other hand, was apprehensive that pitting the unorganized and less-moneyed sectoral groups in an electoral contest would be like placing babes in the lion’s den, so to speak, with the bigger and more established political parties ultimately gobbling them up. R.A. 7941 recognized this concern when it banned the first five major political parties on the basis of party representation in the House of Representatives from participating in the party-list system for the first party-list elections held in 1998 (and to be automatically lifted starting with the 2001 elections). The advocates for permanent seats for sectoral representatives made an effort towards a compromise — that the party-list system be open only to underrepresented and marginalized sectors. This proposal was further whittled down by allocating only half of the seats under the party-list system to candidates from the sectors which would garner the required number of votes. The majority was unyielding. Voting 19-22, the proposal for permanent seats, and in the alternative the reservation of the party-list system to the sectoral groups, was voted down. The only concession the Villacorta group was able to muster was an assurance of reserved seats for selected sectors for three consecutive terms after the enactment of the 1987 Constitution, by which time they would be expected to gather and solidify their electoral base and brace themselves in the multi-party electoral contest with the more veteran political groups.54 (Emphasis supplied)

Thus, in the end, the proposal to give permanent reserved seats to certain sectors was outvoted. Instead, the reservation of seats to sectoral representatives was only allowed for the first three consecutive terms.55 There can be no doubt whatsoever that the framers of the 1987 Constitution expressly rejected the proposal to make the party-list system exclusively for sectoral parties only, and that they clearly intended the party-list system to include both sectoral and non-sectoral parties.

The common denominator between sectoral and non-sectoral parties is that they cannot expect to win in legislative district elections but they can garner, in nationwide elections, at least the same number of votes that winning candidates can garner in legislative district elections. The party-list system will be the entry point to membership in the House of Representatives for both these non-traditional parties that could not compete in legislative district elections.

The indisputable intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution to include in the party-list system both sectoral and non-sectoral parties is clearly written in Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution, which states:

Section 5. (1) The House of Representative shall be composed of not more that two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations. (Emphasis supplied)

Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution is crystal-clear that there shall be “a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.” The commas after the words “national,” and “regional,” separate national and regional parties from sectoral parties. Had the framers of the 1987 Constitution intended national and regional parties to be at the same time sectoral, they would have stated “national and regional sectoral parties.” They did not, precisely because it was never their intention to make the party-list system exclusively sectoral.

What the framers intended, and what they expressly wrote in Section 5(1), could not be any clearer: the party-list system is composed of three different groups, and the sectoral parties belong to only one of the three groups. The text of Section 5(1) leaves no room for any doubt that national and regional parties are separate from sectoral parties.

Thus, the party-list system is composed of three different groups: (1) national parties or organizations; (2) regional parties or organizations; and (3) sectoral parties or organizations. National and regional parties or organizations are different from sectoral parties or organizations. National and regional parties or organizations need not be organized along sectoral lines and need not represent any particular sector.

Moreover, Section 5(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution mandates that, during the first three consecutive terms of Congress after the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, “one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.” This provision clearly shows again that the party-list system is not exclusively for sectoral parties for two obvious reasons.

First, the other one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives would naturally be open to non-sectoral party-list representatives, clearly negating the idea that the party-list system is exclusively for sectoral parties representing the “marginalized and underrepresented.” Second, the reservation of one-half of the party-list seats to sectoral parties applies only for the first “three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution,” clearly making the party-list system fully open after the end of the first three congressional terms. This means that, after this period, there will be no seats reserved for any class or type of party that qualifies under the three groups constituting the party-list system.

Hence, the clear intent, express wording, and party-list structure ordained in Section 5(1) and (2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution cannot be disputed: the party-list system is not for sectoral parties only, but also for non-sectoral parties.

Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-List System Act, which is the law that implements the party-list system prescribed in the Constitution, provides:

Section 3. Definition of Terms. (a) The party-list system is a mechanism of proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives from national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof registered with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). Component parties or organizations of a coalition may participate independently provided the coalition of which they form part does not participate in the party-list system.

(b) A party means either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of parties.

(c) A political party refers to an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or platform, principles and policies for the general conduct of government and which, as the most immediate means of securing their adoption, regularly nominates and supports certain of its leaders and members as candidates for public office.

It is a national party when its constituency is spread over the geographical territory of at least a majority of the regions. It is a regional party when its constituency is spread over the geographical territory of at least a majority of the cities and provinces comprising the region.

(d) A sectoral party refers to an organized group of citizens belonging to any of the sectors enumerated in Section 5 hereof whose principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and concerns of their sector.

(e) A sectoral organization refers to a group of citizens or a coalition of groups of citizens who share similar physical attributes or characteristics, employment, interests or concerns.

(f) A coalition refers to an aggrupation of duly registered national, regional, sectoral parties or organizations for political and/or election purposes. (Emphasis supplied)

Section 3(a) of R.A. No. 7941 defines a “party” as “either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of parties.” Clearly, a political party is different from a sectoral party. Section 3(c) of R.A. No. 7941 further provides that a “political party refers to an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or platform, principles and policies for the general conduct of government.” On the other hand, Section 3(d) of R.A. No. 7941 provides that a “sectoral party refers to an organized group of citizens belonging to any of the sectors enumerated in Section 5 hereof whose principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and concerns of their sector.” R.A. No. 7941 provides different definitions for a political and a sectoral party. Obviously, they are separate and distinct from each other.

R.A. No. 7941 does not require national and regional parties or organizations to represent the “marginalized and underrepresented” sectors. To require all national and regional parties under the party-list system to represent the “marginalized and underrepresented” is to deprive and exclude, by judicial fiat, ideology-based and cause-oriented parties from the party-list system. How will these ideology-based and cause-oriented parties, who cannot win in legislative district elections, participate in the electoral process if they are excluded from the party-list system? To exclude them from the party-list system is to prevent them from joining the parliamentary struggle, leaving as their only option the armed struggle. To exclude them from the party-list system is, apart from being obviously senseless, patently contrary to the clear intent and express wording of the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941.

Under the party-list system, an ideology-based or cause-oriented political party is clearly different from a sectoral party. A political party need not be organized as a sectoral party and need not represent any particular sector. There is no requirement in R.A. No. 7941 that a national or regional political party must represent a “marginalized and underrepresented” sector. It is sufficient that the political party consists of citizens who advocate the same ideology or platform, or the same governance principles and policies, regardless of their economic status as citizens.

Section 5 of R.A. No. 7941 states that “the sectors shall include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals.”56The sectors mentioned in Section 5 are not all necessarily “marginalized and underrepresented.” For sure, “professionals” are not by definition “marginalized and underrepresented,” not even the elderly, women, and the youth. However, professionals, the elderly, women, and the youth may “lack well-defined political constituencies,” and can thus organize themselves into sectoral parties in advocacy of the special interests and concerns of their respective sectors.

Section 6 of R.A. No. 7941 provides another compelling reason for holding that the law does not require national or regional parties, as well as certain sectoral parties in Section 5 of R.A. No. 7941, to represent the “marginalized and underrepresented.” Section 6 provides the grounds for the COMELEC to refuse or cancel the registration of parties or organizations after due notice and hearing.

Section 6. Refusal and/or Cancellation of Registration. — The COMELEC may, motu proprio or upon verified complaint of any interested party, refuse or cancel, after due notice and hearing, the registration of any national, regional or sectoral party, organization or coalition on any of the following grounds:

(1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association organized for religious purposes;

(2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;

(3) It is a foreign party or organization;

(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation, organization, whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan election purposes;

(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections;

(6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition;

(7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or

(8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails to obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the constituency in which it has registered.

None of the 8 grounds to refuse or cancel registration refers to non-representation of the “marginalized and underrepresented.”

The phrase “marginalized and underrepresented” appears only once in R.A. No. 7941, in Section 2 on Declaration of Policy.57 Section 2 seeks “to promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through the party-list system,” which will enable Filipinos belonging to the “marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies,” to become members of the House of Representatives. While the policy declaration in Section 2 of R.A. No. 7941 broadly refers to “marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties,” the specific implementing provisions of R.A. No. 7941 do not define or require that the sectors, organizations or parties must be “marginalized and underrepresented.” On the contrary, to even interpret that all the sectors mentioned in Section 5 are “marginalized and underrepresented” would lead to absurdities.

How then should we harmonize the broad policy declaration in Section 2 of R.A. No. 7941 with its specific implementing provisions, bearing in mind the applicable provisions of the 1987 Constitution on the matter?

The phrase “marginalized and underrepresented” should refer only to the sectors in Section 5 that are, by their nature, economically “marginalized and underrepresented.” These sectors are: labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, overseas workers, and other similar sectors. For these sectors, a majority of the members of the sectoral party must belong to the “marginalized and underrepresented.” The nominees of the sectoral party either must belong to the sector, or must have a track record of advocacy for the sector represented. Belonging to the “marginalized and underrepresented” sector does not mean one must “wallow in poverty, destitution or infirmity.” It is sufficient that one, or his or her sector, is below the middle class. More specifically, the economically “marginalized and underrepresented” are those who fall in the low income group as classified by the National Statistical Coordination Board.58

The recognition that national and regional parties, as well as sectoral parties of professionals, the elderly, women and the youth, need not be “marginalized and underrepresented” will allow small ideology-based and cause-oriented parties who lack “well-defined political constituencies” a chance to win seats in the House of Representatives. On the other hand, limiting to the “marginalized and underrepresented” the sectoral parties for labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, overseas workers, and other sectors that by their nature are economically at the margins of society, will give the “marginalized and underrepresented” an opportunity to likewise win seats in the House of Representatives.

This interpretation will harmonize the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 and will give rise to a multi-party system where those “marginalized and underrepresented,” both in economic and ideological status, will have the opportunity to send their own members to the House of Representatives. This interpretation will also make the party-list system honest and transparent, eliminating the need for relatively well-off party-list representatives to masquerade as “wallowing in poverty, destitution and infirmity,” even as they attend sessions in Congress riding in SUVs.

The major political parties are those that field candidates in the legislative district elections. Major political parties cannot participate in the party-list elections since they neither lack “well-defined political constituencies” nor represent “marginalized and underrepresented” sectors. Thus, the national or regional parties under the party-list system are necessarily those that do not belong to major political parties. This automatically reserves the national and regional parties under the party-list system to those who “lack well-defined political constituencies,” giving them the opportunity to have members in the House of Representatives.

To recall, Ang Bagong Bayani expressly declared, in its second guideline for the accreditation of parties under the party-list system, that “while even major political parties are expressly allowed by RA 7941 and the Constitution to participate in the party-list system, they must comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling ‘Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors xxx to be elected to the House of Representatives.’ “However, the requirement in Ang Bagong Bayani, in its second guideline, that “the political party xxx must represent the marginalized and underrepresented,” automatically disqualified major political parties from participating in the party-list system. This inherent inconsistency in Ang Bagong Bayani has been compounded by the COMELEC’s refusal to register sectoral wings officially organized by major political parties. BANAT merely formalized the prevailing practice when it expressly prohibited major political parties from participating in the party-list system, even through their sectoral wings.

Section 11 of R.A. No. 7941 expressly prohibited the “first five (5) major political parties on the basis of party representation in the House of Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress” from participating in the May 1988 party-list elections.59 Thus, major political parties can participate in subsequent party-list elections since the prohibition is expressly limited only to the 1988 party-list elections. However, major political parties should participate in party-list elections only through their sectoral wings. The participation of major political parties through their sectoral wings, a majority of whose members are “marginalized and underrepresented” or lacking in “well-defined political constituencies,” will facilitate the entry of the “marginalized and underrepresented” and those who “lack well-defined political constituencies” as members of the House of Representatives.

The 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 allow major political parties to participate in party-list elections so as to encourage them to work assiduously in extending their constituencies to the “marginalized and underrepresented” and to those who “lack well-defined political constituencies.” The participation of major political parties in party-list elections must be geared towards the entry, as members of the House of Representatives, of the “marginalized and underrepresented” and those who “lack well-defined political constituencies,” giving them a voice in law-making. Thus, to participate in party-list elections, a major political party that fields candidates in the legislative district elections must organize a sectoral wing, like a labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, professional, women or youth wing, that can register under the party-list system.

Such sectoral wing of a major political party must have its own constitution, by-laws, platform or program of government, officers and members, a majority of whom must belong to the sector represented. The sectoral wing is in itself an independent sectoral party, and is linked to a major political party through a coalition. This linkage is allowed by Section 3 of R.A. No. 7941, which provides that “component parties or organizations of a coalition may participate independently (in party-list elections) provided the coalition of which they form part does not participate in the party-list system.”

Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941 prescribes the qualifications of party-list nominees. This provision prescribes a special qualification only for the nominee from the youth sector.

Section 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. No person shall be nominated as party-list representative unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election, able to read and write, a bona fide member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election.

In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to continue in office until the expiration of his term.

A party-list nominee must be a bona fide member of the party or organization which he or she seeks to represent. In the case of sectoral parties, to be a bona fide party-list nominee one must either belong to the sector represented, or have a track record of advocacy for such sector.

In disqualifying  Petitioners, the COMELEC used the criteria prescribed in Ang Bagong Bayani and BANAT. Ang Bagong Bayani laid down the guidelines for qualifying those who desire to participate in the party-list system:

First, the political party, sector, organization or coalition must represent the marginalized and underrepresented groups identified in Section 5 of RA 7941. x x x

Second, while even major political parties are expressly allowed by RA 7941 and the Constitution to participate in the party-list system, they must comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling “Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors x x x to be elected to the House of Representatives.” x x x.

x x x x

Third, x x x the religious sector may not be represented in the party-list system. x x x.

x x x x

Fourth, a party or an organization must not be disqualified under Section 6 of RA 7941, which enumerates the grounds for disqualification as follows:

“(1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association, organized for religious purposes;

(2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;

(3) It is a foreign party or organization;

(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation, organization, whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan election purposes;

(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections;

(6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition;

(7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or

(8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails to obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the constituency in which it has registered.”

Fifth, the party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the government. x x x.

x x x x

Sixth, the party must not only comply with the requirements of the law; its nominees must likewise do so. Section 9 of RA 7941 reads as follows:

“SEC 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. – No person shall be nominated as party-list representative unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than one (1)year immediately preceding the day of the election, able to read and write, a bona fide member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election.

In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to continue in office until the expiration of his term.”

Seventh, not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors; so also must its nominees. x x x.

Eighth, x x x the nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole. (Emphasis supplied)

In 2009, by a vote of 8-7 in BANAT, this Court stretched the Ang Bagong Bayani ruling further. In BANAT, the majority officially excluded major political parties from participating in party-list elections,60 abandoning even the lip-service that Ang Bagong Bayani accorded to the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 that major political parties can participate in party-list elections.

The minority in BANAT, however, believed that major political parties can participate in the party-list system through their sectoral wings. The minority expressed that “[e]xcluding the major political parties in party-list elections is manifestly against the Constitution, the intent of the Constitutional Commission, and R.A. No. 7941. This Court cannot engage in socio-political engineering and judicially legislate the exclusion of major political parties from the party-list elections in patent violation of the Constitution and the law.”61 The experimentations in socio-political engineering have only resulted in confusion and absurdity in the party-list system. Such experimentations, in clear contravention of the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941, must now come to an end.

We cannot, however, fault the COMELEC for following prevailing jurisprudence in disqualifying  Petitioners. In following prevailing jurisprudence, the COMELEC could not have committed grave abuse of discretion. However, for the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections, we must now impose and mandate the party-list system actually envisioned and authorized under the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941. In BANAT, this Court devised a new formula in the allocation of party-list seats, reversing the COMELEC’s allocation which followed the then prevailing formula in Ang Bagong Bayani. In BANAT, however, the Court did not declare that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion. Similarly, even as we acknowledge here that the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion, we declare that it would not be in accord with the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 to apply the criteria in Ang Bagong Bayani and BANAT in determining who are qualified to participate in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections. For this purpose, we suspend our rule62 that a party may appeal to this Court from decisions or orders of the COMELEC only if the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion.

Thus, we remand all the present petitions to the COMELEC. In determining who may participate in the coming 13 May 2013 and subsequent party-list elections, the COMELEC shall adhere to the following parameters:

1. Three different groups may participate in the party-list system: (1) national parties or organizations, (2) regional parties or organizations, and (3) sectoral parties or organizations.

2. National parties or organizations and regional parties or organizations do not need to organize along sectoral lines and do not need to represent any “marginalized and underrepresented” sector.

3. Political parties can participate in party-list elections provided they register under the party-list system and do not field candidates in legislative district elections. A political party, whether major or not, that fields candidates in legislative district elections can participate in party-list elections only through its sectoral wing that can separately register under the party-list system. The sectoral wing is by itself an independent sectoral party, and is linked to a political party through a coalition.

4. Sectoral parties or organizations may either be “marginalized and underrepresented” or lacking in “well-defined political constituencies.” It is enough that their principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and concerns of their sector. The sectors that are “marginalized and underrepresented” include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, and overseas workers. The sectors that lack “well-defined political constituencies” include professionals, the elderly, women, and the youth.

5. A majority of the members of sectoral parties or organizations that represent the “marginalized and underrepresented” must belong to the “marginalized and underrepresented” sector they represent. Similarly, a majority of the members of sectoral parties or organizations that lack “well-defined political constituencies” must belong to the sector they represent. The nominees of sectoral parties or organizations that represent the “marginalized and underrepresented,” or that represent those who lack “well-defined political constituencies,” either must belong to their respective sectors, or must have a track record of advocacy for their respective sectors. The nominees of national and regional parties or organizations must be bona-fide members of such parties or organizations.

6. National, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations shall not be disqualified if some of their nominees are disqualified, provided that they have at least one nominee who remains qualified.

The COMELEC excluded from participating in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections those that did not satisfy these two criteria: (1) all national, regional, and sectoral groups or organizations must represent the “marginalized and underrepresented” sectors, and (2) all nominees must belong to the “marginalized and underrepresented” sector they represent.  Petitioners may have been disqualified by the COMELEC because as political or regional parties they are not organized along sectoral lines and do not represent the “marginalized and underrepresented.” Also,  Petitioners’ nominees who do not belong to the sectors they represent may have been disqualified, although they may have a track record of advocacy for their sectors. Likewise, nominees of non-sectoral parties may have been disqualified because they do not belong to any sector. Moreover, a party may have been disqualified because one or more of its nominees failed to qualify, even if the party has at least one remaining qualified nominee. As discussed above, the disqualification of  Petitioners, and their nominees, under such circumstances is contrary to the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941.

This Court is sworn to uphold the 1987 Constitution, apply its provisions faithfully, and desist from engaging in socio-economic or political experimentations contrary to what the Constitution has ordained. Judicial power does not include the power to re-write the Constitution. Thus, the present petitions should be remanded to the COMELEC not because the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying  Petitioners, but because  Petitioners may now possibly qualify to participate in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections under the new parameters prescribed by this Court.

WHEREFORE, all the present 54 petitions are GRANTED. The 13 petitions, which have been granted Status Quo Ante Orders but without mandatory injunction to include the names of  Petitioners in the printing of ballots, are remanded to the Commission on Elections only for determination whether  Petitioners are qualified to register under the party-list system under the parameters prescribed in this Decision but they shall not participate in the 13 May 2013 part-list elections. The 41 petitions, which have been granted mandatory injunctions to include the names of  Petitioners in the printing of ballots, are remanded to the Commission on Elections for determination whether  Petitioners are qualified to register under the party-list system and to participate in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections under the parameters prescribed in this Decision. The Commission on Elections may conduct summary evidentiary hearings for this purpose. This Decision is immediately executory.

SO ORDERED.

Sereno, Velasco, Jr., Leonardo-De Castro, Brion, Peralta, Bersamin, Del Castillo, Abad, Villarama, Jr., Portugal Perez, Mendoza, Reyes, Perlas-Bernabe (on leave),  Leonen, JJ., concur.

 

READ CASE DIGEST HERE.

Footnotes

1 Under Rule 64 in relation to Rules 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.

2 Rollo (G.R. Nos. 203818-19), pp. 1079-1080.

3 Rollo (G.R. No. 204094), pp. 176-177.

4 Rollo (G.R. No. 204141), pp. 145-148.

5 Rollo (G.R. No. 203766), unpaginated.

6 Id.

7 Id.

8 Rollo (G.R. No. 204379), pp. 26-35. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with Commissioners Lucenito N. Tagle and Elias R. Yusoph dissenting.

9 Rollo (G.R. No. 204455), pp. 38-55; rollo (G.R. No. 204426), pp. 127-144. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with Commissioners Lucenito N. Tagle and Elias R. Yusoph dissenting; Commissioner Armando C. Velasco also concurred except for Ala-Eh.

10 Rollo (G.R. No. 204435), pp. 47-55. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with Commissioners Lucenito N. Tagle and Elias R. Yusoph dissenting.

11 Rollo (G.R. No. 204367), pp. 30-35. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with Commissioners Lucenito N. Tagle and Elias R. Yusoph dissenting.

12 Rollo (G.R. No. 204370), pp. 37-50. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with Commissioners Lucenito N. Tagle and Elias R. Yusoph dissenting.

13 Rollo (G.R. No. 204436), pp. 45-57. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with Commissioners Lucenito N. Tagle and Elias R. Yusoph dissenting.

14 Rollo (G.R. No. 204485), pp. 42-49. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, and Christian Robert S. Lim with Commissioners Lucenito N. Tagle and Elias R. Yusoph dissenting. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

15 Rollo (G.R. No. 204139), pp. 505-512. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, and Armando C. Velasco. Commissioners Elias R. Yusoph and Christian Robert S. Lim also voted in favor. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

16 Rollo (G.R. No. 204402), pp. 22-33. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioners Armando C. Velasco and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca on official business.

17 Rollo (G.R. No. 204394), pp. 59-62. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

18 Rollo, (G.R. No. 204490), pp. 71-78. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioners Lucenito N. Tagle and Rene V. Sarmiento concurred but took no part in Ang Ating Damayan. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

19 Rollo, (G.R. No. 204484), pp. 42-45. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca.

20 PBB’s petition is docketed as G.R. No. 204484 before this Court, and as SPP No. 11-002 before the COMELEC.

21 In the Matter of Clarifying the Inclusion in the Party-List Raffle of New Groups Denied Accreditation but were Able to Obtain a Status Quo Ante Order from the Supreme Court.

22 (2) To set for summary evidentiary hearings by the Commission En Banc, for purposes of determining their continuing compliance with the requirements of R.A. No. 7941 and the guidelines in the Ang Bagong Bayani case, and, if non-compliant, cancel the registration of the following:

(a) Party-list groups or organizations which are already registered and accredited and will participate in the May 13, 2013 Elections, provided that the Commission En Banc has not passed upon the grant of their respective Petitions for Registration; and

(b) Party-list groups or organizations which are existing and retained in the list of Registered Party-List Parties per Resolution No. 9412, promulgated on 27 April 2012, and which have filed their respective Manifestations of Intent to Participate in the Party-List System of Representation in the May 13, 2013 Elections. (Boldface and italics in the original)

23 412 Phil. 308 (2001).

24 Rollo (G.R. Nos. 203818-19), pp. 83-87. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

25 Rollo (G.R. No. 203766), pp. 75-99; rollo (G.R. No. 203981), pp. 47-70; rollo (G.R. No. 204002), pp. 53-76; (G.R. No. 204318), pp. 23-46. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento also voted in favor. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

26 Rollo, (G.R. No. 204100), pp. 52-67; rollo (G.R. No. 204122), pp. 36-51; rollo (G.R. No. 204263), pp. 28-43. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco. Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

27 Rollo (G.R. No. 203960), pp. 61-68. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, and Elias R. Yusoph. Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim also concurred but did not sign. Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

28 Rollo (G.R. No. 203922), pp. 92-101. Signed by Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. penned a Separate Concurring Opinion. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

29 Rollo (G.R. No. 204174), pp. 158-164. Signed by Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, and Elias R. Yusoph. Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim also concurred but did not sign. Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. penned an extended opinion.

Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

30 Rollo (G.R. No. 203976), pp. 21-37. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioner Elias R. Yusoph also voted in favor. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

31 Rollo (G.R. No. 204240), pp. 47-69; rollo (G.R. No. 203936), pp. 128-150; rollo (G.R. No. 204126), pp. 51-73; rollo (G.R. No. 204364), pp. 34-56; rollo (G.R. No. 204141), pp. 31-53; rollo (G.R. No. 204408), pp. 46-68; rollo (G.R. No. 204153), pp. 24-46; rollo (G.R. No. 203958), pp. 26-48. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle. Armando C. Velasco. Commissioner Elias R. Yusoph also voted in favor. Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim also concurred but inhibited in KAKUSA. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

32 Rollo (G.R. No. 204428), pp. 35-40. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, and Armando C. Velasco. Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim also concurred but did not sign. Commissioner Elias R. Yusoph also voted in favor but was on official business at the time of signing. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

33 Rollo (G.R. No. 204094), pp. 30-40. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioners Armando C. Velasco and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca were on official business.

34 Rollo, (G.R. No. 204239), pp. 25-42; rollo (G.R. No. 204236), pp. 57-74; rollo (G.R. No. 204341), pp. 29-46. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioner Armando C. Velasco was on official business. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

35 Rollo (G.R. No. 204358), pp. 140-148. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusoph, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca. Commissioner Armando C. Velasco was on official business.

36 Rollo (G.R. No. 204359), pp. 42-50. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, and Elias R. Yusoph. Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim also concurred but was on official business at the time of signing. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

37 Rollo (G.R. No. 204238), pp. 54-58. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioners Armando C. Velasco and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca were on official business.

38 Rollo (G.R. No. 204323), pp. 44-48. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusoph, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca. Commissioner Armando C. Velasco was on official business.

39 Rollo (G.R. No. 204321), pp. 43-51. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusoph, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca. Commissioner Armando C. Velasco was on official business.

40 Rollo (G.R. No. 204125), pp. 44-48. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioner Armando C. Velasco was on official business. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

41 Rollo (G.R. No. 204216), pp. 23-28. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusoph, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca. Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim penned a separate Concurring Opinion. Commissioner Armando C. Velasco was on official business.

42 Rollo (G.R. No. 204220), pp. 39-44. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioners Armando C. Velasco and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca were on official business.

43 Rollo (G.R. No. 204158), pp. 59-64. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

44 Rollo (G.R. No. 204374), pp. 36-41. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

45 Rollo (G.R. No. 204356), pp. 56-64. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

46 Rollo (G.R. No. 204486), pp. 42-47. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioners Lucenito N. Tagle and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

47 Rollo (G.R. No. 204410), pp. 63-67. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioner Lucenito N. Tagle penned a Dissenting Opinion and joined by Commissioner Elias R. Yusoph. Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no part.

48 Rollo (G.R. No. 204421), pp. 43-50; rollo (G.R. No. 204425), pp. 21-28. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca with Commissioners Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, and Elias R. Yusoph, dissenting.

49 G.R. Nos. 179271 and 179295, 21 April 2009, 586 SCRA 210.

50 II Record, CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 566-567 (1 August 1986).

51 II Record, CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 85-86 (22 July 1986).

52 II RECORD, CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 85-86 (22 July 1986), 256-257 (25 July 1986).

53 II RECORD, CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 257 (25 July 1986).

54 412 Phil. 347, 350 (2001).

55 Party-List System: The Philippine Experience, Fritzie Palma Tangkia and Ma. Araceli Basco Habaradas, Ateneo School of Government and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Philippine Office, April 2001, http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/philippinen/50076.pdf (accessed 30 March 2013).

56 Section 5. Registration. – Any organized group of persons may register as a party, organization or coalition for purposes of the party-list system by filing with the COMELEC not later than ninety (90) days before the election a petition verified by its president or secretary stating its desire to participate in the party-list system as a national, regional or sectoral party or organization or a coalition of such parties or organizations, attaching thereto its constitution, by-laws, platform or program of government, list of officers, coalition agreement and other relevant information as the COMELEC may require: Provided, That the sectors shall include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals.

The COMELEC shall publish the petition in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.

The COMELEC shall, after due notice and hearing, resolve the petition within fifteen (15) days from the date it was submitted for decision but in no case not later than sixty (60) days before election.

57 Section 2. Declaration of Policy. — The State shall promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall develop and guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall provided the simplest scheme possible. (Emphasis supplied)

58 The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSDB) classifies the population into three income groups: the high income, the middle income, and the low income group. See Table 2. Annual Family Income of the Low, Middle, and High Income Classes: 1997, http://www.nscb.gov.ph/ncs/10thNCS/papers/contributed%20papers/cps-12/cps12-01.pdf (accessed 30 March 2013).

59 Section 11 of R.A. No. 7941 provides in part:

x x x For purposes of the May 1988 elections, the first five (5) major political parties on the basis of party representation in the House of Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress of the Philippines shall not be entitled to participate in the party-list system.

x x x.

60 G.R. Nos. 179271 and 179295, 21 April 2009, 586 SCRA 210, 258 citing CONSTITUTION, Art. XIII, Sec. 1.

61 Id. at 251.

62 Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.

READ CASE DIGEST HERE.

Click the links below to read the Separate Opinions

Chief Justice Sereno; Concurring Dissenting Opinion

Justice Brion; Separate Opinion

Justice Leonen; Concurring Dissenting Opinion

Justice Reyes; Concurring Dissenting Opinion

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