Comelec to decide today on disqualified party-list groups

Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - January 7, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will meet and decide today on the status of the 13 disqualified groups that were included in the list of qualified party-list groups participating in the May 2013 elections.

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the poll body will hold a special meeting purposely to discuss the issue.

“We will be meeting in the morning (today), discuss all possibilities, and we will be deciding on how to resolve this problem,” Sarmiento said.

Among the possible solutions that the Comelec may undertake, Sarmiento said, is to just remove the disqualified groups and accordingly adjust the positions of the remaining party-list associations in the raffle.

According to Sarmiento, the Comelec is also considering the possibility of re-raffle.

During the first ever raffle on the placing in the official ballots of the numerous party-list organizations joining the race in May, last Friday the names of 13 disqualified groups were inadvertently included.

The Comelec earlier opted to raffle off the positions in the ballots instead of using the traditional alphabetical listing.

But what could have been a historical event was marked with the inclusion in the raffle of 13 new applicants that were previously rejected by the poll body.

The 13 groups should not have been included since they only secured status quo ante orders (SQAO) from the Supreme Court (SC) and not mandatory injunctions.

“Our resolution says that those new applicants, even if they are able to get SQAOs from the SC, if they do not get a mandatory injunction, we will not include them (in the raffle),” Sarmiento said.

“The problem is, in reading the resolution of the SC, they were not able to distinguish which are new applicants and which are existing that’s why they were mistakenly included in the raffle,” he said.

The Comelec is yet to identify the 13 groups that were included.

Sarmiento, however, said it is essential for the SC to immediately resolve the petitions of all the groups that have appealed their disqualifications by the Comelec before the start of the printing of ballots.

The Comelec is set to begin configuration of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines next week with the printing of official ballots immediately following sometime in mid to late January.

Sarmiento said they already asked SC if it is possible to speed up the resolution of the cases.

“Once decided by the SC there will be no more uncertainty on which groups should be included in the official list of party-list candidates or not,” Sarmiento pointed out.

The Comelec had already approved the participation of 84 party-list organizations, including 58 groups already with existing accreditation and 26 new applicants as party-lists.

The poll body also disqualified 194 party-list groups, 52 of which still managed to secure SQAOs from the high tribunal. 



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