SC upholds proclamation of 51 party-list groups

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    THE Supreme Court has upheld the proclamation by the Commission on Elections of winning party-list groups in the 2019 elections as seven justices voted to deny the petition of three party-list groups and retain the formula it rendered in its 2009 ruling on the Banat case.

    SC spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka said the decision was reached by the justices during their en banc session on September 15.

    “The proclamation by the Comelec of the winning party-list groups during the May 13, 2019 elections in accordance with the formula espoused in the Banat case was upheld,”

    The denied petition was filed by party-list groups Angkla: Ang Partido ng mga Marinong Pilipino Inc., Aksyon Magsasaka-Tinig Partido ng Masa, and Serbisyo sa Bayan Party.

    Angkla placed 54th, Aksyon 53rd, and Serbisyo sa Bayan 52nd in the race that saw 51 party-list groups getting seats at the House of Representatives.

    In their petition, the groups questioned the allocation of seats, saying that under Section 11 (b) of Republic Act 7941 or the Party-List Systems Act, the allocation of additional seats in proportion to the total number of votes of a party-list which garnered more than 2 percent of the party-list votes results in “double counting” of votes in favor of said group.

    This, they added, make the said provision unconstitutional.

    Hosaka said the SC did not reach the majority vote of eight needed to annul the assailed provision.

    “Hence, in view of the provision in the Constitution requiring a majority vote in declaring a law unconstitutional, and pursuant to Rule 12, Section 2 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, the Court denied the petition,” Hosaka said. “Further, Section 11 (b) of RA 7941 was not declared unconstitutional,”he added.

    The seven justices who voted to deny the petition are Estela Perlas Bernabe, Amy Lazaro Javier, Marvic Leonen, Rosmari Carandang, Jose Reyes Jr., Mario Lopez and Henri Jean Paul Inting.

    Those who dissented were Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta and Justices Ramon Paul Hernando, Alexander Gesmundo, Rodil Zalameda, Samuel Gaerlan and Edgardo delos Santos.

    Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa submitted a concurring and dissenting opinion.

    In the Banat (Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency) case, the SC laid down the formula used for computing the number of winners in the party-list elections.

    Banat filed a case against the poll body also questioning the methodology on the allocation of seats for the party-list sector.

    The SC, in its 2009 decision, said parties, organizations and coalitions should shall be ranked from the highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they garnered during the elections. They should receive at least 2 percent of the total votes cast in the party-list system, making them entitled to one guaranteed seat.

    Those who garnered sufficient votes based on the ranking are entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes until all the additional seats are allocated, and
    he seat limit for each party, organization or coalition is three.

    “In computing the additional seats, the guaranteed seats shall no longer be included because they have already been allocated, at one seat each, to every two percenter,” the 2009 ruling said.

    “Thus, the remaining available seats for allocation as additional seats are the maximum seats reserved under the party-list system less the guaranteed seats,” the SC added.