Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Philippine Party-list Groups Must Be Banned by Comelec

Binhi party-list group on Monday filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking to nullify the ruling of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualifying them from participating in the May 13, 2013 mid-term elections.

In their petition filed through their legal counsel Charita Agdon, Binhi said that the Comelec's ruling is "whimsical and abusive" when its accreditation has been cancelled despite compliance with the requirement set under the law.

The Comelec issued the resolution disqualifying Binhi as a party-list group on Nov. 28, 2012.

In their petition, Binhi also asked the SC to stop the implementation of the Comelec's Nov. 28, 2012 resolution and allow them to participate in next year's elections.

Binhi said that Comelec acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion.

It cited a resolution dated Nov. 19, 2009 where the Comelec granted the accreditation and registration of the group as a sectoral party duly representing the peasants, farmers and farm tillers, which are sectors covered under Section 5 of Republic Act No. 7941, otherwise known as the "Party-list System Act."

"It is a manifest abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent Comelec to cancel the registration based on the pretext that the Petitioner is not among the marginalized and underrepresented and in doing so removing any chance on the part of these small farmers to be part of the legislative body so they can have a chance in promoting their interests in law making," the petitioner said.

"The respondent commission whimsically and capriciously cancelled the registration of the petitioner with a very shallow and very unacceptable reason that it is not among the marginalized and underrepresented while a clear reading of the law and jurisprudence concerned would readily reveal that there is no reason to consider the petitioner as not being part of those marginalized and underrepresented," it added.

Binhi said that the Comelec abused its discretion when it declared the party- list as not marginalized despite the absence of any motion questioning its accreditation and registration.

"The said Resolution (Nov. 19, 2009) has become final and executory, in fact the petitioner herein was allowed to participate in the 2010 elections. No other pleadings were filed before the Respondent or before any other courts questioning the findings in the said Resolution suffice it to say that the same attained finality already as early as 2009," it said.

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