Supreme Court issues TRO for COMELEC to stop proclamation of Party-List winners


The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in the light of a set of rules issued by the Supreme Court has disqualified the Senior Citizens Party and 10 others from the party-list race and their votes to be considered stray votes

The Comelec has already proclaimed 38 party-list groups for the 53 seats allotted for sectoral representation in the House of Representatives last May 24 and 28. Only five seats remain unoccupied.

Brillantes said that if the SC allows the counting of votes of disqualified party-lists, including Senior Citizens which got at least 600,000 votes, it would affect the final results of the party-list race.

“We now leave everything to the SC,” he said.

“Most of the 12 [disqualified party-list groups] no longer have any chance of getting a seat. Maybe only the top two will have a chance to get a seat, depending on the final decision of the SC,” Brillantes said.

In effect, Brillantes said the TRO validates the previous proclamations of the Comelec.

“My interpretation of this [TRO] is that they validated already our previous proclamations, only the five [remaining unproclaimed] have an issue,” Brillantes said.

“I still believe that the remaining five are still the ones which will be proclaimed, Senior Citizens will still not be able to win, we have to maintain our position that they are disqualified,” he said.

The group was disqualified by the poll body due to alleged illegal term-sharing of its representatives in Congress.
Petitioners said their disqualification was a violation of the constitutional right to due process, saying they were not given a chance to contest the Comelec ruling.

They also argued the violation of term-sharing policy was not among the grounds for disqualification laid down by the high court in its decision last month on 52 disqualified party-list groups.
They added their disqualification would disenfranchise the over 600,000 votes they garnered in the elections.

The Senior Citizens placed 10th in the party-list race after garnering over 600,000 votes.
But Brillantes said the high tribunal would still issue a resolution on the merit of the cases of disqualified party-list organizations.
The TRO was issued after several disqualified party-lists asked the high court to order a recount of votes.

Brillantes said he will request the SC for the case to be resolved before June 30 so that when Congress resumes session, all 58 partylists will have been proclaimed.

Comelec is required to file their comment on the TRO within 10 days.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, 52.  She's eligible to serve for 18 years.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, 52. She’s eligible to serve for 18 years.

COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes

COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes

Sources:
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/video/nation/05/29/13/senior-citizens-party-wants-votes-officially-tallied
http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/05/30/947933/sc-comelec-stop-party-list-proclamations