January 29, 2013
The newly formed workers party-list group Partido ng Manggagawa Coalition (PM Coalition) held a rally today to urge the Supreme Court (SC) to resolve the party-list disqualification row before the official ballots are printed. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) reiterated yesterday that ballots will be printed starting next Monday, February 4.
“It is in the interest of all parties, not just the party-list groups and the Comelec but most especially the voters, that the dispute over Comelec’s disqualification of party-list groups be settled with dispatch,” asserted Bong Palad, the group’s president and also secretary of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA).
In its en banc session last week, the SC gave due course to a motion from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) for partial reconsideration asking to be given until last Friday to file a consolidated comment on behalf of the Comelec. Earlier on January 8, the SC did not act on PM Coalition’s petition for a temporary restraining order on the raffle of party-list names and printing of ballots and instead asked the Comelec to comment on a non-extendible deadline of five days.
PM Coalition has been staging weekly rallies at the SC as part of its “Party List Watch” to push for its petition asking the high court to overturn the Comelec’s disqualification. Today the rallyists brought a makeshift eye made of cardboard to symbolize the “Party List Watch.”
“We call on the high court to finish the job of cleansing of the party-list system by affirming the disqualification of BOPALs or bogus party-lists but also correcting the mistakes of the Comelec such as not accrediting a legitimate workers group like PM Coalition based on a technicality. Comelec’s disqualification of PM Coalition is in contrast with its highly questionable accreditation of some BOPALs that seem to have a much lobby power,” averred Palad.
The Comelec's Second Division dismissed PM Coalition on the ground that it failed to comply with the requirements for registration as a “sectoral coalition.” But Palad insisted that even under Comelec Resolution No. 9366 – Rules on filing of petitions for registration – requirements under Section 6. Petition for Registration, Contents states that petitioner is only required to submit names, addresses, and representatives of sectoral parties or organizations affiliated with the petitioner, which affiliates need not be registered with the Commission, but have given their consent thereto. ###