January 22, 2013
Workers group asks Supreme Court to rule on party-list petitions
The newly formed workers party-list group PM Coalition held a rally at the Supreme Court today to appeal for a decision on pending party-list motions for accreditation. In particular PM Coalition is pushing for its petition asking the high court to overturn the Comelec’s disqualification.
Meanwhile the group welcomed the Comelec’s postponement of the printing of ballots to February 4 which effectively meant that it will wait for a high court ruling on the party-list issue. Comelec earlier said that its timetable precluded such a delay.
“We call on the Supreme 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 Partido ng Manggagawa Coalition (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 Bong Palad, the group’s president and also secretary of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA).
In an en banc session last January 8, the Supreme Court did not act on PM Coalition’s petition for a temporary restraining order on the raffle of party-list names and printing of ballots but asked the Comelec to comment on a non-extendible deadline of five days. As per PM Coalition’s information, the Comelec has not submitted a comment.
The PM Coalition rallyists from affiliates PALEA, Samahan ng Manggagawa ng Paranaque and Zone One Tondo Organization bannered the call “Manggagawa Naman!” in the picket today to express its advocacy for representation of workers in Congress and for labor issues to be put in the forefront of the national agenda.
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.” The decision states: "A careful perusal of the petition clearly shows that PM Coalition fell short of the requirement to be accredited as a sectoral coalition. While petitioner has extensively submitted documentary evidence to support its petition, it failed to consider a material requisite to seek registration as a coalition, that is, that its member organizations should be duly registered parties with this Commission."
Palad said the poll body took no serious effort in considering the group’s motion for reconsideration which clarified the matter. He explained 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.