January 24, 2013
The newly formed workers party-list group Partido ng Mangggawa Coalition (PM Coalition) urged the Supreme Court (SC) to resolve the party-list disqualification row “with dispatch” as the high court gave due course to a motion from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to file a comment.
Last Tuesday, PM Coalition held a rally at SC to push for its petition asking the high court to overturn the Comelec’s disqualification. The SC however tabled the OSG’s motion for partial reconsideration asking to be given until tomorrow to file a consolidated comment on behalf of the Comelec. In an en banc session last 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 but asked the Comelec to comment on a non-extendible deadline of five days.
“It is in the interest of all parties, not just the party-list groups and the Comelec, but the voters especially that the dispute over Comelec’s disqualification of party-list groups be settled by the next SC en banc session on January 29,” asserted Bong Palad, the group’s president and also secretary of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA).
PM Coalition 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 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 PM Coalition rallyists from affiliates PALEA, Samahan ng Manggagawa ng Paranaque and Zone One Tondo Organization bannered the call “Manggagawa Naman!” in its picket 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.” 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.