MANILA, Philippines – Party-list group 1st Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy Partylist (1-CARE) vowed to seek a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) to stop its disqualification from the 2013 mid-term elections.
In a statement issued on Sunday, 1-CARE’s secretary general Atty. Carlos Roman Uybarreta said the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify them is “a mockery of the nation’s election system and affront to the judiciary.”
Uybarreta said the Comelec disregarded a ruling of the SC dated November 23, 2010, which established the qualification of their group as a party-list under Republic Act No. 7941 or Party-list System Act.
“This is a mockery of our Judicial System, a total disregard of basic and fundamental principles of law and jurisprudence, like stare decisis et non quieta movere and immutability of judgments,” he said.
1-CARE officials believe the Comelec violated jurisprudence cited by the SC.
“It has long been established that for judicial stability and certainty in the law and for justice and fairness to prevail courts should ‘stand by the decisions and disturb not what is settled.’ And as repeatedly used in our jurisprudence, it means that ‘once the court has laid down a principle of law as applicable to a certain state of facts, it would adhere to that principle and apply it to all future cases in which the facts are substantially the same,” Uybarreta said.
1-CARE joined the party-list elections in May 2010 and won two seats in Congress now being occupied by Representatives Michael Angelo Rivera and Salvador Cabaluna III.
But even before the May 2010 polls, Barangay Natin (BANAT) party-list also questioned 1-CARE’s registration and accreditation. The Comelec en banc then upheld a ruling of their first division, prompting BANAT to elevate the appeal to the SC.
In November 2010, the High Court backed Comelec’s findings, upholding 1-CARE’s accreditation. The SC made its ruling final on February 22, 2011.
However, the Comelec disqualified 1-CARE last October 15, saying it is an electric cooperative and it claims to represent electric consumers, which are not considered marginalized sectors.
“The long established doctrine of Immutability of Judgments was totally disregarded in the case at hand. It is incumbent upon the Court to assist in the enforcement of the law and in the maintenance of peace and order in our government and society at large to put an end to judiciable controversies with finality,” Uybarreta said.
Uybarreta said 1-CARE will protest the poll body’s ruling to disqualify them for the sake of the 770,015 voters who supported it in the 2010 polls.