MANILA - The status quo ante order (SQAO) issued by the Supreme Court (SC) in its en banc session on Tuesday covers the following party-list groups that filed separate petitions before the high court assailing the cancellation of their accreditation by the Commission on Elections (Comelec):
- AKO BICOL (AKB)
- Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC)
- Aksyon Magsasaka-Partido Tinig ng Masa (AKMA-PTM)
- Kapatiran ng mga Nakulong na Walang Sala, Inc. (KAKUSA)
- Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy, Inc. (1-CARE)
- Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction, Inc. (ARARO)
- Association for Righteousness Advocacy on Leadership (ARAL)
- Alliance for Rural Concerns (ARC)
The SQAO prevents the poll body from implementing its resolutions disqualifying the above-stated party-list groups in the 2013 polls.
The SQAO was issued without prejudice to the ruling on the merits of the consolidated petitions.
In their petitions, AKB, APEC, 1-CARE, and ARC claimed that the poll body committed grave abuse of discretion in cancelling their respective accreditation. They also assailed the Comelec for violating their right to due process.
They pointed out that Republic Act (RA) No. 7941 or the Party-list System Act does not provide for a re-determination of compliance by the Comelec of an already accredited and duly registered party-list organization.
The Comelec said it will "honor and respect" the high court's order.
Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the poll body hopes that the merits of the consolidated petitions will be decided before January 2013 in time for the printing of the ballots.
Asked what the Comelec will do should a ruling not be handed down by then, Sarmiento said the 4 party-list groups shall then be retained on the ballot.
Sources said the high court intends to rule on the merits of the case on or before Feb. 12, the start of the official campaign period.