Comelec refuses to proclaim 2 party-list nominees

By Sheila Crisostomo, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 14 2014 01:01 AM | Updated as of Jan 14 2014 09:01 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Despite a Supreme Court (SC) order, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) refused yesterday to proclaim the two nominees of the Coalition of Association of Senior Citizens Inc.

The party-list group has two factions, which separately named Godofredo Arquiza and Francisco Datol Jr. as first nominee.

In a resolution, the Comelec said it cannot comply with the July 2013 SC ruling because the party-list group had committed numerous violations of election rules and its own bylaws.

“Premises considered, the Commission resolved, as it hereby resolves, to defer the resolution of Senior Citizens‘ leadership dispute to the regional trial court, for determination of the party’s members and officers,” read the resolution.

“Given the transgressions committed by both factions in violation of the Party-list System Act and Resolution No. 9366, the Commission finds it proper to deny due course to both the Manifestation of Intent to Participate in the 2013 polls filed by the two factions.”

In July 2013, the SC reversed a Comelec decision disqualifying the two factions.

Senior Citizens never implemented term-sharing, the ground cited by the Comelec in disqualifying it, the SC added.

However, the Comelec said the party-list group has attempted several times to have both factions reconcile and arrive at a settlement regarding their authority and responsibilities, if only to allow Senior Citizens to have representation in the House of Representatives.

“Unfortunately, the Commission’s call for reconciliation fell on deaf ears,” the Comelec said.

Senior Citizens had obtained 677,642 votes in the May polls, entitling it to two seats in the House of Representatives.

The Comelec said one of the violations of Senior Citizens is the failure to submit its coalition agreement.

“For a group claiming to be a coalition of associations nationwide, the absence of a coalition agreement of all member groups is surprising... Failure to submit relevant documents amounts to failure to comply with the laws, rules or regulations relating to the election,” the Comelec said.

The Comelec also found that the manifestation of intent filed by Datol had a “fabricated” list of membership.

It ruled that Arquiza had failed to call an election of the board of trustees of Senior Citizens in violation of its bylaws.

“As for the party’s qualifications, the Commission finds that both factions fatally failed to comply with the laws and rules on Party-list Election – a ground for the denial of their respective Manifestation of Intent to Participate,” the Comelec said.

Arquiza had filed a “very urgent omnibus motion” with the SC to cite “Comelec chairman and members, or, in the alternative only Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Commissioner Lucenito Tagle and Commissioner Elias Yusoph” in contempt “because they blatantly and contemptuously defied the SC order.”

Arquiza also asked SC to declare his faction “as deemed proclaimed... winner in the May 13, 2013 elections and entitled to two seats.”

He sought that he himself and Milagros Magsaysay be the first and second nominees to the House.