MANILA, Philippines - Have an “AAA” for a party-list name? You won’t exactly be first on the ballot.
Party-list organizations with names starting with the letter “A” will not necessarily be the first on the ballot, said Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr.
He said the poll body will soon issue a resolution that will make the listing of party-list groups on the ballot in non-alphabetical order. He said they will come up with a raffle system.
Brillantes said, "sa balota, hindi na alphabetical, kahit AAA ka, pwede ka bumagsak sa dulo under a raffle system."
He explained that this new system will eliminate the advantage of party-list organizations with names starting with A. These groups are often being picked by undecided voters or those who do not have any bet among party-list organizations.
"Hindi na advantage ang alphabetical ngayon,” Brillantes said.
He also said they will be "very strict" with the nominees of party-list organizations.
He said the nominees should meaningfully and significantly represent the marginalized sector.
"May ruling sa Supreme Court na kung fisherfolk ka, dapat you have to be fisherman, kung urban poor ka, dapat poor ka, hindi yung poor na nakatira sa Forbes Park," Brillantes said.
In case nominees are found not to be a genuine member of a group, Brillantes warned that the entire group might be penalized. He said, "disqualified nominee pati partylist kung may deliberate misrepresentation, delikado kayo pag nag-nominate kayo ng hindi maliwanag."
172 parties seeking accreditation
Comelec Information Director and Spokesman James Jimenez said there are about 172 party-list organizations who filed for petitions for accreditation prior to the last day of filing in the Comelec.
He said they hope to be able to come up with the official list of party-list groups by July.
Jimenez said they will not limit the number, but clarified they will be "very strict" in the issuance of accreditation to avoid questionable representations of marginalized sectors. "Marami po ang siguradong madi-disappoint" he said.
Many organizations were still scrambling to get their group accredited by Comelec on Thursday.
One of them was the Katribu Party-list Organization, which ran in the 2010 elections, but failed.
Francesca Tolentino, Katribu secretary-general, said they are running for the second time because they feel the need to represent the tribesmen around the country in Congress.
They estimate their constituents to number around 12 million nationwide, mostly coming from the ancient tribes in the Cordillera Region, Mindoro, Palawan and Mindanao.
"Matagal na panahon na kaming isinasantabi, hindi naririnig ang aming karaingan," Tolentino said.
“Ito ang usapin sa mga lupa ng aming mga ninuno na pinag-aagawan lang ng mga dayuhan, minahan at mga pulitiko," she added.
She said they only filed today their petition for accreditation since their nominees are situated in the far-flung areas of the Cordillera mountains. It took them days before documents could be reviewed, signed and transported back to Manila.