Comelec hints at fate of militant parties

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2012 02:59 PM | Updated as of Oct 23 2012 10:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines - In an apparent hint at how the poll body will decide the fate of progressive party list groups such as Bayan Muna, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said they will not deprive the groups of representation in the House of Representatives.

Comelec is still in the midst of purging party-list groups that fail to meet the requirements of the law.

Sarmiento said among the references the poll body will be considering in deciding the fate of party-list groups is a legal opinion of then Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who pointed out that the party-list system is a venue for the progressive left to switch to mainstream.

Puno also remarked that the progressive left may resort to alternative politics if they are deprived of representation, he said.

The opinion of Puno is included in the Supreme Court decision on the Ang Bagong Bayani vs Comelec, which enumerated the requirements for a party-list group.

The poll body will also consider if the nominee is an advocate who belongs to the marginalized sector, if he or she has a track record of serving for that sector, the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth as well as the multi-sectoral nature of some groups.

Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, for his part, said they will consider if the sectors represented by so-called multi-sectoral groups compliment each other’s values and principles.

Meanwhile, the two commissioners and Chairman Sixto Brillantes refused to categorically comment on the fate of Akbayan Party-list.

Sarmiento said the case of Akbayan and Bayan Muna will be discussed, among others, during an en banc session Wednesday. He said a resolution should be out this week or next.

Brillantes said no new arguments will be entertained once the case is submitted for resolution.

Akbayan supporters picketed the Comelec to show support for the party-list, which some deem no longer a marginalized group having been entrenched in the administration of President Aquino.