Comelec says won't proclaim party-lists with pending cases; Gabriela, Kabataan cry foul

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 25 2022 04:43 PM

Women’s group Gabriela  ABS-CBN News/File
Women’s group Gabriela stage a noise barrage protest in front of the Commission on Elections headquarters in Intramuros, Manila on Nov. 9, 2021. The group composed of women from different communities urged the COMELEC to junk the National Task Force to End Local Communism and Armed Conflict’s (NTF-ELCAC) nuisance disqualification case against the women’s party-list. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it would not proclaim on Thursday winning party-lists groups with pending disqualification cases before the poll body, citing precedent in previous elections.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Commissioner George Garcia said the Comelec, sitting as National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) for senators and party-lists, is prevented from proclaiming groups facing petitions for cancellation of their registration. 

"Alam naman natin na noong nakaraan, basta ang disqualification petition ay against sa mismong party-list, hindi tayo nag-iissue ng certificate of proclamation. Pero kung ang disqualification ay patungkol lang sa nominees, ay nag-iisue tayo pabor sa party pero hindi sa nominee," Garcia said.

 

(We know that previously, as long as the disqualification petition is against the party-list itself, we do not issue a certificate of proclamation. But if the disqualification only involves the nominee, we issue a certificate of proclamation in favor of the party, but not the nominee.) 

Garcia later insisted that party-lists groups facing cancellation cases would not be proclaimed. 

The proclamation of party-list groups is set on Thursday, 4 p.m. at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Party-list groups assured of House seats but have cancellation cases include Kabataan and Gabriela.

According to Gabriela, Garcia's statements were contrary to what happened in 2019. 

"We beg to disagree on this. Gabriela Party-list was proclaimed as winning party-list in 2019 despite the fabricated disqualification case lodged by NTF-ELCAC days before the May 2019 polls," the group said in a tweet.

"We will not let this trumped-up disqualification case be made as basis to deny Filipino women genuine representation in Congress," Gabriela added in a statement.

Gabriela and Kabataan were accused by the controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict's (NTF-ELCAC) of being linked to the communist movement. 

NTF-ELCAC sought the cancellation of the 2 groups' registration before the Comelec. 

Kabataan had dubbed this as a "plain and brazen red tagging" and an "illegal act" of silencing opposition to the government, while Gabriela said it was a "sinister move to disenfranchise millions of Filipino women." 

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