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BANAT v. COMELEC

BANAT v. COMELEC

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Published by Raymond Roque

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Published by: Raymond Roque on Oct 15, 2009
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11/21/2012

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Roque, Raymond Reyes06-78143
BANAT v. COMELECFacts:On 27 June 2002, BANAT filed a Petition to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-ListRepresentatives Provided by the Constitution, docketed as NBC No. 07-041 (PL) before theNBC. BANAT filed its petition because “the Chairman and the Members of the COMELEC haverecently been quoted in the national papers that the COMELEC is duty bound to and shallimplement the Veterans ruling, that is, would apply the Panganiban formula in allocating party-list seats.There were no intervenors in BANAT’s petition before the NBC. BANAT filed amemorandum on 19 July 2007.On 9 July 2007, the COMELEC, sitting as the NBC, promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-60.NBC Resolution No. 07-60 proclaimed 13 parties as winners in the party-list elections. Pursuantto NBC Resolution No. 07-60, the COMELEC, acting as NBC, promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-72, which declared the additional seats allocated to the appropriate parties. Thereafter, actingon BANAT’s petition, the NBC promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-88 declaring BANAT’s petitionas moot and academic. Hence, this petition by BANAT. Meanwhile, on 9 July 2007, Bayan Muna,Abono, and A Teacher asked the COMELEC, acting as NBC, to reconsider its decision to use the
Veterans
formula as stated in its NBC Resolution No. 07-60 because the
Veterans
formula isviolative of the Constitution and of Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A. No. 7941). On the same day, theCOMELEC denied reconsideration during the proceedings of the NBC. Issues:1. Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list representatives in Section 5(2), Article VI of theConstitution mandatory or merely a ceiling?2. Is the two percent threshold prescribed in Section 11(b) of RA 7941constitutional?3. How shall the party-list representative seats be allocated?4. Does the Constitution prohibit the major political parties from participating in the party-listelections? If not, can the major political parties be barred from participating in the party-listelections? Held:1.No. Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution states that the “House of Representativesshall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed bylaw.” The House of Representatives shall be composed of district representatives and party-listrepresentatives. The Constitution allows the legislature to modify the number of the members of the House of Representatives.Section 5(2), Article VI of the Constitution, on the other hand, states the ratio of party-listrepresentatives to the total number of representatives. We compute the number of seatsavailable to party-list representatives from the number of legislative districts. On this point, wedo not deviate from the first formula in Veterans, thus: Number of seatsavailable to legislativedistrictsx .20=Number of seats availabletoparty-list representatives.80
 
  This formula allows for the corresponding increase in the number of seats available for party-listrepresentatives whenever a legislative district is created by law. Since the 14
th
Congress of thePhilippines has 220 district representatives, there are 55 seats available to party-listrepresentatives. 220 x .20 = 55.80After prescribing the ratio of the number of party-list representatives to the total numberof representatives,
the Constitution left the manner of allocating the seats available toparty-list representatives to the wisdom of the legislature.
2. Yes, but only insofar as allocation of additional seats is concerned. The two percent thresholdmakes it mathematically impossible to achieve the maximum number of available party list seatswhen the number of available party list seats exceeds 50. The continued operation of the twopercent threshold in the distribution of the additional seats frustrates the attainment of thepermissive ceiling that 20% of the members of the House of Representatives shall consist of party-list representatives.To illustrate: There are 55 available party-list seats. Suppose there are 50 million votescast for the 100 participants in the party list elections. A party that has two percent of the votescast, or one million votes, gets a guaranteed seat. Let us further assume that the first 50 partiesall get one million votes. Only 50 parties get a seat despite the availability of 55 seats. Becauseof the operation of the two percent threshold, this situation will repeat itself even if we increasethe available party-list seats to 60 seats and even if we increase the votes cast to 100 million. Thus, even if the maximum number of parties get two percent of the votes for every party, it isalways impossible for the number of occupied party-list seats to exceed 50 seats as long as thetwo percent threshold is present. The two percent threshold presents an unwarranted obstacle tothe full implementation of Section 5(2), Article VI of the Constitution and prevents the attainmentof “the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives.”3. In determining the allocation of seats for party-list representatives under Section 11 of R.A.No. 7941, the following procedure shall be observed: a.The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to the lowestbased on the number of votes they garnered during the elections;b.The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the totalvotes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one guaranteed seat each;c.Those garnering sufficient number of votes, according to the ranking in paragraph 1, shallbe entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes until all theadditional seats are allocated;d.Each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats. In computing the additional seats, the guaranteed seats shall no longer be includedbecause they have already been allocated, at one seat each, to every two-percenter. Thus, theremaining available seats for allocation as “additional seats” are the maximum seats reservedunder the Party List System less the guaranteed seats. Fractional seats are disregarded in theabsence of a provision in R.A. No. 7941 allowing for a rounding off of fractional seats.

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