NO. Political parties, particularly minority political parties, are not prohibited to participate in the party list electionif they can prove that they are also organized along sectoral lines. Neither the Constitution nor RA 7941 prohibitsmajor political parties from participating in party-list elections through their sectoral wings. In fact, the members of the Constitutional Commission voted down any permanent sectoral seats, and in the alternative the reservation of the party-list system to the sectoral groups. In defining a “party” that participates in party-list elections as either “a political party or a sectoral party,” RA 7941 also clearly intended that major political parties will participate in the party-list elections. Excluding the major political parties in party-list elections is manifestly against the Constitution,the intent of the Constitutional Commission, and RA 7941. Furthermore, under Section 9 of RA 7941, it is notnecessary that the party-list organization’s nominee “wallow in poverty, destitution, and infirmity” as there is nofinancial status required in law. It is enough that the nominee of the sectoral party/organization/coalition belongs tothe marginalized and underrepresented sectors.
However, by a vote of 8-7, the Court decided to continue the ruling in Veterans disallowing major political parties from participating in the party-list elections, directly or indirectly. According to Chief Justice Puno’s dissent, the party-list representatives are no match to our traditional political parties in the political arena; and that if major political parties are allowed to participate in the party-list system electoral process, the voices of the marginalized would be surely suffocated, and that the democratic spirit of the Constitution would be betrayed. He cited the 2001 party-list elections where the major political parties figured in the disproportionate distribution of votes. 8 Justicesconcurred. Additional Note: Justice Nachura concurs with Justice Carpio and further adds that the 2% threshold vote required for entitlement by a political party-list group to a seat in the HR in RA 7941 is unconstitutional because, according to him, therewill never be a situation where the number of party-list representatives will exceed 50, regardless of the number of district representatives. He then submits the standard of “proportional representation” and the adoption of a gradually regressive threshold vote requirement, inversely proportional to the increase in the number of party-list seats. He proposes this new formula for the threshold:100% (total number of votes cast for party-list)-------------------------------------------------------- =1.818%55 party-list seats And that the minimum vote requirement should gradually lessen as the number of party-list seats increases.
Doctrines:A Philippine-style party-list election has at least four inviolable parameters:
. The combined number of all party-list congressmen shall not exceed 20% of the totalmembership of the House of Representatives, including those elected under the party list;
. Only those parties garnering a minimum of 2% of the total valid votes cast for the party-listsystem are qualified to have a seat in the House of Representatives;
. Each qualified party, regardless of the number of votes it actually obtained, is entitled to amaximum of three seats; that is, one qualifying and two additional seats;
. The additional seats which a qualified party is entitled to shall be computed in proportion to their total number of votes.In declaring the 2% threshold unconstitutional, the Court does not limit the allocation of additional seats to the two- percenters. The percentage of votes garnered by each party-list candidate is arrived at by dividing the number of votes garnered by each party by the total number of votes cast for party-list candidates. There are two steps in thesecond round of seat allocation. First, the percentage is multiplied by the remaining available seats (the difference between the maximum seats reserved under the Party-List System and the guaranteed seats of the two-percenters).The whole integer of the product of the percentage and of the remaining available seats corresponds to a party’sshare in the remaining available seats. Second, one party-list seat is assigned to each of the parties next in rank untilall available seats are completely distributed. Finally, the three-seat cap is applied to determine the number of seatseach qualified party-list candidate is entitled.