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Veterans Federation Party vs COMELEC

Veterans Federation Party vs COMELEC

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Published by: Arabella Grace Madrigal on Sep 07, 2010
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[G.R. No. 136781. October 6, 2000]VETERANS FEDERATION PARTY, ALYANSANG BAYANIHAN NG MGAMAGSASAKA, MANGGAGAWANG BUKID AT MANGINGISDA, ADHIKAIN ATKILUSAN NG ORDINARYONG TAO PARA SA LUPA, PABAHAY ATKAUNLARAN, and LUZON FARMERS PARTY, petitioners, vs. COMMISSIONON ELECTIONS, PAG-ASA, SENIOR CITIZENS, AKAP AKSYON, PINATUBO,NUPA, PRP, AMIN, PAG-ASA, MAHARLIKA, OCW-UNIFIL, PCCI, AMMA-KATIPUNAN, KAMPIL, BANTAY-BAYAN, AFW, ANG LAKAS OCW, WOMEN-POWER, INC., FEJODAP, CUP, VETERANS CARE, 4L, AWATU, PMP, ATUCP,NCWP, ALU, BIGAS, COPRA, GREEN, ANAKBAYAN, ARBA, MINFA, AYOS,ALL COOP, PDP-LABAN, KATIPUNAN, ONEWAY PRINT, AABANTE KAPILIPINAS -- All Being Party-List Parties/Organizations -- and Hon.MANUEL B. VILLAR, JR. in His Capacity as Speaker of the House of Representatives, respondents.[G.R. No. 136786. October 6, 2000]AKBAYAN! (CITIZENS' ACTION PARTY), ADHIKAIN AT KILUSAN NGORDINARYONG TAO PARA SA LUPA, PABAHAY AT KAUNLARAN (AKO), andASSOCIATION OF PHILIPPINE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES (APEC),petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (COMELEC), HOUSE OFREPRESENTATIVES represented by Speaker Manuel B. Villar, PAG-ASA,SENIOR CITIZENS, AKAP, AKSYON, PINATUBO, NUPA, PRP, AMIN,MAHARLIKA, OCW, UNIFIL, PCCI, AMMA-KATIPUNAN, KAMPIL, BANTAY-BAYAN, AFW, ANG LAKAS OCW, WOMENPOWER INC., FEJODAP, CUP,VETERANS CARE, FOUR "L", AWATU, PMP, ATUCP, NCWP, ALU, BIGAS,COPRA, GREEN, ANAK-BAYAN, ARBA, MINFA, AYOS, ALL COOP, PDP-LABAN, KATIPUNAN, ONEWAY PRINT, AABANTE KA PILIPINAS,respondents.[G.R. No. 136795. October 6, 2000]ALAGAD (PARTIDO NG MARALITANG-LUNGSOD), NATIONALCONFEDERATION OF SMALL COCONUT FARMERS' ORGANIZATIONS(NCSFCO), and LUZON FARMERS' PARTY (BUTIL), petitioners, vs.COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, SENIOR CITIZENS, AKAP, AKSYON,PINATUBO, NUPA, PRP, AMIN, PAG-ASA, MAHARLIKA, OCW, UNIFIL, PCCI,AMMA-KATIPUNAN, KAMPIL, BANTAY-BAYAN, AFW, ANG LAKAS OCW,WOMENPOWER INC., FEJODAP, CUP, VETERANS CARE, 4L, AWATU, PMP,ATUCP, NCWP, ALU, BIGAS, COPRA, GREEN, ANAK-BAYAN, ARBA, MINFA,AYOS, ALL COOP, PDP-LABAN, KATIPUNAN, ONEWAY PRINT, andAABANTE KA PILIPINAS, respondents.D E C I S I O N
PANGANIBAN, J.:*
 
Prologue To determine the winners in a Philippine-style party-list election, the Constitutionand Republic Act (RA) No. 7941 mandate at least four inviolable parameters. These are:
First, the twenty percent allocation -
the combined number of allparty-list congressmen shall not exceed twenty percent of the total membershipof the House of Representatives, including those elected under the party list.
Second, the two percent threshold
- only those parties garnering aminimum of two percent of the total valid votes cast for the party-list system are“qualified” to have a seat in the House of Representatives;
Third, the three-seat limit
- each qualified party, regardless of the numberof votes it actually obtained, is entitled to a maximum of three seats; that is,
one“qualifying”
and
two additional seats
.
Fourth, proportional representation
- the additional seats which aqualified party is entitled to shall be computed “in proportion to their total numberof votes.”Because the Comelec violated these legal parameters, the assailed Resolutionsmust be struck down for having been issued in grave abuse of discretion. The pollbody is mandated to enforce and administer election-related laws. It has no powerto contravene or amend them. Neither does it have authority to decide thewisdom, propriety or rationality of the acts of Congress.Its bounden duty is to craft rules, regulations, methods and formulas toimplement election laws -- not to reject, ignore, defeat, obstruct or circumventthem.In fine, the constitutional introduction of the party-list system - a normal featureof parliamentary democracies - into our presidential form of government, modifiedby unique Filipino statutory parameters, presents new paradigms and novelquestions, which demand innovative legal solutions convertible into mathematicalformulations which are, in turn, anchored on time-tested jurisprudence. The CaseBefore the Court are three consolidated Petitions for Certiorari (with applicationsfor the issuance of a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction)under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, assailing (1) the October 15, 1998Resolution[1] of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Second Division, inElection Matter 98-065;[2] and (2) the January 7, 1999 Resolution[3] of theComelec en banc, affirming the said disposition. The assailed Resolutions orderedthe proclamation of thirty-eight (38) additional party-list representatives "to
 
complete the full complement of 52 seats in the House of Representatives asprovided under Section 5, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and R.A. 7941.” The Facts and the AntecedentsOur 1987 Constitution introduced a novel feature into our presidential system of government -- the party-list method of representation. Under this system, anynational, regional or sectoral party or organization registered with the Commissionon Elections may participate in the election of party-list representatives who,upon their election and proclamation, shall sit in the House of Representatives asregular members.[4] In effect, a voter is given two (2) votes for the House -- onefor a district congressman and another for a party-list representative.[5]Specifically, this system of representation is mandated by Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, which provides:“Sec. 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more thantwo hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall beelected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and theMetropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respectiveinhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who,as provided by law, shall be elected by a party-list system of registered national,regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the totalnumber of representatives including those under the party-list. For threeconsecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one half of the seatsallocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, byselection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous culturalcommunities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law,except the religious sector.”Complying with its constitutional duty to provide by law the “selection or election”of party-list representatives, Congress enacted RA 7941 on March 3, 1995. Underthis statute’s policy declaration, the State shall "promote proportionalrepresentation in the election of representatives to the House of Representativesthrough a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties ororganizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging tomarginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and wholack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to theformulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nationas a whole, to become members of the House of Representatives. Towards thisend, the State shall develop and guarantee a full, free and open party system inorder to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or groupinterests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to competefor and win seats in the legislature, and shall provide the simplest schemepossible.” (italics ours.)

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