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BANAT vs. COMELEC GR No. 1179271; GR No.

179295 | April 21, 2009 | Certiorari and Mandamus | Carpio Petitioners: Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency [BANAT]; Bayan Muna, Advocacy for Teachers Empowerment through Action, Cooperation and Harmony towards Educational Reforms Inc., and ABONO Respondent: COMELEC [sitting as National Board of Canvassers] Intervenor: Arts Business and Science Proofessionals, Aangat Tayo and Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines, Inc. Facts: The 14 May 2007 elections included the elections for the party-list representatives. The COMELEC counted 15,950,900 votes cast for 93 parties under the PartyList System. 27 June 2002 - BANAT filed a Petition to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List Representatives Provided by the Constitution before the National Board of Canvassers [NBC]. o BANAT filed its petition because "[t]he Chairman and the Members of the [COMELEC] have recently been quoted in the national papers that the [COMELEC] is duty bound to and shall implement the Veterans ruling, that is, would apply the Panganiban formula in allocating party-list seats." BANAT filed a memorandum on 19 July 2007. 9 July 2007 - the COMELEC, sitting as the NBC, promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-60. NBC Resolution No. 07-60 proclaimed thirteen (13) parties as winners in the party-list elections, namely: 1. Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (BUHAY) 2. Bayan Muna 3. Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) 4. Gabrielas Women Party (Gabriela) 5. Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) 6. A Teacher 7. Akbayan! Citizens Action Party (AKBAYAN) 8. Alagad 9. Luzon Farmers Party (BUTIL) 10. Cooperative-Natco Network Party (COOP-NATCCO) 11. Anak Pawis 12. Alliance of Rural Concerns (ARC) 13. Abono. Pursuant to 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. o The additional seats were allocated as follows: Party List Percentage Additional Seat BAYAN MUNA 1.65 1 CIBAC 1.28 1 GABRIELA 1.05 1 APEC 1.05 1 A TEACHER 0.83 0 AKBAYAN 0.78 0 ALAGAD 0.71 0 BUTIL 0.69 0 COOP-NATCO 0.69 0 ANAKPAWIS 0.62 0 ARC 0.63 0 ABONO 0.57 0

Acting on BANATs petition, the NBC disposed as follows: o The petition of BANAT is now moot and academic. o The Commission En Banc in NBC Resolution No. 0760 promulgated July 9, 2007 re "In the Matter of the Canvass of Votes and Partial Proclamation of the Parties, Organizations and Coalitions Participating Under the Party-List System During the May 14, 2007 National and Local Elections" resolved among others that the total number of seats of each winning party, organization or coalition shall be determined pursuant to the Veterans Federation Party versus COMELEC formula upon completion of the canvass of the party-list results." Hence, BANAT filed this petition for certiorari and mandamus assailing the ruling in NBC Resolution No. 07-88. BANAT did not file a motion for reconsideration of NBC Resolution No. 07-88. 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 is violative of the Constitution and of Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A. No. 7941). On the same day, the COMELEC denied reconsideration during the proceedings of the NBC.

Issues: WON the operation of the 2% threshold in computing the allocation of additional seats is constitutional [NO] WON major political parties are prohibited in participating in the party-list system [NO] Ratio: 4 inviolable parameters as enunciated in the Veterans case First, the twenty percent allocation the combined number of all party-list congressmen shall not exceed twenty percent of the total membership of the House of Representatives, including those elected under the party list; Second, the two percent threshold only those parties garnering a minimum 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 number of 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 a qualified party is entitled to shall be computed "in proportion to their total number of votes." Procedure for Computing the Number of Party-List Representatives Article VI, Section 5 of the Constitution provides: Section 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through 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 total number of representatives including those under the party-list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector. RA 7941, Section 11 provides: Section 11. Number of Party-List Representatives. The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum (20%) of the total number of the members of the House of Representatives including those under the party-list. Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution states that the "House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law." The House of Representatives shall be composed of district representatives and partylist representatives. 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-list representatives to the total number of representatives. We compute the number of seats available to party-list representatives from the number of legislative districts. On this point, we do not deviate from the first formula in Veterans, thus: Number of seats available to party-list representatives

Number of seats available to legislative _________districts________ .80

X .20 =

This formula allows for the corresponding increase in the number of seats available for party-list representatives whenever a legislative district is created by law. Since the 14th Congress of the Philippines has 220 district representatives, there are 55 seats available to party-list representatives. After prescribing the ratio of the number of party-list representatives to the total number of representatives, the Constitution left the manner of allocating the seats available to party-list representatives to the wisdom of the legislature.

Allocation of the Seats Section 11, RA 7941 provides: In determining the allocation of seats for the second vote, the following procedure shall be observed: (a) The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they garnered during the elections. (b) The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one seat each: Provided, That those garnering more than two percent (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes: Provided, finally, That each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats. Section 12, RA 7941 provides:

Procedure in Allocating Seats for Party-List Representatives. The COMELEC shall tally all the votes for the parties, organizations, or coalitions on a nationwide basis, rank them according to the number of votes received and allocate party-list representatives proportionately according to the percentage of votes obtained by each party, organization, or coalition as against the total nationwide votes cast for the party-list system. Section 11(a) of R.A. No. 7941 prescribes the ranking of the participating parties from the highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they garnered during the elections. The first clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941 states that "parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one seat each." This clause guarantees a seat to the two-percenters. The second clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941 provides that "those garnering more than two percent (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes." o Veterans interprets the clause "in proportion to their total number of votes" to be in proportion to the votes of the first party. This interpretation is contrary to the express language of R.A. No. 7941. In computing the allocation of additional seats, the continued operation of the two percent threshold for the distribution of the additional seats as found in the second clause of Section 11(b) of R.A. No. 7941 is unconstitutional. o This Court finds that the two percent threshold makes it mathematically impossible to achieve the maximum number of available party list seats when the number of available party list seats exceeds 50. The continued operation of the two percent threshold in the distribution of the additional seats frustrates the attainment of the permissive ceiling that 20% of the members of the House of Representatives shall consist of party-list representatives. In determining the allocation of seats for party-list representatives under Section 11 of R.A. No. 7941, the following procedure shall be observed: 1. The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they garnered during the elections. 2. The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one guaranteed seat each. 3. Those garnering sufficient number of votes, according to the ranking in paragraph 1, shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes until all the additional seats are allocated. 4. 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 included because they have already been allocated, at one seat each, to every two-percenter. Thus, the remaining available seats for allocation as "additional seats" are the maximum seats reserved under the Party List System less the

guaranteed seats. Fractional seats are disregarded in the absence of a provision in R.A. No. 7941 allowing for a rounding off of fractional seats. There are two steps in the second round of seat allocation. o First, the percentage is multiplied by the remaining available seats, 38, which is the difference between the 55 maximum seats reserved under the PartyList System and the 17 guaranteed seats of the twopercenters. The whole integer of the product of the percentage and of the remaining available seats corresponds to a partys share in the remaining available seats. o Second, we assign one party-list seat to each of the parties next in rank until all available seats are completely distributed. We distributed all of the remaining 38 seats in the second round of seat allocation. Finally, we apply the three-seat cap to determine the number of seats each qualified party-list candidate is entitled.

election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election. In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to continue until the expiration of his term. Under Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941, it is not necessary that the party-list organizations nominee "wallow in poverty, destitution and infirmity" as there is no financial status required in the law. It is enough that the nominee of the sectoral party/organization/coalition belongs to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors , that is, if the nominee represents the fisherfolk, he or she must be a fisherfolk, or if the nominee represents the senior citizens, he or she must be a senior citizen.

Dispositive: Petition is partly granted.

There is no prohibition for major political parties to participate in the party-list system. The Constitutional Commission adopted a multi-party system that allowed all political parties to participate in the party-list elections. Congress, in enacting R.A. No. 7941, put the three-seat cap to prevent any party from dominating the party-list elections. Neither the Constitution nor R.A. No. 7941 prohibits major political parties from participating in the party-list system. On the contrary, the framers of the Constitution clearly intended the major political parties to participate in party-list elections through their sectoral wings. In fact, the members of the Constitutional Commission voted down, 19-22, any permanent sectoral seats, and in the alternative the reservation of the party-list system to the sectoral groups. Read together, R.A. No. 7941 and the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission state that major political parties are allowed to establish, or form coalitions with, sectoral organizations for electoral or political purposes. o here should not be a problem if, for example, the Liberal Party participates in the party-list election through the Kabataang Liberal ng Pilipinas (KALIPI), its sectoral youth wing. o The other major political parties can thus organize, or affiliate with, their chosen sector or sectors. To further illustrate, the Nacionalista Party can establish a fisherfolk wing to participate in the party-list election, and this fisherfolk wing can field its fisherfolk nominees. Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI) can do the same for the urban poor. The qualifications of party-list nominees are prescribed in Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941: Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. No person shall be nominated as party-list representative unless he is a natural born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the elections, able to read and write, bona fide member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the