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8/25/2015 G.R. No.

203766

TodayisTuesday,August25,2015

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

ENBANC

G.R.No.203766April2,2013

ATONGPAGLAUM,INC.,representedbyitsPresident,Mr.AlanIgot,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.Nos.20381819

AKOBICOLPOLITICALPARTY(AKB),Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.203922

ASSOCIATION OF PHILIPPINE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES (APEC),represented by its President


CongressmanPoncianoD.Payuyo,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.203936

AKSYON MAGSASAKAPARTIDO TINIG NG MASA, represented by its President Michael Abas Kida,
Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.203958

KAPATIRANNGMGANAKULONGNAWALANGSALA,INC.(KAKUSA),Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.203960

1stCONSUMERSALLIANCEFORRURALENERGY,INC.(1CARE),Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.203976

ALLIANCEFORRURALANDAGRARIANRECONSTRUCTION,INC.(ARARO),Petitioner,
vs.

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COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.203981

ASSOCIATION FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS ADVOCACY ON LEADERSHIP (ARAL) PARTYLIST, represented


hereinbyMs.LourdesL.Agustin,thepartysSecretaryGeneral,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204002

ALLIANCEFORRURALCONCERNS,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204094

ALLIANCEFORNATIONALISMANDDEMOCRACY(ANAD),Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204100

1BROPHILIPPINEGUARDIANSBROTHERHOOD,INC.,(1BROPGBI)formerlyPGBI,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204122

1GUARDIANSNATIONALISTPHILIPPINES,INC.,(1GANAP/GUARDIANS),Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANCcomposedofSIXTOS.BRILLANTES,JR.,Chairman,RENEV.
SARMIENTO,Commissioner,LUCENITON.TAGLE,Commissioner,ARMANDOC.VELASCO,
Commissioner,ELIASR.YUSOPH,Commissioner,andCHRISTIANROBERTS.LIM,Commissioner,
Respondents.

xx

G.R.No.204125

AGAPAY NG INDIGENOUS PEOPLES RIGHTS ALLIANCE, INC. (AIPRA), represented by its Secretary
General,RonaldD.Macaraig,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204126

KAAGAPAY NG NAGKAKAISANG AGILANG PILIPINONG MAGSASAKA (KAP), formerly known as AKO


AGILANGNAGKAKAISANGMAGSASAKA(AKOAGILA),representedbyitsSecretaryGeneral,LeoR.San
Buenaventura,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204139

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ALABNGMAMAMAHAYAG(ALAM),representedbyAtty.BerteniCataluaCausing,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204141

BANTAYPARTYLIST,representedbyMariaEvangelinaF.Palparan,President,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204153

PASANGMASDANATIONWIDEPARTYbyitsPresidentRoberto"KaObet"Martin,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondents.

xx

G.R.No.204158

ABROADPARTYLIST,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, CHAIRMAN SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., COMMISSIONERS RENE V.
SARMIENTO, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM, MARIA GRACIA
CIELO M. PADACA, LUCENITO TAGLE, AND ALL OTHER PERSONS ACTING ON THEIR BEHALF,
Respondents.

xx

G.R.No.204174

AANGATTAYOPARTYLISTPARTY,representedbyitsPresidentSimeonT.Silva,Jr.,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204216

COCOFEDPHILIPPINECOCONUTPRODUCERSFEDERATION,INC.,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204220

ABANGLINGKODPARTYLIST,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204236

FIRM24KASSOCIATION,INC.,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204238

ALLIANCEOFBICOLNONPARTY(ABP),Petitioner,
vs.
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COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204239

GREENFORCEFORTHEENVIRONMENTSONSANDDAUGHTERSOFMOTHEREARTH(GREENFORCE),
Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204240

AGRIAGRA NA REPORMA PARA SA MAGSASAKA NG PILIPINAS MOVEMENT (AGRI), represented by its


SecretaryGeneral,MichaelRyanA.Enriquez,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204263

ABLESSEDPARTYLISTA.K.A.BLESSEDFEDERATIONOFFARMERSANDFISHERMENINTERNATIONAL,
INC.,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204318

UNITEDMOVEMENTAGAINSTDRUGSFOUNDATION(UNIMAD)PARTYLIST,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204321

ANGAGRIKULTURANATINISULONG(AANI),representedbyitsSecretaryGeneralJoseC.Policarpio,Jr.,
Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204323

BAYANI PARTYLIST as represented byHomer Bueno, Fitrylin Dalhani,Israel de Castro, Dante Navarroand
GuilingMamondiong,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, CHAIRMAN SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR., COMMISSIONERS RENE V.
SARMIENTO, LUCENITO N. TAGLE, ARMANDO C. VELASCO, ELIAS R. YUSOPH, CHRISTIAN ROBERT S.
LIM,andMARIAGRACIACIELOM.PADACA,Respondents.

xx

G.R.No.204341

ACTIONLEAGUEOFINDIGENOUSMASSES(ALIM)PARTYLIST,representedhereinbyitsPresidentFatani
S.AbdulMalik,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204356
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BUTILFARMERSPARTY,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204358

ALLIANCEOFADVOCATESINMININGADVANCEMENTFORNATIONALPROGRESS(AAMA),Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204359

SOCIALMOVEMENTFORACTIVEREFORMANDTRANSPARENCY(SMART),representedbyitsChairman,
CarlitoB.Cubelo,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204364

ADHIKAIN AT KILUSAN NG ORDINARYONGTAO, PARA SA LUPA, PABAHAY, HANAPBUHAY AT


KAUNLARAN(AKOBUHAY),Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,SIXTOS.BRILLANTES,JR.,RENEV.SARMIENTO,LUCENITON.
TAGLE,ARMANDOC.VELASCO,ELIASR.YUSOPH,CHRISTIANROBERTS.LIM,andMA.GRACIACIELO
M.PADACA,intheircapacitiesasCommissionersthereof,Respondents.

xx

G.R.No.204367

AKBAYKALUSUGANINCORPORATION(AKIN),Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204370

AKOANBISAYA(AAB),representedbyitsSecretaryGeneral,RodolfoT.Tuazon,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204374

BINHIPARTIDONGMGAMAGSASAKAPARASAMGAMAGSASAKA,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204379

ALAGADNGSINING(ASIN)representedbyitsPresident,FayeMaybelleLorenz,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204394

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ASSOCIATION OF GUARD UTILITY HELPER, AIDER, RIDER, DRIVER/DOMESTIC HELPER, JANITOR,
AGENTANDNANNYOFTHEPHILIPPINES,INC.(GUARDJAN),Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204402

KALIKASAN PARTYLIST, represented by its President, Clemente G. Bautista, Jr., and Secretary General,
FrancesQ.Quimpo,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204408

PILIPINOASSOCIATIONFORCOUNTRYURBANPOORYOUTHADVANCEMENTANDWELFARE
(PACYAW),Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204410

1UNITEDTRANSPORTKOALISYON(1UTAK),Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204421

COALITIONOFASSOCIATIONSOFSENIORCITIZENSINTHEPHILIPPINES,INC.SENIORCITIZENPARTY
LIST,representedhereinbyits1stnomineeandChairman,FranciscoG.Datol,Jr.,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204425

COALITIONOFASSOCIATIONSOFSENIORCITIZENSINTHEPHILIPPINES,INC.,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and ANY OF ITS OFFICERS AND AGENTS, ACTING FOR AND IN ITS
BEHALF,INCLUDINGTHECHAIRANDMEMBERSOFTHECOMMISSION,Respondents.

xx

G.R.No.204426

ASSOCIATIONOFLOCALATHLETICSENTREPRENEURSANDHOBBYISTS,INC.(ALAEH),Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,SIXTOS.BRILLANTES,JR.,RENEV.SARMIENTO,LUCENITON.
TAGLE,ARMANDOC.VELASCO,ELIASR.YUSOPH,CHRISTIANROBERTS.LIM,andMA.GRACIACIELO
M.PADACA,intheirrespectivecapacitiesasCOMELECChairpersonandCommissioners,Respondents.

xx

G.R.No.204428

ANGGALINGPINOY(AG),representedbyitsSecretaryGeneral,BernardoR.Corella,Jr.,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

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G.R.No.204435

1ALLIANCEADVOCATINGAUTONOMYPARTY(1AAAP),Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204436

ABYANILONGGOPARTY(AI),representedbyitsPartyPresident,RolexT.Suplico,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204455

MANILATEACHERSAVINGSANDLOANASSOCIATION,INC.,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204484

PARTIDONGBAYANANGBIDA(PBB),representedbyitsSecretaryGeneral,RogerM.Federazo,Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204485

ALLIANCE OF ORGANIZATIONS, NETWORKS AND ASSOCIATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC. (ALONA),


Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204486

1stKABALIKATNGBAYANGINHAWANGSANGKATAUHAN(1stKABAGIS),Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONS,Respondent.

xx

G.R.No.204490

PILIPINASPARASAPINOY(PPP),Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONONELECTIONSENBANC,Respondent.

PERLASBERNABE,*

DECISION

CARPIO,J.:

TheCases

Thesecasesconstitute54PetitionsforCertiorari and Petitions for Certiorari and Prohibition1 filed by 52 partylist


groups and organizations assailing the Resolutions issued by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)
disqualifying them from participating in the 13 May 2013 partylist elections, either by denial of their petitions for
registration under the partylist system, or cancellation of their registration and accreditation as partylist
organizations.

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This Court resolved to consolidate the 54 petitions in the Resolutions dated 13 November 2012,2 20 November
2012,327November2012,44December2012,511December2012,6and19February2013.7

TheFactsPursuanttotheprovisionsofRepublicActNo.7941(R.A.No.7941)andCOMELECResolutionNos.
9366and9531,approximately280groupsandorganizationsregisteredandmanifestedtheirdesiretoparticipatein
the13May2013partylistelections.

G.R. SPPNo. Group GroundsforDenial


No.
A.ViatheCOMELECEnBancsautomaticreviewoftheCOMELEC
Divisionsresolutionsapprovingregistrationofgroups/organizations

Resolutiondated23November20128
1 204379 12099 Alagadng The"artists"sectorisnot
(PLM) Sining(ASIN) consideredmarginalizedand
underrepresented
Failuretoprovetrack
recordand
Failureofthenomineesto
qualifyunderRA7941and
AngBagongBayani.

OmnibusResolutiondated27November20129
2 204455 12041 ManilaTeachers Anonstocksavingsand
(PLM) Savingsand loanassociationcannotbe
Loan consideredmarginalizedand
Association,Inc. underrepresentedand
(Manila Thefirstandsecond
Teachers) nomineesarenotteachersby
profession.
3 204426 12011 Associationof Failuretoshowthatits
(PLM) LocalAthletics membersbelongtothe
Entrepreneurs marginalizedand
andHobbyists, Failureofthenomineesto
Inc.(ALAEH) qualify.

Resolutiondated27November201210
4 204435 12057 1Alliance Failureofthenomineesto
(PLM) Advocating qualify:althoughregistering
AutonomyParty asaregionalpoliticalparty,
(1AAAP) twoofthenomineesarenot
residentsoftheregionand
fourofthefivenomineesdo
notbelongtothe
marginalizedand
underrepresented.

Resolutiondated27November201211
5 204367 12104(PL) Akbay Failureofthegrouptoshow
Kalusugan thatitsnomineesbelongto
(AKIN),Inc. theurbanpoorsector.

Resolutiondated29November201212
6 204370 12011 AkoAnBisaya Failuretorepresenta
(PP) (AAB) marginalizedsectorof
society,despitetheformation
ofasectoralwingforthe
benefitoffarmersofRegion
8
Constituencyhasdistrict

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representatives
Lackoftrackrecordin
representingpeasantsand
farmersand
Nomineesareneither
farmersnorpeasants.

Resolutiondated4December201213
7 204436 12009 AbyanIlonggo Failuretoshowthatthe
(PP), Party(AI) partyrepresentsa
12165 marginalizedand
(PLM) underrepresentedsector,as
theProvinceofIloilohas
districtrepresentatives
Untruthfulstatementsinthe
memorandumand
Withdrawalofthreeofits
fivenominees.

Resolutiondated4December201214
8 204485 12175(PL) Allianceof Failuretoestablishthatthe
Organizations, groupcanrepresent14
NetworksandAssociations sectorsThesectorsof
of homeowners
thePhilippines, associations,entrepreneurs
Inc.(ALONA) andcooperativesarenot
marginalizedand
underrepresentedand
Thenomineesdonotbelong
tothemarginalizedand
underrepresented.
B.ViatheCOMELECEnBancsreviewonmotionforreconsideration
oftheCOMELECDivisionsresolutionsdenyingregistrationofgroups
andorganizations

Resolutiondated7November201215
9 204139 12127(PL) Alabng Failuretoprovetrack
Mamamahayag recordasanorganization
(ALAM) Failuretoshowthatthe
groupactuallyrepresentsthe
marginalizedand
underrepresentedand
Failuretoestablishthatthe
groupcanrepresentall
sectorsitseekstorepresent.

Resolutiondated7November201216
10 204402 12061 KalikasanPartyList Thegroupreflectsan
(PP) (KALIKASAN) advocacyforthe
environment,andisnot
representativeofthe
marginalizedand
underrepresented
Thereisnoproofthat
majorityofitsmembers
belongtothemarginalized
andunderrepresented
Thegrouprepresents
sectorswithconflicting
interestsand
Thenomineesdonotbelong
tothesectorwhichthegroup

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claimstorepresent.

Resolutiondated14November201217
11 204394 12145(PL) Associationof Failuretoprove
Guard,Utility membershipbaseandtrack
Helper,Aider, record
Rider,Driver/ Failuretopresentactivities
Domestic thatsufficientlybenefitedits
Helper, intendedconstituencyand
Janitor,Agent Thenomineesdonotbelong
and toanyofthesectorswhich
Nannyofthe thegroupseekstorepresent.
Philippines,Inc.
(GUARDJAN)

Resolutiondated5December201218
12 204490 12073 PilipinasParasa Failuretoshowthatthe
(PLM) Pinoy(PPP) grouprepresentsa
marginalizedand
underrepresentedsector,as
Region12hasdistrict
representativesand
Failuretoshowatrack
recordofundertaking
programsforthewelfareof
thesectorthegroupseeksto
represent.

In a Resolution dated 5 December 2012,19 the COMELEC En Banc affirmed the COMELEC Second Divisions
resolutiontograntPartidongBayanngBidas(PBB)registrationandaccreditationasapoliticalpartyintheNational
CapitalRegion.However,PBBwasdeniedparticipationinthe13May2013partylistelectionsbecausePBBdoes
not represent any "marginalized and underrepresented" sector PBB failed to apply for registration as a partylist
group and PBB failed to establish its track record as an organization that seeks to uplift the lives of the
"marginalizedandunderrepresented."20
These 13 petitioners (ASIN, Manila Teachers, ALAEH, 1AAAP, AKIN, AAB, AI, ALONA, ALAM, KALIKASAN,
GUARDJAN,PPP,andPBB)werenotabletosecureamandatoryinjunctionfromthisCourt.TheCOMELEC,on7
January2013issuedResolutionNo.9604,21andexcludedthenamesofthese13petitionersintheprintingofthe
officialballotforthe13May2013partylistelections.
Pursuant to paragraph 222 of Resolution No. 9513, the COMELEC En Banc scheduled summary evidentiary
hearingstodeterminewhetherthegroupsandorganizationsthatfiledmanifestationsofintenttoparticipateinthe13
May 2013 partylist elections have continually complied with the requirements of R.A. No. 7941 and Ang Bagong
BayaniOFWLaborPartyv.COMELEC23 (Ang Bagong Bayani). The COMELEC disqualified the following groups
andorganizationsfromparticipatinginthe13May2013partylistelections:

G.R. SPP Group GroundsforDenial


No. No.

Resolutiondated10October201224
1 203818 12 AKOBicol Retainedregistrationand
19 154 PoliticalParty accreditationasapolitical
(PLM) (AKB) party,butdeniedparticipation
12 intheMay2013partylist
177 elections
(PLM) Failuretorepresentany
marginalizedand
underrepresentedsector
TheBicolregionalready
hasrepresentativesin
Congressand
Thenomineesarenot
marginalizedand
underrepresented.
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OmnibusResolutiondated11October201225

2 203766 12 AtongPaglaum, Cancelledregistrationand


161 Inc.(Atong accreditation
(PLM) Paglaum) Thenomineesdonotbelong
tothesectorswhichtheparty
representsand
Thepartyfailedtofileits
StatementofContributions
andExpendituresforthe
2010Elections.
3 203981 12 Associationfor Cancelledregistrationand
187 Righteousness accreditation
(PLM) Advocacyon Failuretocomply,andfor
Leadership violationofelectionlaws
(ARAL) Thenomineesdonot
representthesectorswhich
thepartyrepresentsand
Thereisdoubtthattheparty
isorganizedforreligious
purposes.
4 204002 12 Alliancefor Cancelledregistrationand
188 RuralConcerns accreditation
(PLM) (ARC) Failureofthenomineesto
qualifyand
Failureofthepartytoprove
thatmajorityofitsmembers
belongtothesectorsitseeks
torepresent.

5 204318 12 United Cancelledregistrationand


220 Movement accreditation
(PLM) AgainstDrugs Thesectorsofdrug
Foundation counsellorsandlecturers,
(UNIMAD) veteransandtheyouth,are
notmarginalizedand
underrepresented
Failuretoestablishtrack
recordand
Failureofthenomineesto
qualifyasrepresentativesof
theyouthandyoungurban
professionals.

OmnibusResolutiondated16October201226
6 204100 12 1BroPhilippine Cancelledregistration
196 Guardians Failuretodefinethesector
(PLM) Brotherhood, itseekstorepresentand
Inc.(1BROPGBI) Thenomineesdonotbelong
toamarginalizedand
underrepresentedsector.
7 204122 12 1Guardians Cancelledregistration
223 Nationalist Thepartyisamilitary
(PLM) Philippines,Inc. fraternity
(1GANAP/ Thesectorofcommunity
GUARDIANS) volunteerworkersistoo
broadtoallowformeaningful
representationand
Thenomineesdonotappear
tobelongtothesectorof
communityvolunteer
workers.

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8 20426 12 Blessed Cancelledregistration
257 Federationof Threeoftheseven
(PLM) Farmersand nomineesdonotbelongto
Fishermen thesectoroffarmersand
International, fishermen,thesectorsought
Inc.(A toberepresentedand
BLESSED Noneofthenomineesare
PartyList) registeredvotersofRegion
XI,theregionsoughttobe
represented.

Resolutiondated16October201227
9 203960 12 1st Cancelledregistration
260 Consumers Thesectorofruralenergy
(PLM) Alliancefor consumersisnot
RuralEnergy, marginalizedand
Inc.(1CARE) underrepresented
Thepartystrackrecordis
relatedtoelectric
cooperativesandnotrural
energyconsumersand
Thenomineesdonotbelong
tothesectorofruralenergy
consumers.

Resolutiondated16October201228
10 203922 12 Associationof Cancelledregistrationand
201 Philippine accreditation
(PLM) Electric Failuretorepresenta
Cooperatives marginalizedand
(APEC) underrepresentedsectorand
Thenomineesdonotbelong
tothesectorthattheparty
claimstorepresent.

Resolutiondated23October201229
11 204174 12 AangatTayo Cancelledregistrationand
232 PartyListParty accreditation
(PLM) (AT) Theincumbent
representativeinCongress
failedtoauthororsponsor
billsthatarebeneficialtothe
sectorsthattheparty
represents(women,elderly,
youth,urbanpoor)and
Thenomineesdonotbelong
tothemarginalizedsectors
thatthepartyseeksto
represent.

OmnibusResolutiondated24October201230
12 203976 12 Alliancefor Cancelledregistrationand
288 Ruraland accreditation
(PLM) Agrarian Theinterestsofthepeasant
Reconstruction, andurbanpoorsectorsthat
Inc.(ARARO) thepartyrepresentsdiffer
Thenomineesdonotbelong
tothesectorsthattheparty
seekstorepresent
Failuretoshowthatthreeof
thenomineesarebonafide
partymembersand
LackofaBoardresolution
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toparticipateinthepartylist
elections.

OmnibusResolutiondated24October201231

13 204240 12 AgriAgrana Cancelledregistration


279 RepormaParasa Thepartyceasedtoexistfor
(PLM) Magsasakang morethanayearimmediately
Pilipinas aftertheMay2010elections
Movement Thenomineesdonotbelong
(AGRI) tothesectorofpeasantsand
farmersthatthepartyseeksto
represent
Onlyfournomineeswere
submittedtotheCOMELEC
and
Failuretoshowmeaningful
activitiesforitsconstituency.
14 203936 12 Aksyon Cancelledregistration
248 MagsasakaPartido Failuretoshowthat
(PLM) Tinigng majorityofitsmembersare
Masa(AKMAPTM) marginalizedand
underrepresented
Failuretoprovethatfourof
itsninenomineesactually
belongtothefarmerssector
and
Failuretoshowthatfiveof
itsninenomineesworkon
upliftingthelivesofthe
membersofthesector.
15 204126 12 Kaagapayng Cancelledregistration
263 Nagkakaisang TheManifestationofIntent
(PLM) Agilang andCertificateofNomination
Pilipinong werenotsignedbyan
Magsasaka appropriateofficerofthe
(KAP) party
Failuretoshowtrackrecord
forthefarmersandpeasants
sectorand
Failuretoshowthat
nomineesactuallybelongto
thesector,orthattheyhave
undertakenmeaningful
activitiesforthesector.
16 204364 12 Adhikainat Cancelledregistration
180 Kilusanng Failuretoshowthat
(PLM) Ordinaryong nomineesactuallybelongto
TaoParasa thesector,orthattheyhave
Lupa,Pabahay, undertakenmeaningful
Hanapbuhayat activitiesforthesector.
Kaunlaran
(AKOBAHAY)
17 204141 12 TheTrue Cancelledregistration
229 MarcosLoyalist Failuretoshowthat
(PLM) (forGod, majorityofitsmembersare
Countryand marginalizedand
People) underrepresentedand
Associationof Failuretoprovethattwoof
thePhilippines, itsnomineesactuallybelong
Inc.(BANTAY) tothemarginalizedand
underrepresented.

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18 204408 12 Pilipino Cancelledregistration
217 Associationfor Changeofsector(from
(PLM) CountryUrban urbanpooryouthtourban
PoorYouth poor)necessitatesanew
Advancement application
andWelfare Failuretoshowtrackrecord
(PACYAW) forthemarginalizedand
underrepresented
Failuretoprovethat
majorityofitsmembersand
officersarefromtheurban
poorsectorand
Thenomineesarenot
membersoftheurbanpoor
sector.
19 204153 12 PasangMasda Cancelledregistration
277 Nationwide Thepartyrepresentsdrivers
(PLM) Party(PASANG andoperators,whomayhave
MASDA) conflictinginterestsand
Nomineesareeither
operatorsorformeroperators.
20 203958 12 Kapatiranng Cancelledregistration
015 mgaNakulong Failuretoprovethat
(PLM) naWalangSala, naWalangSala,
Inc.(KAKUSA) Inc.(KAKUSA)
majorityofitsofficersand
membersbelongtothe
marginalizedand
underrepresented
Theincumbent
representativeinCongress
failedtoauthororsponsor
billsthatarebeneficialtothe
sectorthattheparty
represents(persons
imprisonedwithoutproofof
guiltbeyondreasonable
doubt)
Failuretoshowtrackrecord
forthemarginalizedand
underrepresentedand
Thenomineesdidnot
appeartobemarginalizedand
underrepresented.

Resolutiondated30October201232
21 204428 12 AngGaling Cancelledregistrationand
256 Pinoy(AG) accreditation
(PLM) Failuretoattendthe
summaryhearing
Failuretoshowtrackrecord
forthemarginalizedand
underrepresentedand
Thenomineesdidnot
appeartobemarginalizedand
underrepresented.

Resolutiondated7November201233
22 204094 12 Alliancefor Cancelledregistrationand
185 Nationalismand accreditation
(PLM) Democracy Failuretorepresentan
(ANAD) identifiablemarginalizedand
underrepresentedsector
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Onlythreenomineeswere
submittedtotheCOMELEC
Thenomineesdonot
belongtothemarginalized
andunderrepresentedand
Failuretosubmitits
StatementofContribution
andExpendituresforthe
2007Elections.

OmnibusResolutiondated7November201234
23 204239 12 GreenForcefor Cancelledregistrationand
060 theEnvironment accreditation
(PLM) Sonsand Thepartyisanadvocacy
Daughtersof groupanddoesnotrepresent
MotherEarth themarginalizedand
(GREENFORCE) underrepresented
Failuretocomplywiththe
trackrecordrequirementand
Thenomineesarenot
marginalizedcitizens.
24 204236 12 Firm24K Cancelledregistrationand
254 Association,Inc. accreditation
(PLM) (FIRM24K) Thenomineesdonot
belongtothesectorthatthe
partyseekstorepresent
(urbanpoorandpeasantsof
theNationalCapitalRegion)
Onlytwoofitsnominees
resideintheNationalCapital
Regionand
Failuretocomplywiththe
trackrecordrequirement.

25 204341 12 ActionLeague Cancelledregistrationand


269 ofIndigenous accreditation
(PLM) Masses(ALIM) Failuretoestablishthatits
nomineesaremembersofthe
indigenouspeopleinthe
MindanaoandCordilleras
sectorthatthepartyseeksto
represent
Onlytwoofthepartys
nomineesresideinthe
MindanaoandCordilleras
and
Threeofthenomineesdo
notappeartobelongtothe
marginalized.

Resolutiondated7November201235
26 204358 12 Allianceof Cancelledregistration
204 Advocatesin Thesectoritrepresentsisa
(PLM) Mining specificallydefinedgroup
Advancement whichmaynotbeallowed
forNational registrationunderthepartylistsystemand
Progress Failuretoestablishthatthe
(AAMA) nomineesactuallybelongto
thesector.

Resolutiondated7November201236
27 204359 12 Social Cancelledregistration
272 Movementfor Thenomineesare

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(PLM) ActiveReform disqualifiedfrom
and representingthesectorsthat
Transparency thepartyrepresents
(SMART) Failuretocomplywiththe
trackrecordrequirementand
Thereisdoubtastowhether
majorityofitsmembersare
marginalizedand
underrepresented.

Resolutiondated7November201237
28 204238 12 Allianceof Cancelledregistrationand
173 BicolnonParty accreditation
(PLM) (ABP) Defectiveregistrationand
accreditationdatingbackto
2010
Failuretorepresentany
sectorand
Failuretoestablishthatthe
nomineesareemployedintheconstruction
industry,the
sectoritclaimstorepresent.

Resolutiondated7November201238
29 204323 12 BayaniParty Cancelledregistrationand
210 List(BAYANI) accreditation
(PLM) Failuretoproveatrack
recordoftryingtoupliftthe
marginalizedand
underrepresentedsectorof
professionalsand
Onenomineewasdeclared
unqualifiedtorepresentthe
sectorofprofessionals.

Resolutiondated7November201239
30 204321 12 AngAgrikultura Cancelledregistrationand
252 NatinIsulong accreditation
(PLM) (AANI) Failuretoestablishatrack
recordofenhancingthelives
ofthemarginalizedand
underrepresentedfarmers
whichitclaimstorepresent
and
Morethanamajorityofthe
partysnomineesdonot
belongtothefarmerssector.

Resolutiondated7November201240
31 204125 12 Agapayng Cancelledregistrationand
292 Indigenous accreditation
(PLM) PeoplesRights Failuretoprovethatitsfive
Alliance,Inc. nomineesaremembersofthe
(AIPRA) indigenouspeoplesector
Failuretoprovethatitsfive
nomineesactively
participatedinthe
undertakingsofthepartyand
Failuretoprovethatitsfivenomineesare
bonafide
members.

Resolutiondated7November201241
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32 204216 12 Philippine Cancelledregistrationand


202 Coconut accreditation
(PLM) Producers Thepartyisaffiliatedwith
Federation,Inc. privateandgovernment
(COCOFED) agenciesandisnot
marginalized
Thepartyisassistedbythe
governmentinvarious
projectsand
Thenomineesarenot
membersofthemarginalized
sectorofcoconutfarmersand
producers.

Resolutiondated7November201242
33 204220 12 AbangLingkod Cancelledregistration
238 PartyList Failuretoestablishatrack
(PLM) (ABANG recordofcontinuously
LINGKOD) representingthepeasant
farmerssector
Failuretoshowthatits
membersactuallybelongto
thepeasantfarmerssector
and
Failuretoshowthatits
nomineesaremarginalized
andunderrepresented,have
activelyparticipatedin
programsforthe
advancementoffarmers,and
adheretoitsadvocacies.

Resolutiondated14November201243

34 204158 12 Action Cancelledregistrationand


158 BrotherhoodforActive accreditationFailuretoshowthatthe
(PLM) Dreamers,Inc. partyisactuallyableto
(ABROAD) representallofthesectorsit
claimstorepresent
Failuretoshowacomplete
trackrecordofitsactivities
sinceitsregistrationand
Thenomineesarenotpart
ofanyofthesectorswhich
thepartyseekstorepresent.

Resolutiondated28November201244
35 204374 12 BinhiPartidong Cancelledregistrationand
228 mgaMagsasaka accreditation
(PLM) Parasamga Thepartyreceives
Magsasaka assistancefromthe
(BINHI) governmentthroughthe
DepartmentofAgriculture
and
Failuretoprovethatthe
groupismarginalizedand
underrepresented.

Resolutiondated28November201245
36 204356 12 ButilFarmers Cancelledregistrationand
136 Party(BUTIL) accreditation
(PLM) Failuretoestablishthatthe
agricultureandcooperative
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sectorsaremarginalizedand
underrepresentedand
Thepartysnominees
neitherappeartobelongto
thesectorstheyseekto
represent,nortohave
activelyparticipatedinthe
undertakingsoftheparty.

Resolutiondated3December201246
37 204486 12 1st Cancelledregistrationand
194 Kabalikatng accreditation
(PLM) Bayan Declarationofuntruthful
Ginhawang statements
Sangkatauhan Failuretoexistforatleast
(1st oneyearand
KABAGIS) Noneofitsnominees
belongtothelabor,
fisherfolk,andurbanpoor
indigenouscultural
communitiessectorswhichit
seekstorepresent.

Resolutiondated4December201247
38 204410 12 1United Cancelledaccreditation
198 Transport Thepartyrepresentsdrivers
(PLM) Koalisyon(1UTAK) andoperators,whomayhave
conflictinginterestsand
Thepartysnomineesdonot
belongtoanymarginalized
andunderrepresentedsector.

Resolutiondated4December201248
39 204421, 12 Coalitionof Cancelledregistration
204425 157 SeniorCitizens Thepartyviolatedelection
(PLM), inthe lawsbecauseitsnominees
12 Philippines,Inc. hadatermsharing
191 (SENIOR agreement.
(PLM) CITIZENS)

These 39 petitioners (AKB, Atong Paglaum, ARAL, ARC, UNIMAD, 1BROPGBI, 1GANAP/GUARDIANS, A
BLESSED PartyList, 1CARE, APEC, AT, ARARO, AGRI, AKMAPTM, KAP, AKOBAHAY, BANTAY, PACYAW,
PASANGMASDA,KAKUSA,AG,ANAD,GREENFORCE,FIRM24K,ALIM,AAMA,SMART,ABP,BAYANI,AANI,
AIPRA, COCOFED, ABANG LINGKOD, ABROAD, BINHI, BUTIL, 1st KABAGIS, 1UTAK, SENIOR CITIZENS)
wereabletosecureamandatoryinjunctionfromthisCourt,directingtheCOMELECtoincludethenamesofthese
39petitionersintheprintingoftheofficialballotforthe13May2013partylistelections.
Petitionersprayedfortheissuanceofatemporaryrestrainingorderand/orwritofpreliminaryinjunction.ThisCourt
issuedStatusQuoAnteOrdersinallpetitions.ThisDecisiongovernsonlythe54consolidatedpetitionsthatwere
grantedStatusQuoAnteOrders,namely:

G.R.No. SPPNo. Group


Resolutiondated13November2012
20381819 12154 AKOBicolPoliticalParty(AKB)
(PLM)
12177
(PLM)
203981 12187 AssociationforRighteousnessAdvocacyon
(PLM) Leadership(ARAL)
204002 12188 AllianceforRuralConcerns(ARC)
(PLM)
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203922 12201 AssociationofPhilippineElectricCooperatives


(PLM) (APEC)
203960 12260 1st
(PLM) ConsumersAllianceforRuralEnergy,Inc.
(1CARE)
203936 12248 AksyonMagsasakaPartidoTinigngMasa
(PLM) (AKMAPTM)

203958 12015 KapatiranngmgaNakulongnaWalangSala,


(PLM) Inc.(KAKUSA)
203976 12288 AllianceforRuralandAgrarianReconstruction,
(PLM) Inc.(ARARO)
Resolutiondated20November2012
204094 12185 AllianceforNationalismandDemocracy
(PLM) (ANAD)
204125 12292 AgapayngIndigenousPeoplesRightsAlliance,
(PLM) Inc.(AIPRA)
204100 12196 1BroPhilippineGuardiansBrotherhood,Inc.
(PLM) (1BROPGBI)
Resolutiondated27November2012
204141 12229 TheTrueMarcosLoyalist(forGod,Country
(PLM) andPeople)AssociationofthePhilippines,Inc.
(BANTAY)
204240 12279 AgriAgranaRepormaParasaMagsasakang
(PLM) PilipinasMovement(AGRI)
204216 12202 PhilippineCoconutProducersFederation,Inc.
(PLM) (COCOFED)

204158 12158 ActionBrotherhoodforActiveDreamer,Inc.


(PLM) (ABROAD)
Resolutionsdated4December2012
204122 12223 1GuardiansNationalistPhilippines,Inc.
(PLM) (1GANAP/GUARDIANS)
203766 12161 AtongPaglaum,Inc.(AtongPaglaum)
(PLM)
204318 12220 UnitedMovementAgainstDrugsFoundation
(PLM) (UNIMAD)
204263 12257 BlessedFederationofFarmersandFishermen
(PLM) International,Inc.(ABLESSEDPartyList)
204174 12232 AangatTayoPartyListParty(AT)
(PLM)
204126 12263 KaagapayngNagkakaisangAgilangPilipinong
(PLM) Magsasaka(KAP)
204364 12180 AdhikainatKilusanngOrdinaryongTaoParasa
(PLM) Lupa,Pabahay,HanapbuhayatKaunlaran
(AKOBAHAY)

204139 12127(PL) AlabngMamamahayag(ALAM)


204220 12238 AbangLingkodPartyList(ABANG
(PLM) LINGKOD)

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204236 12254 Firm24KAssociation,Inc.(FIRM24K)
(PLM)
204238 12173 AllianceofBicolnonParty(ABP)
(PLM)
204239 12060 GreenForcefortheEnvironmentSonsand
(PLM) DaughtersofMotherEarth(GREENFORCE)

204321 12252 AngAgrikulturaNatinIsulong(AANI)


(PLM)
204323 12210 BayaniPartyList(BAYANI)
(PLM)
204341 12269 ActionLeagueofIndigenousMasses(ALIM)
(PLM)

204358 12204 AllianceofAdvocatesinMiningAdvancement


(PLM) forNationalProgress(AAMA)
204359 12272 SocialMovementforActiveReformand
(PLM) Transparency(SMART)
204356 12136 ButilFarmersParty(BUTIL)
(PLM)

Resolutiondated11December2012
204402 12061(PL) KalikasanPartyList(KALIKASAN)
204394 12145(PL) AssociationofGuard,UtilityHelper,Aider,
Rider,Driver/DomesticHelper,Janitor,Agent
andNannyofthePhilippines,Inc.
(GUARDJAN)

204408 12217 PilipinoAssociationforCountryUrbanPoor


(PLM) YouthAdvancementandWelfare(PACYAW)
204428 12256 AngGalingPinoy(AG)
(PLM)
204490 12073 PilipinasParasaPinoy(PPP)
(PLM)

204379 12099 AlagadngSining(ASIN)


(PLM)
204367 12104(PL) AkbayKalusugan(AKIN)
204426 12011 AssociationofLocalAthleticsEntrepreneurs
(PLM) andHobbyists,Inc.(ALAEH)
204455 12041 ManilaTeachersSavingsandLoanAssociation,
(PLM) Inc.(ManilaTeachers)
204374 12228 BinhiPartidongmgaMagsasakaParasamga
(PLM) Magsasaka(BINHI)
204370 12011(PP) AkoAnBisaya(AAB)
204435 12057 1AllianceAdvocatingAutonomyParty
(PLM) (1AAAP)
204486 12194 1stKabalikatngBayanGinhawang
(PLM) Sangkatauhan(1stKABAGIS)
204410 12198 1UnitedTransportKoalisyon(1UTAK)
(PLM)
204421, 12157 CoalitionofSeniorCitizensinthePhilippines,
204425 (PLM) Inc.(SENIORCITIZENS)
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12191
(PLM)

204436 12009(PP), AbyanIlonggoParty(AI)


12165
(PLM)
204485 12175(PL) AllianceofOrganizations,Networksand
AssociationsofthePhilippines,Inc.(ALONA)
204484 11002 PartidongBayanngBida(PBB)
Resolutiondated11December2012
204153 12277 PasangMasdaNationwideParty(PASANG
(PLM) MASDA)

TheIssues

Weruleupontwoissues:first, whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excessofjurisdictionindisqualifyingpetitionersfromparticipatinginthe13May2013partylistelections,eitherby
denialoftheirnewpetitionsforregistrationunderthepartylistsystem,orbycancellationoftheirexistingregistration
andaccreditationaspartylistorganizationsandsecond,whetherthecriteriaforparticipatinginthepartylistsystem
laid down in Ang Bagong Bayani and Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency v.
Commission on Elections49 (BANAT) should be applied by the COMELEC in the coming 13 May 2013 partylist
elections.

TheCourtsRuling

WeholdthattheCOMELECdidnotcommitgraveabuseofdiscretioninfollowingprevailingdecisionsofthisCourt
in disqualifying petitioners from participating in the coming 13 May 2013 partylist elections. However, since the
CourtadoptsinthisDecisionnewparametersinthequalificationofnational,regional,andsectoralpartiesunderthe
partylist system, thereby abandoning the rulings in the decisions applied by the COMELEC in disqualifying
petitioners,weremandtotheCOMELECallthepresentpetitionsfortheCOMELECtodeterminewhoarequalified
toregisterunderthepartylistsystem,andtoparticipateinthecoming13May2013partylistelections,underthe
newparametersprescribedinthisDecision.

ThePartyListSystem

The1987Constitutionprovidesthebasisforthepartylistsystemofrepresentation.Simplyput,thepartylistsystem
isintendedtodemocratizepoliticalpowerbygivingpoliticalpartiesthatcannotwininlegislativedistrictelectionsa
chance to win seats in the House of Representatives.50 The voter elects two representatives in the House of
Representatives:oneforhisorherlegislativedistrict,andanotherforhisorherpartylistgroupororganizationof
choice.The1987Constitutionprovides:

Section5,ArticleVI

(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,andonthebasisofauniformandprogressiveratio,andthosewho,asprovidedbylaw,shallbe
electedthroughapartylistsystemofregisterednational,regional,andsectoralpartiesororganizations.

(2) The partylist representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives
includingthoseunderthepartylist.ForthreeconsecutivetermsaftertheratificationofthisConstitution,one
half of the seats allocated to partylist representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or
electionfromthelabor,peasant,urbanpoor,indigenousculturalcommunities,women,youth,andsuchother
sectorsasmaybeprovidedbylaw,exceptthereligioussector.

Sections7and8,ArticleIXC

Sec.7.Novotescastinfavorofapoliticalparty,organization,orcoalitionshallbevalid,exceptforthoseregistered
underthepartylistsystemasprovidedinthisConstitution.

Sec.8.Politicalparties,ororganizationsorcoalitionsregisteredunderthepartylistsystem,shallnotberepresented
in the voters registration boards, boards of election inspectors, boards of canvassers, or other similar bodies.
However,theyshallbeentitledtoappointpollwatchersinaccordancewithlaw.

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CommissionerChristianS.Monsod,themainsponsorofthepartylistsystem,stressedthat"thepartylistsystem
is not synonymous with that of the sectoral representation."51 The constitutional provisions on the partylist
systemshouldbereadinlightofthefollowingdiscussionamongitsframers:

MR.MONSOD:xxx.

Iwouldliketomakeadistinctionfromthebeginningthattheproposalforthepartylistsystemisnotsynonymous
with that of the sectoral representation. Precisely, the party list system seeks to avoid the dilemma of choice of
sectorsandwhoconstitutethemembersofthesectors.Inmakingtheproposalonthepartylistsystem,wewere
madeawareoftheproblemspreciselycitedbyCommissionerBacaniofwhichsectorswillhavereservedseats.In
effect,asectoralrepresentationintheAssemblywouldmeanthatcertainsectorswouldhavereservedseatsthat
theywillchooseamongthemselveswhowouldsitinthosereservedseats.Andthen,wehavetheproblemofwhich
sector because as we will notice in Proclamation No. 9, the sectors cited were the farmers, fishermen, workers,
students,professionals,business,military,academic,ethnicandothersimilargroups.Sothesearetheninesectors
thatwereidentifiedhereas"sectoralrepresentatives"toberepresentedinthisCommission.Theproblemwehadin
trying to approach sectoral representation in the Assembly was whether to stop at these nine sectors or include
othersectors.Andwewentthroughtheexerciseinacaucusofwhichsectorshouldbeincludedwhichwentupto14
sectors.Andasweallknow,thelongerwemakeourenumeration,themorelimitingthelawbecomebecausewhen
wemakeanenumerationweexcludethosewhoarenotintheenumeration.Second,wehadtheproblemofwho
comprisethefarmers.Letusjustsaythefarmersandthelaborers.Thesedays,therearemanycitizenswhoare
called "hyphenated citizens." A doctor may be a farmer a lawyer may also be a farmer. And so, it is up to the
discretionofthepersontosay"Iamafarmer"sohewouldbeincludedinthatsector.

ThethirdproblemisthatwhenwegointoareservedseatsystemofsectoralrepresentationintheAssembly,we
are, in effect, giving some people two votes and other people one vote. We sought to avoid these problems by
presenting a party list system. Under the party list system, there are no reserved seats for sectors. Let us say,
laborers and farmers can form a sectoral party or a sectoral organization that will then register and present
candidatesoftheirparty.Howdothemechanicsgo?Essentially,underthepartylistsystem,everyvoterhastwo
votes, so there is no discrimination. First, he will vote for the representative of his legislative district. That is one
vote.Inthatsameballot,hewillbeasked:Whatpartyororganizationorcoalitiondoyouwishtoberepresentedin
theAssembly?Andherewillbeattachedalistoftheparties,organizationsorcoalitionsthathavebeenregistered
withtheCOMELECandareentitledtobeputinthatlist.Thiscanbearegionalparty,asectoralparty,anational
party, UNIDO, Magsasaka or a regional party in Mindanao. One need not be a farmer to say that he wants the
farmers' party to be represented in the Assembly. Any citizen can vote for any party. At the end of the day, the
COMELECwillthentabulatethevotesthathadbeengarneredbyeachpartyoreachorganizationonedoesnot
have to be a political party and register in order to participate as a party and count the votes and from there
derivethepercentageofthevotesthathadbeencastinfavorofaparty,organizationorcoalition.

WhensuchpartiesregisterwiththeCOMELEC,weareassumingthat50ofthe250seatswillbeforthepartylist
system.So,wehavealimitof30percentof50.Thatmeansthatthemaximumthatanypartycangetoutofthese
50 seats is 15. When the parties register they then submit a list of 15 names. They have to submit these names
because these nominees have to meet the minimum qualifications of a Member of the National Assembly. At the
endoftheday,whenthevotesaretabulated,onegetsthepercentages.Letussay,UNIDOgets10percentor15
percentofthevotesKMUgets5percentawomenspartygets21/2percentandanybodywhohasatleast21/2
percent of the vote qualifies and the 50 seats are apportioned among all of these parties who get at least 2 1/2
percentofthevote.

Whatdoesthatmean?Itmeansthatanygrouporpartywhohasaconstituencyof,say,500,000nationwidegetsa
seatintheNationalAssembly.Whatisthejustificationforthat?Whenweallocatelegislativedistricts,wearesaying
that any district that has 200,000 votes gets a seat. There is no reason why a group that has a national
constituency,evenifitisasectoralorspecialinterestgroup,shouldnothaveavoiceintheNationalAssembly.It
alsomeansthat,letussay,therearethreeorfourlaborgroups,theyallregisterasapartyorasagroup.Ifeachof
themgetsonlyonepercentorfiveofthemgetonepercent,theyarenotentitledtoanyrepresentative.So,theywill
begintothinkthatiftheyreallyhaveacommoninterest,theyshouldbandtogether,formacoalitionandgetfive
percentofthevoteand,therefore,havetwoseatsintheAssembly.Thosearethedynamicsofapartylistsystem.

Wefeelthatthisapproachgetsaroundthemechanicsofsectoralrepresentationwhileatthesametimemakingsure
thatthosewhoreallyhaveanationalconstituencyorsectoralconstituencywillgetachancetohaveaseatinthe
National Assembly. These sectors or these groups may not have the constituency to win a seat on a legislative
districtbasis.Theymaynotbeabletowinaseatonadistrictbasisbutsurely,theywillhavevotesonanationwide
basis.

The purpose of this is to open the system. In the past elections, we found out that there were certain groups or
partiesthat,ifwecounttheirvotesnationwidehaveabout1,000,000or1,500,000votes.Buttheywerealwaysthird
placeorfourthplaceineachofthedistricts.So,theyhavenovoiceintheAssembly.Butthisway,theywouldhave
fiveorsixrepresentativesintheAssemblyeveniftheywouldnotwinindividuallyinlegislativedistricts.So,thatis

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essentiallythemechanics,thepurposeandobjectivesofthepartylistsystem.

BISHOPBACANI:MadamPresident,amIrightininterpretingthatwhenwespeaknowofpartylistsystemthough
werefertosectors,wewouldbereferringtosectoralpartylistratherthansectorsandpartylist?

MR. MONSOD: As a matter of fact, if this body accepts the party list system, we do not even have to mention
sectorsbecausethesectorswouldbeincludedinthepartylistsystem.Theycanbesectoralpartieswithinthe
partylistsystem.

xxxx

MR.MONSOD.MadamPresident,Ijustwanttosaythatwesuggestedorproposedthepartylistsystembecause
we wanted to open up the political system to a pluralistic society through a multiparty system. x x x We are for
opening up the system, and we would like very much for the sectors to be there. That is why one of the
waystodothatistoputaceilingonthenumberofrepresentativesfromanysinglepartythatcansitwithin
the50allocatedunderthepartylistsystem.xxx.

xxx

MR. MONSOD. Madam President, the candidacy for the 198 seats is not limited to political parties. My
question is this: Are we going to classify for example Christian Democrats and Social Democrats as
politicalparties?Cantheyrununderthepartylistconceptormusttheybeunderthedistrictlegislationside
ofitonly?

MR. VILLACORTA. In reply to that query, I think these parties that the Commissioner mentioned can field
candidatesfortheSenateaswellasfortheHouseofRepresentatives.Likewise,theycanalsofieldsectoral
candidatesforthe20percentor30percent,whicheverisadopted,oftheseatsthatweareallocatingunder
thepartylistsystem.

MR.MONSOD.Inotherwords,theChristianDemocratscanfielddistrictcandidatesandcanalsoparticipate
inthepartylistsystem?

MR. VILLACORTA. Why not? When they come to the party list system, they will be fielding only sectoral
candidates.

MR.MONSOD.MayIbeclarifiedonthat?CanUNIDOparticipateinthepartylistsystem?

MR. VILLACORTA. Yes, why not? For as long as they field candidates who come from the different
marginalizedsectorsthatweshalldesignateinthisConstitution.

MR. MONSOD. Suppose Senator Taada wants to run under BAYAN group and says that he represents the
farmers,wouldhequalify?

MR.VILLACORTA.No,SenatorTaadawouldnotqualify.

MR. MONSOD. But UNIDO can field candidates under the party list system and say Juan dela Cruz is a farmer.
Whowouldpassonwhetherheisafarmerornot?

MR. TADEO. Kay Commissioner Monsod, gusto ko lamang linawin ito. Political parties, particularly minority
politicalparties,arenotprohibitedtoparticipateinthepartylistelectioniftheycanprovethattheyarealso
organizedalongsectorallines.

MR.MONSOD.WhattheCommissionerissayingisthatallpoliticalpartiescanparticipatebecauseitisprecisely
thecontentionofpoliticalpartiesthattheyrepresentthebroadbaseofcitizensandthatallsectorsarerepresented
inthem.WouldtheCommissioneragree?

MR.TADEO.Angpuntolamangnamin,pagpinayaganmoangUNIDOnaisangpoliticalparty,itwilldominatethe
partylistatmawawalangsaysaydinyungsector.Lalamuninmismongpoliticalpartiesangpartylistsystem.Gusto
kolamangbigyanngdiinang"reserve."Hindiitoreserveseatsamarginalizedsectors.Kungtitingnannatinitong
198seats,reserveddinitosapoliticalparties.

MR.MONSOD.Hindiporeservediyonkasianybodycanrunthere.ButmyquestiontoCommissionerVillacortaand
probablyalsotoCommissionerTadeoisthatunderthissystem,wouldUNIDObebannedfromrunningunderthe
partylistsystem?

MR.VILLACORTA.No,asIsaid,UNIDOmayfieldsectoralcandidates.Onthatconditionalone,UNIDOmay
beallowedtoregisterforthepartylistsystem.

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MR.MONSOD.MayIinquirefromCommissionerTadeoifhesharesthatanswer?

MR.TADEO.Thesame.

MR.VILLACORTA.PuwedepoangUNIDO,perosasectorallines.

MR. MONSOD: Sino po ang magsasabi kung iyong kandidato ng UNIDO ay hindi talagang labor leader or isang
laborer?Halimbawa,abogadoito.

MR.TADEO:Iyongmechanics.

MR. MONSOD: Hindi po mechanics iyon because we are trying to solve an inherent problem of sectoral
representation.Myquestionis:SupposeUNIDOfieldsalaborleader,wouldhequalify?

MR. TADEO: The COMELEC may look into the truth of whether or not a political party is really organized
along a specific sectoral line. If such is verified or confirmed, the political party may submit a list of
individualswhoareactuallymembersofsuchsectors.Thelistsaretobepublishedtogiveindividualsor
organizationsbelongingtosuchsectorthechancetopresentevidencecontradictingclaimsofmembership
inthesaidsectorortoquestiontheclaimsoftheexistenceofsuchsectoralorganizationsorparties.This
proceeding shall be conducted by the COMELEC and shall be summary in character. In other words,
COMELECdecisionsonthismatterarefinalandunappealable.52(Emphasissupplied)

Indisputably,theframersofthe1987Constitutionintendedthepartylistsystemtoincludenotonlysectoralparties
butalsononsectoralparties.Theframersintendedthesectoralpartiestoconstituteapart,butnottheentirety,of
the partylist system. As explained by Commissioner Wilfredo Villacorta, political parties can participate in
thepartylistsystem"Foraslongastheyfieldcandidateswhocomefromthedifferentmarginalizedsectors
thatweshalldesignateinthisConstitution."53

Infact,theframersvoteddown,1922,aproposaltoreservepermanentseatstosectoralpartiesintheHouseof
Representatives,oralternatively,toreservethepartylistsystemexclusivelytosectoralparties.Asclearlyexplained
byJusticeJoseC.VituginhisDissentingOpinioninAngBagongBayani:

ThedraftprovisionsonwhatwastobecomeArticleVI,Section5,subsection(2),ofthe1987Constitutiontookoff
fromtwostaunchpositionsthefirstheadedbyCommissionerVillacorta,advocatingthatofthe20percentumof
thetotalseatsinCongresstobeallocatedtopartylistrepresentativeshalfweretobereservedtoappointeesfrom
themarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors.TheproposalwasopposedbysomeCommissioners.Mr.Monsod
expressedthedifficultyindelimitingthesectorsthatneededrepresentation.Hewasoftheviewthatreservingseats
forthemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectorswouldstunttheirdevelopmentintofullpledgedpartiesequipped
withelectoralmachinerypotentenoughtofurtherthesectoralintereststoberepresented.TheVillacortagroup,on
the other hand, was apprehensive that pitting the unorganized and lessmoneyed sectoral groups in an electoral
contest would be like placing babes in the lion's den, so to speak, with the bigger and more established political
partiesultimatelygobblingthemup.R.A.7941recognizedthisconcernwhenitbannedthefirstfivemajorpolitical
parties on the basis of party representation in the House of Representatives from participating in the partylist
systemforthefirstpartylistelectionsheldin1998(andtobeautomaticallyliftedstartingwiththe2001elections).
Theadvocatesforpermanentseatsforsectoralrepresentativesmadeanefforttowardsacompromisethatthe
partylist system be open only to underrepresented and marginalized sectors. This proposal was further whittled
down by allocating only half of the seats under the partylist system to candidates from the sectors which would
garnertherequirednumberofvotes.Themajoritywasunyielding.Voting1922,theproposalforpermanentseats,
and in the alternative the reservation of the partylist system to the sectoral groups, was voted down. The only
concession the Villacorta group was able to muster was an assurance of reserved seats for selected sectors for
three consecutive terms after the enactment of the 1987 Constitution, by which time they would be expected to
gather and solidify their electoral base and brace themselves in the multiparty electoral contest with the more
veteranpoliticalgroups.54(Emphasissupplied)

Thus, in the end, the proposal to give permanent reserved seats to certain sectors was outvoted. Instead, the
reservationofseatstosectoralrepresentativeswasonlyallowedforthefirstthreeconsecutiveterms.55Therecan
benodoubtwhatsoeverthattheframersofthe1987Constitutionexpresslyrejectedtheproposaltomaketheparty
listsystemexclusivelyforsectoralpartiesonly,andthattheyclearlyintendedthepartylistsystemtoincludeboth
sectoralandnonsectoralparties.

Thecommondenominatorbetweensectoralandnonsectoralpartiesisthattheycannotexpecttowininlegislative
district elections but they can garner, in nationwide elections, at least the same number of votes that winning
candidatescangarnerinlegislativedistrictelections.Thepartylistsystemwillbetheentrypointtomembershipin
the House of Representatives for both these nontraditional parties that could not compete in legislative district
elections.

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Theindisputableintentoftheframersofthe1987Constitutiontoincludeinthepartylistsystembothsectoraland
nonsectoralpartiesisclearlywritteninSection5(1),ArticleVIoftheConstitution,whichstates:

Section 5. (1) The House of Representative shall be composed of not more that two hundred and fifty members,
unlessotherwisefixedbylaw,whoshallbeelectedfromlegislativedistrictsapportionedamongtheprovinces,cities,
andtheMetropolitanManilaareainaccordancewiththenumberoftheirrespectiveinhabitants,andonthebasisof
a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a partylist
systemofregisterednational,regional,andsectoralpartiesororganizations.(Emphasissupplied)

Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution is crystalclear that there shall be "a partylist system of registered
national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations." The commas after the words "national," and
"regional," separate national and regional parties from sectoral parties. Had the framers of the 1987 Constitution
intendednationalandregionalpartiestobeatthesametimesectoral,theywouldhavestated"nationalandregional
sectoral parties." They did not, precisely because it was never their intention to make the partylist system
exclusivelysectoral.

Whattheframersintended,andwhattheyexpresslywroteinSection5(1),couldnotbeanyclearer:thepartylist
systemiscomposedofthreedifferentgroups,andthesectoralpartiesbelongtoonlyoneofthethreegroups.The
text of Section 5(1) leaves no room for any doubt that national and regional parties are separate from sectoral
parties.

Thus,thepartylistsystemiscomposedofthreedifferentgroups:(1)nationalpartiesororganizations(2)regional
partiesororganizationsand(3)sectoralpartiesororganizations.Nationalandregionalpartiesororganizationsare
different from sectoral parties or organizations. National and regional parties or organizations need not be
organizedalongsectorallinesandneednotrepresentanyparticularsector.

Moreover,Section5(2),ArticleVIofthe1987Constitutionmandatesthat,duringthefirstthreeconsecutivetermsof
Congressaftertheratificationofthe1987Constitution,"onehalfoftheseatsallocatedtopartylistrepresentatives
shallbefilled,asprovidedbylaw,byselectionorelectionfromthelabor,peasant,urbanpoor,indigenouscultural
communities,women,youth,andsuchothersectorsasmaybeprovidedbylaw,exceptthereligioussector."This
provision clearly shows again that the partylist system is not exclusively for sectoral parties for two obvious
reasons.

First,theotheronehalfoftheseatsallocatedtopartylistrepresentativeswouldnaturallybeopentononsectoral
partylist representatives, clearly negating the idea that the partylist system is exclusively for sectoral parties
representingthe"marginalizedandunderrepresented."Second,thereservationofonehalfofthepartylistseatsto
sectoral parties applies only for the first "three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution," clearly
makingthepartylistsystemfullyopenaftertheendofthefirstthreecongressionalterms.Thismeansthat,afterthis
period,therewillbenoseatsreservedforanyclassortypeofpartythatqualifiesunderthethreegroupsconstituting
thepartylistsystem.

Hence,theclearintent,expresswording,andpartyliststructureordainedinSection5(1)and(2),ArticleVI
ofthe1987Constitutioncannotbedisputed:thepartylistsystemisnotforsectoralpartiesonly,butalso
fornonsectoralparties.

Republic Act No. 7941 or the PartyList System Act, which is the law that implements the partylist system
prescribedintheConstitution,provides:

Section3.DefinitionofTerms.(a)Thepartylistsystemisamechanismofproportionalrepresentationintheelection
ofrepresentativestotheHouseofRepresentativesfromnational,regionalandsectoralpartiesororganizationsor
coalitionsthereofregisteredwiththeCommissiononElections(COMELEC).Componentpartiesororganizationsof
acoalitionmayparticipateindependentlyprovidedthecoalitionofwhichtheyformpartdoesnotparticipateinthe
partylistsystem.

(b)Apartymeanseitherapoliticalpartyorasectoralpartyoracoalitionofparties.

(c) A political party refers to an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or platform,
principles and policies for the general conduct of government and which, as the most immediate
means of securing their adoption, regularly nominates and supports certain of its leaders and
membersascandidatesforpublicoffice.

Itisanationalpartywhenitsconstituencyisspreadoverthegeographicalterritoryofatleastamajorityofthe
regions. It is a regional party when its constituency is spread over the geographical territory of at least a
majorityofthecitiesandprovincescomprisingtheregion.

(d) A sectoral party refers to an organized group of citizens belonging to any of the sectors
enumerated in Section 5 hereof whose principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and

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concernsoftheirsector.

(e)Asectoralorganizationreferstoagroupofcitizensoracoalitionofgroupsofcitizenswhosharesimilar
physicalattributesorcharacteristics,employment,interestsorconcerns.

(f)Acoalitionreferstoanaggrupationofdulyregisterednational,regional,sectoralpartiesororganizations
forpoliticaland/orelectionpurposes.(Emphasissupplied)

Section 3(a) of R.A. No. 7941 defines a "party" as "either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of
parties."Clearly,apoliticalpartyisdifferentfromasectoralparty.Section3(c)ofR.A.No.7941furtherprovidesthat
a"politicalpartyreferstoanorganizedgroupofcitizensadvocatinganideologyorplatform,principlesand
policiesforthegeneralconductofgovernment."Ontheotherhand,Section3(d)ofR.A.No.7941providesthat
a"sectoralpartyreferstoanorganizedgroupofcitizensbelongingtoanyofthesectorsenumeratedinSection5
hereofwhoseprincipaladvocacypertainstothespecialinterestandconcernsoftheirsector."R.A.No.7941
providesdifferentdefinitionsforapoliticalandasectoralparty.Obviously,theyareseparateanddistinctfromeach
other.

R.A.No.7941doesnotrequirenationalandregionalpartiesororganizationstorepresentthe"marginalized
and underrepresented" sectors. To require all national and regional parties under the partylist system to
represent the "marginalized and underrepresented" is to deprive and exclude, by judicial fiat, ideologybased and
causeoriented parties from the partylist system. How will these ideologybased and causeoriented parties, who
cannotwininlegislativedistrictelections,participateintheelectoralprocessiftheyareexcludedfromthepartylist
system? To exclude them from the partylist system is to prevent them from joining the parliamentary struggle,
leaving as their only option the armed struggle. To exclude them from the partylist system is, apart from being
obviouslysenseless,patentlycontrarytotheclearintentandexpresswordingofthe1987ConstitutionandR.A.No.
7941.

Under the partylist system, an ideologybased or causeoriented political party is clearly different from a sectoral
party.Apoliticalpartyneednotbeorganizedasasectoralpartyandneednotrepresentanyparticularsector.There
is no requirement in R.A. No. 7941 that a national or regional political party must represent a "marginalized and
underrepresented"sector.Itissufficientthatthepoliticalpartyconsistsofcitizenswhoadvocatethesameideology
orplatform,orthesamegovernanceprinciplesandpolicies,regardlessoftheireconomicstatusascitizens.

Section5ofR.A.No.7941statesthat"thesectorsshallincludelabor,peasant,fisherfolk,urbanpoor,indigenous
cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals."56
The sectors mentioned in Section 5 are not all necessarily "marginalized and underrepresented." For sure,
"professionals" are not by definition "marginalized and underrepresented," not even the elderly, women, and the
youth. However, professionals, the elderly, women, and the youth may "lack welldefined political constituencies,"
and can thus organize themselves into sectoral parties in advocacy of the special interests and concerns of their
respectivesectors.

Section6ofR.A.No.7941providesanothercompellingreasonforholdingthatthelawdoesnotrequirenationalor
regionalparties,aswellascertainsectoralpartiesinSection5ofR.A.No.7941,torepresentthe"marginalizedand
underrepresented."Section6providesthegroundsfortheCOMELECtorefuseorcanceltheregistrationofparties
ororganizationsafterduenoticeandhearing.

Section 6. Refusal and/or Cancellation of Registration. The COMELEC may, motu proprio or upon verified
complaint of any interested party, refuse or cancel, after due notice and hearing, the registration of any national,
regionalorsectoralparty,organizationorcoalitiononanyofthefollowinggrounds:

(1)Itisareligioussectordenomination,organizationorassociationorganizedforreligiouspurposes

(2)Itadvocatesviolenceorunlawfulmeanstoseekitsgoal

(3)Itisaforeignpartyororganization

(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation, organization,
whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan
electionpurposes

(5)Itviolatesorfailstocomplywithlaws,rulesorregulationsrelatingtoelections

(6)Itdeclaresuntruthfulstatementsinitspetition

(7)Ithasceasedtoexistforatleastone(1)yearor

(8)Itfailstoparticipateinthelasttwo(2)precedingelectionsorfailstoobtainatleasttwopercentum(2%)of

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thevotescastunderthepartylistsysteminthetwo(2)precedingelectionsfortheconstituencyinwhichit
hasregistered.

None of the 8 grounds to refuse or cancel registration refers to nonrepresentation of the "marginalized and
underrepresented."

The phrase "marginalized and underrepresented" appears only once in R.A. No. 7941, in Section 2 on
DeclarationofPolicy.57Section2seeks"topromoteproportionalrepresentationintheelectionofrepresentativesto
the House of Representatives through the partylist system," which will enable Filipinos belonging to the
"marginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors,organizationsandparties,andwholackwelldefinedpolitical
constituencies,"tobecomemembersoftheHouseofRepresentatives.WhilethepolicydeclarationinSection2of
R.A.No.7941broadlyrefersto"marginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors,organizationsandparties,"thespecific
implementingprovisionsofR.A.No.7941donotdefineorrequirethatthesectors,organizationsorpartiesmustbe
"marginalizedandunderrepresented."Onthecontrary,toeveninterpretthatallthesectorsmentionedinSection5
are"marginalizedandunderrepresented"wouldleadtoabsurdities.

How then should we harmonize the broad policy declaration in Section 2 of R.A. No. 7941 with its specific
implementingprovisions,bearinginmindtheapplicableprovisionsofthe1987Constitutiononthematter?

The phrase "marginalized and underrepresented" should refer only to the sectors in Section 5 that are, by
theirnature,economically"marginalizedandunderrepresented."Thesesectorsare:labor,peasant,fisherfolk,
urbanpoor,indigenousculturalcommunities,handicapped,veterans,overseasworkers,andothersimilarsectors.
For these sectors, a majority of the members of the sectoral party must belong to the "marginalized and
underrepresented." The nominees of the sectoral party either must belong to the sector, or must have a
track record of advocacy for the sector represented. Belonging to the "marginalized and underrepresented"
sector does not mean one must "wallow in poverty, destitution or infirmity." It is sufficient that one, or his or her
sector, is below the middle class. More specifically, the economically "marginalized and underrepresented" are
thosewhofallinthelowincomegroupasclassifiedbytheNationalStatisticalCoordinationBoard.58

Therecognitionthatnationalandregionalparties,aswellassectoralpartiesofprofessionals,theelderly,women
andtheyouth,neednotbe"marginalizedandunderrepresented"willallowsmallideologybasedandcauseoriented
partieswholack"welldefinedpoliticalconstituencies"achancetowinseatsintheHouseofRepresentatives.On
the other hand, limiting to the "marginalized and underrepresented" the sectoral parties for labor, peasant,
fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, overseas workers, and other
sectors that by their nature are economically at the margins of society, will give the "marginalized and
underrepresented"anopportunitytolikewisewinseatsintheHouseofRepresentatives.

Thisinterpretationwillharmonizethe1987ConstitutionandR.A.No.7941andwillgiverisetoamultipartysystem
where those "marginalized and underrepresented," both in economic and ideological status, will have the
opportunitytosendtheirownmemberstotheHouseofRepresentatives.Thisinterpretationwillalsomaketheparty
list system honest and transparent, eliminating the need for relatively welloff partylist representatives to
masqueradeas"wallowinginpoverty,destitutionandinfirmity,"evenastheyattendsessionsinCongressridingin
SUVs.

The major political parties are those that field candidates in the legislative district elections. Major political parties
cannot participate in the partylist elections since they neither lack "welldefined political constituencies" nor
represent"marginalizedandunderrepresented"sectors.Thus,thenationalorregionalpartiesundertheparty
listsystemarenecessarilythosethatdonotbelongtomajorpoliticalparties.Thisautomaticallyreservesthe
national and regional parties under the partylist system to those who "lack welldefined political constituencies,"
givingthemtheopportunitytohavemembersintheHouseofRepresentatives.

Torecall,AngBagongBayaniexpresslydeclared,initssecondguidelinefortheaccreditationofpartiesunderthe
partylistsystem,that"whileevenmajorpoliticalpartiesareexpresslyallowedbyRA7941andtheConstitutionto
participateinthepartylistsystem,theymustcomplywiththedeclaredstatutorypolicyofenablingFilipinocitizens
belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors xxx to be elected to the House of Representatives.
"However, the requirement in Ang Bagong Bayani, in its second guideline, that "the political party xxx must
represent the marginalized and underrepresented," automatically disqualified major political parties from
participatinginthepartylistsystem.ThisinherentinconsistencyinAngBagongBayanihasbeencompoundedby
the COMELECs refusal to register sectoral wings officially organized by major political parties. BANAT merely
formalizedtheprevailingpracticewhenitexpresslyprohibitedmajorpoliticalpartiesfromparticipatingintheparty
listsystem,eventhroughtheirsectoralwings.

Section 11 of R.A. No. 7941 expressly prohibited the "first five (5) major political parties on the basis of party
representation in the House of Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress" from participating in the May
1988 partylist elections.59 Thus, major political parties can participate in subsequent partylist elections
sincetheprohibitionisexpresslylimitedonlytothe1988partylistelections.However,majorpoliticalparties

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shouldparticipateinpartylistelectionsonlythroughtheirsectoralwings.Theparticipationofmajorpoliticalparties
throughtheirsectoralwings,amajorityofwhosemembersare"marginalizedandunderrepresented"orlackingin
"welldefinedpoliticalconstituencies,"willfacilitatetheentryofthe"marginalizedandunderrepresented"andthose
who"lackwelldefinedpoliticalconstituencies"asmembersoftheHouseofRepresentatives.

The1987ConstitutionandR.A.No.7941allowmajorpoliticalpartiestoparticipateinpartylistelectionssoasto
encouragethemtoworkassiduouslyinextendingtheirconstituenciestothe"marginalizedandunderrepresented"
andtothosewho"lackwelldefinedpoliticalconstituencies."Theparticipationofmajorpoliticalpartiesinpartylist
electionsmustbegearedtowardstheentry,asmembersoftheHouseofRepresentatives,ofthe"marginalizedand
underrepresented" and those who "lack welldefined political constituencies," giving them a voice in lawmaking.
Thus,to participate in partylist elections, a major political party that fields candidates in the legislative district
electionsmustorganizeasectoralwing,likealabor,peasant,fisherfolk,urbanpoor,professional,womenoryouth
wing,thatcanregisterunderthepartylistsystem.

Such sectoral wing of a major political party must have its own constitution, bylaws, platform or program of
government,officersandmembers,amajorityofwhommustbelongtothesectorrepresented.Thesectoralwingis
in itself an independent sectoral party, and is linked to a major political party through a coalition. This linkage is
allowedbySection3ofR.A.No.7941,whichprovidesthat"componentpartiesororganizationsofacoalitionmay
participateindependently(inpartylistelections)providedthecoalitionofwhichtheyformpartdoesnotparticipatein
thepartylistsystem."

Section9ofR.A.No.7941prescribesthequalificationsofpartylistnominees.Thisprovisionprescribesaspecial
qualificationonlyforthenomineefromtheyouthsector.

Section9.QualificationsofPartyListNominees.Nopersonshallbenominatedaspartylistrepresentativeunless
heisanaturalborncitizenofthePhilippines,aregisteredvoter,aresidentofthePhilippinesforaperiodofnotless
thanone(1)yearimmediatelyprecedingthedayoftheelection,abletoreadandwrite,abonafidememberofthe
partyororganizationwhichheseekstorepresentforatleastninety(90)daysprecedingthedayoftheelection,and
isatleasttwentyfive(25)yearsofageonthedayoftheelection.

Incaseofanomineeoftheyouthsector,hemustatleastbetwentyfive(25)butnotmorethanthirty(30)yearsof
ageonthedayoftheelection.

Anyyouthsectoralrepresentativewhoattainstheageofthirty(30)duringhistermshallbeallowedtocontinuein
officeuntiltheexpirationofhisterm. 1wphi1

Apartylistnomineemustbeabonafidememberofthepartyororganizationwhichheorsheseekstorepresent.In
the case of sectoral parties, to be a bona fide partylist nominee one must either belong to the sector
represented,orhaveatrackrecordofadvocacyforsuchsector.

In disqualifying petitioners, the COMELEC used the criteria prescribed in Ang Bagong Bayani and BANAT. Ang
BagongBayanilaiddowntheguidelinesforqualifyingthosewhodesiretoparticipateinthepartylistsystem:

First, the political party, sector, organization or coalition must represent the marginalized and
underrepresentedgroupsidentifiedinSection5ofRA7941.xxx

Second,whileevenmajorpoliticalpartiesareexpresslyallowedbyRA7941andtheConstitutiontoparticipatein
thepartylistsystem,theymustcomplywiththedeclaredstatutorypolicyofenabling"Filipinocitizensbelongingto
marginalizedandunderrepresentedsectorsxxxtobeelectedtotheHouseofRepresentatives."xxx.

xxxx

Third,xxxthereligioussectormaynotberepresentedinthepartylistsystem.xxx.

xxxx

Fourth, a party or an organization must not be disqualified under Section 6 of RA 7941, which enumerates the
groundsfordisqualificationasfollows:

"(1)Itisareligioussectordenomination,organizationorassociation,organizedforreligiouspurposes

(2)Itadvocatesviolenceorunlawfulmeanstoseekitsgoal

(3)Itisaforeignpartyororganization

(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation, organization,
whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan
electionpurposes
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(5)Itviolatesorfailstocomplywithlaws,rulesorregulationsrelatingtoelections

(6)Itdeclaresuntruthfulstatementsinitspetition

(7)Ithasceasedtoexistforatleastone(1)yearor

(8)Itfailstoparticipateinthelasttwo(2)precedingelectionsorfailstoobtainatleasttwopercentum(2%)of
thevotescastunderthepartylistsysteminthetwo(2)precedingelectionsfortheconstituencyinwhichit
hasregistered."

Fifth,thepartyororganizationmustnotbeanadjunctof,oraprojectorganizedoranentityfundedorassistedby,
thegovernment.xxx.

xxxx

Sixth,thepartymustnotonlycomplywiththerequirementsofthelawitsnomineesmustlikewisedoso.Section9
ofRA7941readsasfollows:

"SEC9.QualificationsofPartyListNominees.Nopersonshallbenominatedaspartylistrepresentativeunlesshe
isanaturalborncitizenofthePhilippines,aregisteredvoter,aresidentofthePhilippinesforaperiodofnotless
thanone(1)yearimmediatelyprecedingthedayoftheelection,abletoreadandwrite,abonafidememberofthe
partyororganizationwhichheseekstorepresentforatleastninety(90)daysprecedingthedayoftheelection,and
isatleasttwentyfive(25)yearsofageonthedayoftheelection.

Incaseofanomineeoftheyouthsector,hemustatleastbetwentyfive(25)butnotmorethanthirty(30)yearsof
ageonthedayoftheelection.Anyyouthsectoralrepresentativewhoattainstheageofthirty(30)duringhisterm
shallbeallowedtocontinueinofficeuntiltheexpirationofhisterm."

Seventh, not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and underrepresented
sectorssoalsomustitsnominees.xxx.

Eighth, x x x the nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate
legislationthatwillbenefitthenationasawhole.(Emphasissupplied)

In 2009, by a vote of 87 in BANAT, this Court stretched the Ang Bagong Bayani ruling further. In BANAT, the
majorityofficiallyexcludedmajorpoliticalpartiesfromparticipatinginpartylistelections,60abandoningeventhelip
servicethatAngBagongBayaniaccordedtothe1987ConstitutionandR.A.No.7941thatmajorpoliticalpartiescan
participateinpartylistelections.

TheminorityinBANAT,however,believedthatmajorpoliticalpartiescanparticipateinthepartylistsystemthrough
their sectoral wings. The minority expressed that "[e]xcluding the major political parties in partylist elections is
manifestly against the Constitution, the intent of the Constitutional Commission, and R.A. No. 7941. This Court
cannotengageinsociopoliticalengineeringandjudiciallylegislatetheexclusionofmajorpoliticalpartiesfromthe
partylist elections in patent violation of the Constitution and the law."61 The experimentations in sociopolitical
engineeringhaveonlyresultedinconfusionandabsurdityinthepartylistsystem.Suchexperimentations,inclear
contraventionofthe1987ConstitutionandR.A.No.7941,mustnowcometoanend.

We cannot, however, fault the COMELEC for following prevailing jurisprudence in disqualifying petitioners. In
followingprevailingjurisprudence,theCOMELECcouldnothavecommittedgraveabuseofdiscretion.However,for
the coming 13 May 2013 partylist elections, we must now impose and mandate the partylist system actually
envisionedandauthorizedunderthe1987ConstitutionandR.A.No.7941.InBANAT,thisCourtdevisedanew
formulaintheallocationofpartylistseats,reversingtheCOMELEC'sallocationwhichfollowedthethenprevailing
formulainAngBagongBayani.InBANAT,however,theCourtdidnotdeclarethattheCOMELECcommittedgrave
abuse of discretion. Similarly, even as we acknowledge here that the COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of
discretion, we declare that it would not be in accord with the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 to apply the
criteriainAng Bagong Bayani and BANAT in determining who are qualified to participate in the coming 13 May
2013 partylist elections. For this purpose, we suspend our rule62 that a party may appeal to this Court from
decisionsorordersoftheCOMELEConlyiftheCOMELECcommittedgraveabuseofdiscretion.

Thus,weremandallthepresentpetitionstotheCOMELEC.Indeterminingwhomayparticipateinthecoming13
May2013andsubsequentpartylistelections,theCOMELECshalladheretothefollowingparameters:

1. Three different groups may participate in the partylist system: (1) national parties or organizations, (2)
regionalpartiesororganizations,and(3)sectoralpartiesororganizations.

2. National parties or organizations and regional parties or organizations do not need to organize along
sectorallinesanddonotneedtorepresentany"marginalizedandunderrepresented"sector.

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3.Politicalpartiescanparticipateinpartylistelectionsprovidedtheyregisterunderthepartylistsystemand
do not field candidates in legislative district elections. A political party, whether major or not, that fields
candidatesinlegislativedistrictelectionscanparticipateinpartylistelectionsonlythroughitssectoralwing
thatcanseparatelyregisterunderthepartylistsystem.Thesectoralwingisbyitselfanindependentsectoral
party,andislinkedtoapoliticalpartythroughacoalition.

4. Sectoral parties or organizations may either be "marginalized and underrepresented" or lacking in "well
definedpoliticalconstituencies."Itisenoughthattheirprincipaladvocacypertainstothespecialinterestand
concerns of their sector. The sectors that are "marginalized and underrepresented" include labor, peasant,
fisherfolk,urbanpoor,indigenousculturalcommunities,handicapped,veterans,andoverseasworkers.The
sectors that lack "welldefined political constituencies" include professionals, the elderly, women, and the
youth.

5. A majority of the members of sectoral parties or organizations that represent the "marginalized and
underrepresented"mustbelongtothe"marginalizedandunderrepresented"sectortheyrepresent.Similarly,
amajorityofthemembersofsectoralpartiesororganizationsthatlack"welldefinedpoliticalconstituencies"
mustbelongtothesectortheyrepresent.Thenomineesofsectoralpartiesororganizationsthatrepresentthe
"marginalizedandunderrepresented,"orthatrepresentthosewholack"welldefinedpoliticalconstituencies,"
either must belong to their respective sectors, or must have a track record of advocacy for their respective
sectors.Thenomineesofnationalandregionalpartiesororganizationsmustbebonafidemembersofsuch
partiesororganizations.

6.National,regional,andsectoralpartiesororganizationsshallnotbedisqualifiedifsomeoftheirnominees
aredisqualified,providedthattheyhaveatleastonenomineewhoremainsqualified.

TheCOMELECexcludedfromparticipatinginthe13May2013partylistelectionsthosethatdidnotsatisfythese
two criteria: (1) all national, regional, and sectoral groups or organizations must represent the "marginalized and
underrepresented" sectors, and (2) all nominees must belong to the "marginalized and underrepresented" sector
they represent. Petitioners may have been disqualified by the COMELEC because as political or regional parties
they are not organized along sectoral lines and do not represent the "marginalized and underrepresented." Also,
petitioners' nominees who do not belong to the sectors they represent may have been disqualified, although they
mayhaveatrackrecordofadvocacyfortheirsectors.Likewise,nomineesofnonsectoralpartiesmayhavebeen
disqualifiedbecausetheydonotbelongtoanysector.Moreover,apartymayhavebeendisqualifiedbecauseone
or more of its nominees failed to qualify, even if the party has at least one remaining qualified nominee. As
discussedabove,thedisqualificationofpetitioners,andtheirnominees,undersuchcircumstancesiscontrarytothe
1987ConstitutionandR.A.No.7941.

ThisCourtissworntoupholdthe1987Constitution,applyitsprovisionsfaithfully,anddesistfromengaginginsocio
economic or political experimentations contrary to what the Constitution has ordained. Judicial power does not
includethepowertorewritetheConstitution.Thus,thepresentpetitionsshouldberemandedtotheCOMELECnot
because the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying petitioners, but because petitioners
may now possibly qualify to participate in the coming 13 May 2013 partylist elections under the new parameters
prescribedbythisCourt.

WHEREFORE,allthepresent54petitionsareGRANTED.The13petitions,whichhavebeengrantedStatusQuo
Ante Orders but without mandatory injunction to include the names of petitioners in the printing of ballots, are
remandedtotheCommissiononElectionsonlyfordeterminationwhetherpetitionersarequalifiedtoregisterunder
thepartylistsystemundertheparametersprescribedinthisDecisionbuttheyshallnotparticipateinthe13May
2013partlistelections.The41petitions,whichhavebeengrantedmandatoryinjunctionstoincludethenamesof
petitioners in the printing of ballots, are remanded to the Commission on Elections for determination whether
petitioners are qualified to register under the partylist system and to participate in the 13 May 2013 partylist
elections under the parameters prescribed in this Decision. The Commission on Elections may conduct summary
evidentiaryhearingsforthispurpose.ThisDecisionisimmediatelyexecutory.

SOORDERED.

ANTONIOT.CARPIO
AssociateJustice

WECONCUR:

MARIALOURDESP.A.SERENO
ChiefJustice

PRESBITEROJ.VELASCO,JR. TERESITAJ.LEONARDODECASTRO
AssociateJustice AssociateJustice

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ARTUROD.BRION DIOSDADOM.PERALTA
AssociateJustice AssociateJustice

LUCASP.BERSAMIN MARIANOC.DELCASTILLO
AssociateJustice AssociateJustice

ROBERTOA.ABAD MARTINS.VILLARAMA,JR.
AssociateJustice AssociateJustice

JOSEPORTUGALPEREZ JOSEC.MENDOZA
AssociateJustice AssociateJustice

(onleave)
BIENVENIDOL.REYES
ESTELAM.PERLASBERNABE*
AssociateJustice
AssociateJustice

MARVICMARIOVICTORF.LEONEN
AssociateJustice

CERTIFICATION

PursuanttoSection13,ArticleVIIIoftheConstitution,IcertifythattheconclusionsintheaboveDecisionhadbeen
reachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassignedtothewriteroftheopinionoftheCourt.

MARIALOURDESP.A.SERENO
ChiefJustice

Footnotes
1UnderRule64inrelationtoRules65ofthe1997RulesofCivilProcedure.

2Rollo(G.R.Nos.20381819),pp.10791080.

3Rollo(G.R.No.204094),pp.176177.

4Rollo(G.R.No.204141),pp.145148.

5Rollo(G.R.No.203766),unpaginated.

6Id.

7Id.

8Rollo(G.R.No.204379),pp.2635.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with
CommissionersLucenitoN.TagleandEliasR.Yusophdissenting.
9 Rollo (G.R. No. 204455), pp. 3855 rollo (G.R. No. 204426), pp. 127144. Signed by Chairman Sixto S.
Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M.
Padaca,withCommissionersLucenitoN.TagleandEliasR.YusophdissentingCommissionerArmandoC.
VelascoalsoconcurredexceptforAlaEh.

10Rollo(G.R.No.204435),pp.4755.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with
CommissionersLucenitoN.TagleandEliasR.Yusophdissenting.

11Rollo(G.R.No.204367),pp.3035.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with
CommissionersLucenitoN.TagleandEliasR.Yusophdissenting.
12Rollo(G.R.No.204370),pp.3750.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene

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V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with
CommissionersLucenitoN.TagleandEliasR.Yusophdissenting.

13Rollo(G.R.No.204436),pp.4557.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with
CommissionersLucenitoN.TagleandEliasR.Yusophdissenting.

14Rollo(G.R.No.204485),pp.4249.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V.Sarmiento,ArmandoC.Velasco,andChristianRobertS.LimwithCommissionersLucenitoN.Tagleand
EliasR.Yusophdissenting.CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.

15 Rollo (G.R. No. 204139), pp. 505512. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners
Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, and Armando C. Velasco. Commissioners Elias R. Yusoph and
ChristianRobertS.Limalsovotedinfavor.CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.
16Rollo(G.R.No.204402),pp.2233.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V.Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,EliasR.Yusoph,andChristianRobertS.Lim.CommissionersArmandoC.
VelascoandMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacaonofficialbusiness.
17Rollo(G.R.No.204394),pp.5962.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim.
CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.
18 Rollo, (G.R. No. 204490), pp. 7178. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners
ArmandoC.Velasco,EliasR.Yusoph,andChristianRobertS.Lim.CommissionersLucenitoN.Tagleand
ReneV.SarmientoconcurredbuttooknopartinAngAtingDamayan.CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.
Padacatooknopart.

19Rollo,(G.R.No.204484),pp.4245.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V.Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,ArmandoC.Velasco,EliasR.Yusoph,ChristianRobertS.Lim,andMaria
GraciaCieloM.Padaca.
20 PBBs petition is docketed as G.R. No. 204484 before this Court, and as SPP No. 11002 before the
COMELEC.

21 In the Matter of Clarifying the Inclusion in the PartyList Raffle of New Groups Denied Accreditation but
wereAbletoObtainaStatusQuoAnteOrderfromtheSupremeCourt.

22(2)TosetforsummaryevidentiaryhearingsbytheCommissionEnBanc,forpurposesofdeterminingtheir
continuingcompliancewiththerequirementsofR.A.No.7941andtheguidelinesintheAngBagongBayani
case,and,ifnoncompliant,canceltheregistrationofthefollowing:

(a)Partylistgroupsororganizationswhicharealreadyregisteredandaccreditedandwillparticipatein
theMay13,2013Elections,providedthattheCommissionEnBanchasnotpasseduponthegrantof
theirrespectivePetitionsforRegistrationand

(b)PartylistgroupsororganizationswhichareexistingandretainedinthelistofRegisteredPartyList
PartiesperResolutionNo.9412,promulgatedon27April2012,andwhichhavefiledtheirrespective
ManifestationsofIntenttoParticipateinthePartyListSystemofRepresentationintheMay13,2013
Elections.(Boldfaceanditalicsintheoriginal)
23412Phil.308(2001).

24Rollo(G.R.Nos.20381819),pp.8387.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissioners
ReneV.Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,ArmandoC.Velasco,EliasR.Yusoph,andChristianRobertS.Lim.
CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.

25Rollo(G.R.No.203766),pp.7599rollo(G.R.No.203981),pp.4770rollo(G.R.No.204002),pp.5376
(G.R. No. 204318), pp. 2346. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Lucenito N.
Tagle,ArmandoC.Velasco,EliasR.Yusoph,andChristianRobertS.Lim.CommissionerReneV.Sarmiento
alsovotedinfavor.CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.
26Rollo,(G.R.No.204100),pp.5267rollo(G.R.No.204122),pp.3651rollo(G.R.No.204263),pp.28
43.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersReneV.Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,
Armando C. Velasco. Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo M.

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Padacatooknopart.
27 Rollo (G.R. No. 203960), pp. 6168. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners
Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, and Elias R. Yusoph. Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim also
concurred but did not sign. Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca took no
part.

28 Rollo (G.R. No. 203922), pp. 92101. Signed by Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle,
ArmandoC.Velasco,EliasR.Yusoph,andChristianRobertS.Lim.ChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.penned
aSeparateConcurringOpinion.CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.
29Rollo(G.R.No.204174),pp.158164.SignedbyCommissionersReneV.Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,
ArmandoC.Velasco,andEliasR.Yusoph.CommissionerChristianRobertS.Limalsoconcurredbutdidnot
sign.ChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.pennedanextendedopinion.

CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.

30Rollo(G.R.No.203976),pp.2137.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim. Commissioner Elias R.
Yusophalsovotedinfavor.CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.
31Rollo(G.R.No.204240),pp.4769rollo(G.R.No.203936),pp.128150rollo(G.R.No.204126),pp.51
73rollo(G.R.No.204364),pp.3456rollo(G.R.No.204141),pp.3153rollo(G.R.No.204408),pp.4668
rollo (G.R. No. 204153), pp. 2446 rollo (G.R. No. 203958), pp. 2648. Signed by Chairman Sixto S.
Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle. Armando C. Velasco.
CommissionerEliasR.Yusophalsovotedinfavor.CommissionerChristianRobertS.Limalsoconcurredbut
inhibitedinKAKUSA.CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.
32Rollo(G.R.No.204428),pp.3540.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, and Armando C. Velasco. Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim also
concurredbutdidnotsign.CommissionerEliasR.Yusophalsovotedinfavorbutwasonofficialbusinessat
thetimeofsigning.CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.

33Rollo(G.R.No.204094),pp.3040.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V.Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,EliasR.Yusoph,andChristianRobertS.Lim.CommissionersArmandoC.
VelascoandMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacawereonofficialbusiness.
34Rollo,(G.R.No.204239),pp.2542rollo(G.R.No.204236),pp.5774rollo(G.R.No.204341),pp.29
46.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersReneV.Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,
EliasR.Yusoph,andChristianRobertS.Lim.CommissionerArmandoC.Velascowasonofficialbusiness.
CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.

35 Rollo (G.R. No. 204358), pp. 140148. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners
ReneV.Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,EliasR.Yusoph,ChristianRobertS.Lim,andMariaGraciaCieloM.
Padaca.CommissionerArmandoC.Velascowasonofficialbusiness.

36Rollo(G.R.No.204359),pp.4250.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V.Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,ArmandoC.Velasco,andEliasR.Yusoph.CommissionerChristianRobert
S.Limalsoconcurredbutwasonofficialbusinessatthetimeofsigning.CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.
Padacatooknopart.
37Rollo(G.R.No.204238),pp.5458.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V.Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,EliasR.Yusoph,andChristianRobertS.Lim.CommissionersArmandoC.
VelascoandMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacawereonofficialbusiness.

38Rollo(G.R.No.204323),pp.4448.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusoph, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M.
Padaca.CommissionerArmandoC.Velascowasonofficialbusiness.

39Rollo(G.R.No.204321),pp.4351.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusoph, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M.
Padaca.CommissionerArmandoC.Velascowasonofficialbusiness.

40Rollo(G.R.No.204125),pp.4448.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V.Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,EliasR.Yusoph,andChristianRobertS.Lim.CommissionerArmandoC.
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Velascowasonofficialbusiness.CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.

41Rollo(G.R.No.204216),pp.2328.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusoph, and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca. Commissioner
ChristianRobertS.LimpennedaseparateConcurringOpinion.CommissionerArmandoC.Velascowason
officialbusiness.
42Rollo(G.R.No.204220),pp.3944.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V.Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,EliasR.Yusoph,andChristianRobertS.Lim.CommissionersArmandoC.
VelascoandMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacawereonofficialbusiness.
43Rollo(G.R.No.204158),pp.5964.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim.
CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.

44Rollo(G.R.No.204374),pp.3641.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim.
CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.

45Rollo(G.R.No.204356),pp.5664.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph, and Christian Robert S. Lim.
CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.

46Rollo(G.R.No.204486),pp.4247.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V.Sarmiento,ArmandoC.Velasco,EliasR.YusophandChristianRobertS.Lim.CommissionersLucenitoN.
TagleandMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.
47Rollo(G.R.No.204410),pp.6367.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V.Sarmiento,ArmandoC.Velasco,andChristianRobertS.Lim.CommissionerLucenitoN.Taglepenneda
DissentingOpinionandjoinedbyCommissionerEliasR.Yusoph.MariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.
48 Rollo (G.R. No. 204421), pp. 4350 rollo (G.R. No. 204425), pp. 2128. Signed by Chairman Sixto S.
Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Christian Robert S. Lim, and Maria Gracia Cielo M.
PadacawithCommissionersLucenitoN.Tagle,ArmandoC.Velasco,andEliasR.Yusoph,dissenting.
49G.R.Nos.179271and179295,21April2009,586SCRA210.

50IIRecord,CONSTITUTIONALCOMMISSION566567(1August1986).

51IIRecord,CONSTITUTIONALCOMMISSION8586(22July1986).

52IIRECORD,CONSTITUTIONALCOMMISSION8586(22July1986),256257(25July1986).

53IIRECORD,CONSTITUTIONALCOMMISSION257(25July1986).

54412Phil.347,350(2001).

55 PartyList System: The Philippine Experience, Fritzie Palma Tangkia and Ma. Araceli Basco Habaradas,
Ateneo School of Government and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Philippine Office, April 2001,
http://library.fes.de/pdffiles/bueros/philippinen/50076.pdf(accessed30March2013).

56Section5.Registration.Anyorganizedgroupofpersonsmayregisterasaparty,organizationorcoalition
forpurposesofthepartylistsystembyfilingwiththeCOMELECnotlaterthanninety(90)daysbeforethe
electionapetitionverifiedbyitspresidentorsecretarystatingitsdesiretoparticipateinthepartylistsystem
as a national, regional or sectoral party or organization or a coalition of such parties or organizations,
attaching thereto its constitution, bylaws, platform or program of government, list of officers, coalition
agreement and other relevant information as the COMELEC may require: Provided, That the sectors shall
includelabor,peasant,fisherfolk,urbanpoor,indigenousculturalcommunities,elderly,handicapped,women,
youth,veterans,overseasworkers,andprofessionals.

TheCOMELECshallpublishthepetitioninatleasttwo(2)nationalnewspapersofgeneralcirculation.

TheCOMELECshall,afterduenoticeandhearing,resolvethepetitionwithinfifteen(15)daysfromthe
dateitwassubmittedfordecisionbutinnocasenotlaterthansixty(60)daysbeforeelection.

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57Section2.DeclarationofPolicy.TheStateshallpromoteproportionalrepresentationintheelectionof
representatives to the House of Representatives through a partylist system of registered national, regional
and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to
marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack welldefined political
constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will
benefitthenationasawhole,tobecomemembersoftheHouseofRepresentatives.Towardsthisend,the
Stateshalldevelopandguaranteeafull,freeandopenpartysysteminordertoattainthebroadestpossible
representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their
chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall provided the simplest scheme possible.
(Emphasissupplied)
58TheNationalStatisticalCoordinationBoard(NSDB)classifiesthepopulationintothreeincomegroups:the
highincome,themiddleincome,andthelowincomegroup.SeeTable2.AnnualFamilyIncomeoftheLow,
Middle, and High Income Classes: 1997,
http://www.nscb.gov.ph/ncs/10thNCS/papers/contributed%20papers/cps12/cps1201.pdf (accessed 30
March2013).
59Section11ofR.A.No.7941providesinpart:

x x x For purposes of the May 1988 elections, the first five (5) major political parties on the basis of
party representation in the House of Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress of the
Philippinesshallnotbeentitledtoparticipateinthepartylistsystem.

xxx.

60G.R.Nos.179271and179295,21April2009,586SCRA210,258citingCONSTITUTION,Art.XIII,Sec.
1.
61Id.at251.

62Rule64inrelationtoRule65,1997RulesofCivilProcedure.

TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

CONCURRINGANDDISSENTINGOPINION

SERENO,J.:

Thepartylistsystemisprimarilya

Toolforsocialjustice.

I believe that the ponencia may have further marginalized the already marginalized and underrepresented of this
country. In the guise of political plurality, it allows national and regional parties or organizations to invade what is
and should be constitutionally and statutorily protected space. What the ponencia fails to appreciate is that the
partylistsystemunderthe1987ConstitutionandthepartylistlaworRA7941isnotaboutmerepoliticalplurality,
butpluralitywithaheartforthepooranddisadvantaged.

The creation of a partylist system under the 1987 Constitution and RA 7941 was not done in a vacuum. It
comprehendstherealityofaFilipinonationthathasbeenandstillisstrugglingtocometotermswithmuchsocial
injusticethathasbeenperpetratedovercenturiesagainstamajorityofitspeoplebyforeigninvadersandevenbyits
owngovernments.

Thisinjusticeisthefertilegroundfortheseedswhich,wateredbythebloodspilledduringtheMartialLawyears,
ripenedtotherevolutionof1986.Itisfromthisfermentthatthe1987Constitutionwasborn.Thus,anyreadingof
the1987Constitutionmustbeappropriatelysensitivetothecontextfromwhichitarose.AsstatedinCivilLiberties
Unionv.ExecutiveSecretary:

A foolproof yardstick in constitutional construction is the intention underlying the provision under consideration.
Thus, it has been held that the Court in construing a Constitution should bear in mind the object sought to be
accomplishedbyitsadoption,andtheevils,ifany,soughttobepreventedorremedied.Adoubtfulprovisionwillbe
examinedinthelightofthehistoryofthetimes,andtheconditionandcircumstancesunderwhichtheConstitution
was framed. The object is to ascertain the reason which induced the frames of the Constitution to enact the
particularprovisionandthepurposesoughttobeaccomplishedthereby,inordertoconstruethewholeastomake
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thewordsconsonanttothatreasonandcalculatedtoeffectthatpurpose.1(Emphasissupplied)

Theheartofthe1987ConstitutionistheArticleonSocialJustice.Thisisapropossinceitisadocumentthatnot
onlyrecognizesbuttriestohealthewoundsofhistory.ToharkentothewordsofCeciliaMuosPalma,Presidentof
the1986ConstitutionalCommission:

THEPRESIDENT:MydistinguishedcolleaguesinthisAssembly:

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Mycolleagues,inallhumility,butwithprofoundpride,IvoteinfavoroftheConstitutiondraftedbythisConstitutional
CommissionbecauseIbelievethatthedocumentisaworthyandinspiringlegacywecanhanddowntotheFilipino
peopleoftoday,tomorrow,andforposterity.

ThereasonIwillgivehavebeengivenbymostoftheMembersofthisConstitutionalCommissionthisevening.But
permitmetorestatethemjusttostressthereasonwhyIamvotinginfavor.

Forthefirsttimeinthehistoryofconstitutionmakinginourcountry,wesetforthinclearandpositivetermsinthe
PreamblewhichisthebeaconlightofthenewCharter,thenoblegoaltoestablishajustandhumanesociety.This
mustbesobecauseatpresentwehavetoadmitthattherearesofewwithsomuchandsomanywithsolittle.We
upholdtheRuleofLawwherenomanisabovethelaw,andweadheretotheprinciplesoftruth,justice,freedom,
equality,loveandpeace.Yes,forthefirsttimeandpossiblythisisthefirstConstitutionwhere"love"isenshrined.
Thisismostsignificantatthisperiodinournationallifewhenthenationisbleedingundertheforcesofhatredand
violence,brothersfightingagainstbrothers,Filipinostorturingandkillingtheirowncountrymen.Withoutlove,there
canbenopeace.

The new Charter establishes a republican democratic form of government with three branches each independent
andcoequalofeachaffordingacheckandbalanceofpowers.Sovereigntyresidesinthepeople.

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Forthefirsttime,andpossiblythisisthefirstandonlyConstitutionwhichprovidesforthecreationofaCommission
onHumanRightsentrustedwiththegraveresponsibilityofinvestigatingviolationsofcivilandpoliticalrightbyany
partyorgroupsandrecommendingremediestherefor.ThenewCharteralsosetsforthquitelengthilyprovisionson
economic,socialandculturalrightsspreadoutinseparatearticlessuchastheArticlesonSocialJustice,Education
and Declaration of Principles. It is a document which in clear and in unmistakable terms reaches out to the
underprivileged,thepaupers,thesick,theelderly,disabled,veteransandothersectorsofsociety.Itisadocument
whichopensanexpandedimprovedwayoflifeforthefarmers,theworkers,fishermen,therankandfileofthosein
serviceinthegovernment.AndthatiswhyIsaythattheArticleonSocialJusticeistheheartofthenewCharter.2
(Emphasissupplied)

That is why Section 1, Article XIII, provides that: "The Congress shall give highest priority to the enactment of
measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and
politicalinequalities,andremoveculturalinequitiesbyequitablydiffusingwealthandpoliticalpowerforthecommon
good."3AsexplainedbythisCourt:

Further, the quest for a better and more "equal" world calls for the use of equal protection as a tool of effective
judicialintervention.

Equality is one ideal which cries out for bold attention and action in the Constitution. The Preamble proclaims
"equality"asanidealpreciselyinprotestagainstcrushinginequitiesinPhilippinesociety.Thecommandtopromote
socialjusticeinArticleII,Section10,in"allphasesofnationaldevelopment,"furtherexplicitatedinArticleXIII,are
clear commands to the State to take affirmative action in the direction of greater equality. There is thus in the
PhilippineConstitutionnolackofdoctrinalsupportforamorevigorousstateefforttowardsachievingareasonable
measureofequality.

CurpresentConstitutionhasgonefurtheringuaranteeingvitalsocialandeconomicrightstomarginalizedgroupsof
society, including labor. Under the policy of social justice, the law bends over backward to accommodate the
interestsoftheworkingclassonthehumanejustificationthatthosewithlessprivilegeinlifeshouldhavemorein
law.Andtheobligationtoaffordprotectiontolaborisincumbentnotonlyonthelegislativeandexecutivebranches
butalsoonthejudiciarytotranslatethispledgeintoalivingreality.Socialjusticecallsforthehumanizationoflaws
andtheequalizationofsocialandeconomicforcesbytheStatesothatjusticeinitsrationalandobjectivelysecular
conceptionmayatleastbeapproximated.4(Emphasissupplied)

Thisisalsowhythe1987Constitutionisreplacewithothersocialjusticeprovisions,includingSections9,10,13,14,
18and22ofArticleII,Section2ofArticleV,Section5(1)(2)ofArticleVI,Sections1,2,3,5,6,10,11,12,13of
Article XII, and Article XIII. As aptly pointed out by Commissioner Guingona in his sponsorship speech for the
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approval of the entire draft of the 1987 Constitution, social justice was the underlying philosophy of the drafters
whencraftingtheprovisionsofthefundamentallaw.Thus:

MR.GUINGONA:Thankyou,Mr.PresidingOfficer.

ThissponsorshipspeechisfortheentiredraftoftheConstitutionoftheRepublicofthePhilippines.

Today,wehavecompletedthetaskofdraftingaConstitutionwhichisreflectiveofthespiritofourtimeaspiritof
nationalism,aspiritofliberation,aspiritofrisingexpectations.

On June 2, fortyeight men and women met in this hallmen and women from different walks of life with diverse
backgroundsandorientations,evenwithconflictingconvictions,butallsharingthesameearnestdesiretoservethe
people and to help draft a Constitution which will establish a government that the people can trust and
enthusiasticallysupport,aConstitutionthatguaranteesindividualrightsandservesasabarrieragainstexcessesof
thoseinauthority.

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A Constitution of the people and for the people derives its authenticity and authority from the sovereign will the
power of the people precedes it. As such, it should reflect the norms, the values, the modes of thought of our
society,preserveitsheritage,promoteitsorderlinessandsecurity,protectitscherishedlibertiesandguardagainst
theencroachmentsofwouldbedictators.Theseobjectiveshaveservedastheframeworkintheworkofdraftingthe
1986Constitution.

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Asignificantinnovation,asfarasthelegislativedepartmentisconcerned,referstothecompositionofthemembers
of the House of Representatives. Representation in the Lower House has been broadened to embrace various
sectorsofsocietyineffect,enlargingthedemocraticbase.Itwillbeconstitutedbymemberswhoshallbeelectedin
thetraditionalmanner,representingpoliticaldistricts,aswellasbymemberswhoshallbeelectedthroughtheparty
listsystem.

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The institutions through which the sovereign people rule themselves are essential for the effective operation of
government.Butthesearenotenoughinorderthatthebodypoliticmayevolveandprogress.Thereisneedforan
underlyingsocioeconomicphilosophywhichwoulddirectthesepoliticalstructuresandserveasthemainspringfor
development.SoitisthatthedraftConstitutioncontainsseparateArticlesonSocialJusticeandNationalEconomy
andPatrimony.

Talkofpeoplesfreedomandlegalequalitywouldbeemptyrhetoricaslongastheycontinuetoliveindestitution
andmisery,withoutland,withoutemployment,withouthope.Butinhelpingtobringabouttransformation,inhelping
thecommonmanbreakawayfromthebondageoftraditionalsociety,inhelpingrestoretohimhisdignityandworth,
therighttoindividualinitiativeandtopropertyshallberespected.

TheSocialJusticeArticle,towhichourCommissionPresident,theHonorableCeciliaMuosPalma,referstoasthe
"heart of the Constitution," provides that Congress shall give highest priority to the enactment of measures that
would reduce social, economic and political inequalities. The same article addresses the problems of (1) labor
localandoverseas,organizedandunorganizedrecognizingtherightsofallworkersintheprivateaswellasinthe
public sector, the rank and file and the supervisory, to selforganization, collective bargaining and peaceful and
concerted activities including the right to strike in accordance with law (2) the farmers, the farm workers, the
subsistencefishermenandthefishworkers,throughagrarianandnaturalresourcesreform(3)theunderprivileged
and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement arcas, through urban land reform and housing (4) the
healthofthepeople,throughanintegratedandcomprehensiveapproachtohealthdevelopment(5)thewomen,by
ensuringthefundamentalequalityofwomenandmenbeforethelaw,and(6)peoplesorganizations,byfacilitating
theestablishmentofadequateconsultationmechanisms.

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Thesearesomeoftheprovisionswhichwehaveconstitutionalized.Thesearesomeoftheinnovationsthatwehave
introduced.Thesearetheideas,valuesandinstitutionswhichwehavedrawnandwhichwetrustwouldserveas
the foundation of our society, the keystone of our national transformation and development, the driving force for
what we pray would be our irreversible march to progress. In brief, this is what the men and women of the 1986
ConstitutionalCommissionhavedraftedundertheable,firmanddecidedleadershipofourPresident,theHonorable
CeciliaMuozPalma.

TheConstitutionthatwehavedraftedisapracticalinstrumentsuitedtothecircumstancesofourtime.Itisalsoa
Constitution that does not limit its usefulness to present needs one which, in the words of U.S. Supreme Court
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ChiefJusticeJohnMarshall,andIquote,"isintendedtoendureforagestocomeandconsequentlytobeadaptedto
thevariouscrisesofhumanaffairs."Aswepresenttheproposedfundamentallaw,wepraythatoureffortswould
pavethewaytowardstheestablishmentofarenewedconstitutionalgovernmentwhichweweredeprivedofsince
1972,thattheseeffortswouldensurethatthetriumphatEDSAsodeservingwonbythepeopleshallcontinuetobe
enjoyedbyusandourposterityforalltime,thattheseeffortswouldresultinthedraftingofademocraticConstitution
aConstitutionthatenshrinespeoplespowerandtheruleoflawaConstitutionwhichwouldseektoestablishin
this fair land a community characterized by moral regeneration, social progress, political stability, economic
prosperity,peace,loveandconcernforoneanotheraConstitutionthatembodiesvitallivingprinciplesthatseekto
secureforthepeopleabetterlifefoundedonlibertyandwelfareforall.

Mr. Presiding Officer, on behalf of this Commissions Sponsorship Committee, I have the honor to move for the
approvalofthedraftConstitutionoftheRepublicofthePhilippinesonSecondReading.5

It is within this historical and textual millieu that the partylist provisions in the 1987 Constitution should be
interpreted.Everyprovisionshouldbereadinthecontextofalltheotherprovisionssothatcontoursofconstitutional
policyismadeclear.6

Theplaceofthepartylistsystemintheconstitutionalschemewasthatitprovidedfortherealizationoftheidealson
socialjusticeinthepoliticalarena.7

Theconceptisnotnew,asdiscussedbypoliticaltheoristTerryMacDonald:

First, an idea that has received much attention among democratic theorists is that representatives should be
selected to mirror the characteristics of those being represented in terms of gender, ethnicity, and other such
characteristicsjudgedtobesociallyrelevant.Thisideahasbeenadvocatedmostnotablyinsomerecentdemocratic
debates focused on the need for special representation of disadvantaged and underrepresented social groups
withindemocraticassemblies.Theapplicabilityofthisideaofmirrorrepresentationisnotconfinedtodebatesabout
representingmarginalizedminoritieswithinnationstatesIrisYoungfurtherappliesthismodelofrepresentationto
globalpolitics,arguingtheglobalrepresentationshouldbebasedonrepresentationofthevariouspeoplesofthe
world,eachofwhichembodiesitsowndistinctiveidentityandperspective.Inpractice,specialrepresentationfor
certainsocialgroupswithinamirrorframeworkcanbecombinedwithelectionmechanismsinvariouswayssuch
as by according quotas of elected representatives to designated social groups. But since the selection of these
social groups for special representation would nonetheless remain a distinct element of the process of selecting
legitimaterepresentatives,occurringpriortotheelectoralprocess,suchmirrorrepresentationisstillrecognizable
asadistinctmechanismforselectingrepresentativeagents.8(Emphasissupplied)

Two months after initial debates on the form and structure of government that would best promote equality, the
Commissionbrokegroundonthepromotionofpoliticalequalityandprovidedforsectoralrepresentationintheparty
listsystemofthelegislature.CommissionerVillacortaopenedthedebatesonthepartylistsystem.9

MR.VILLACORTA:OnthisfirstdayofAugust1986,weshall,hopefully,usherinanewchapterinournational
historybygivinggenuinepowertoourpeopleinthelegislature

CommissionerJaimeTadeoexplainedthecircumstancesthepartylistsystemsoughttoaddress:10

MR.TADEO:AngCorygovernmentayiniakyatngpeoplespower.KayakaminariritosaConComaydahilsa
peoplespowernasaaminangpeople,walasaaminangpower.Ganitoitokahalaga.

TheLegislatureissupposedtoimplementorgivefleshtotheneedsandaspirationsoftheFilipinopeople.

Ganoon kahalaga and National Assembly kayat napakahalaga noong Section 5 and Section 31 ng ating
Constitution.Ourexperience,however,hasshownthatlegislationhastendedtobenefitmorethepropertiedclass
whoconstitutioesasmallminorityinoursocietythantheimpoverishedmajority,70percentofwhomlivebelowthe
povertyline.Thishascomeaboutbecausetherichhavemanagedtodominateandcontrolthelegislature,whilethe
basicsectorshavebeenleftoutofit.So,thecriticalquestionis,howdoweensureamplerepresentationofbasic
sectorsinthelegislaturesothatlawsreflecttheirneedsandaspirations?

RA7941wasenactedpursuanttothepartylistprovisionsofthe1987Constitution.Notonlyisita"socialjustice
tool",asheldinAngBagong,11butitisprimarilyso.Thisisnotmeresemanticsbutamatteroflegalandhistorical
accuracywithmaterialconsequencesintherealmofstatutoryinterpretation.

Theponenciagivessix(6)parametersthattheCOMELECshouldadheretoindeterminingwhomayparticipatein
the coming 13 May 2013 and subsequent partylist elections. I shall discuss below my position in relation to the
second,fourthandsixthparameterenunciatedintheponencia.

"Marginalizedandunderrepresented"underSection2ofRA7941qualifiesnational,regionalandsectoral

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partiesororganizations.

Underthesecondparameter,"nationalpartiesororganizationsandregionalpartiesororganizationsdonotneedto
organizealongsectorallinesanddonotneedtorepresentany"marginalizedandunderrepresented"inSection2of
RA7941toqualifyonlysectoralpartiesororganizations,andnotnationalandregionalpartiesororganizations.

Idessentforthefollowingreasons.

First, since the partylist system is primarily a tool for social justice, the standard of "marginalized and
underrepresented" under Section 2 must be deemed to qualify national, regional and sectoral parties or
organizations. To argue otherwise is to divorce national and regional parties or organizations from the primary
objectiveofattainingsocialjustice,whichobjectivesurrounds,permeates,imbues,andunderliestheentiretyofboth
the1987ConstitutionandRA7941.

Second,Second2ofRA7941statesthatthepartylistsystemseeksto"enableFilipinocitizensbelongingtothe
marginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors,organizationsandparties...tobecomemembersoftheHouse
of Representatives" On its face, it is apparent that "marginalized and underrepresented" qualifies "sectors",
"organizations"and"parties".

Third,evenassumingthatitisnotsoapparent,intermsofstatutoryconstruction,theimportof"socialjustice"that
hasdevelopedinvariousdecisionsisthatwhenthelawcanbeinterpretedinmorewaysthanone,aninterpretation
thatfavorstheunderprivilegedmustbefavored.12

Lastly,deliberationsoftheConstitutionalCommissionshowthatthepartylistsystemisacountervailingmeansfor
the weaker segments of our society to overcome the preponderant advantages of the more entrenched and well
establishedpoliticalparties.Toquote:

MR. OPLE: So, Commissioner Monsod grants that the basic principle for a prty list system is that it is a
countervailingmeansfortheweakersegmentsofoursociety,iftheywanttoseekseatsinthelegislature,
toovercomethepreponderantadvantagesofthemoreentrenchedandwellestablishedpoliticalparties,but
heisconcernedthatthemechanicsmightbeinadequateatthistime.

MR.MONSOD:Notonlythattalkingaboutlabor,forexampleIthinkCommissionerTadeosaidthereare10to
12 million laborers and I understand that organized labor is about 4.8 million or 4.5 million if the laborers get
together,theycanhaveseats.With4millionvotes,theywouldhave10seatsunderthepartylistsystem.

MR.OPLE:So,theCommissionerwouldfavorapartylistsystemthatisopentoallandwouldnotagreetoaparty
listsystemwhichseekstoaccommodate,inparticular,thesocalledsectoralgroupsthatarepredominantlyworkers
andpeasants?

MR.MONSOD:Ifoneputsaceilingonthenumberthateachpartycanputwithinthe50,andIamassumingthat
maybe there are just two major parties or three at the most, then it is already a form of operating it up for other
groups to come in, All we are asking is that they produce 400,000 votes nationwide. The whole purpose of the
systemispreciselytogiveroomforthosewhohaveanationalconstituencywhomayneverbeabletowin
a seat on a legislative district basis. But they must have a constituency of at least 400,000 in order to claim a
voiceintheNationalAssembly.13(emphasissupplied)

However, the second parameter would allow the more entrenched and wellestablished political parties and
organizationstocompletewiththeweakersegmentsofsociety,whichistheveryevilsoughttobeguardedagainst.

Theponenciassecondparameterispremisedonthefollowinggrounds,amongothers.

First, the ponencia explains that the text of the 1987 Constitution and RA 7941, and the proceedings of the
Constitutional Commission evince an indisputable intent to allow national, regional, and sectoral parties and
organizations to participate in the partylist system. To require national and regional parties and organizations to
represent the marginalized and underrepresented makes them effectively sectoral parties and organizations and
violatesthisintent.

Theerrorhereistoconcludethatifthelawtreatsnational,regionalandsectoralpartiesandorganizationsthesame
by requiring that they represent the "marginalized and underrepresented," they become the same. By analogy,
peoplecanbetreatedsimilarlybutthatdoesnotmakethemidentical.

Second,theponenciarulesthatsinceundertheSection5(2),ArticleVIofthe1987Constitution,only50%ofthe
seatsareallocatedduringthefirstthreeconsecutivetermsofCongressaftertheratificationofthe1987Constitution
to representatives from the labor, peasant, urban poor, etc., it necessarily follows that the other 50% would be
allocatedtorepresentativesfromsectorswhicharenonmarginalizedandunderrepresented.

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Theerrorhereistoconcludethatthelatterstatementnecessarilyfollowsiftheformeristrue.Thisisnotsosince
thelatter50%canverywellincluderepresentativesfromothernonenumeratedsectors,orevennationalorregional
partiesandorganizations,allofwhichcanbe"marginalizedandunderrepresented."

Third, the ponencia adds that it would prevent ideologybased and causeoriented parties, who cannot win in
legislativedistrictelections,fromparticipatinginthepartylistsystem.

Theerrorhereistoconcludethatsuchideologybasedorcauseorientedpartiesarenecessarilynonmarginalized
orunderrepresented,whichwouldinturndependonhow"marginalizationandunderrepresentation"isdefined.The
ponencia appears to be operating under a preconceived notion that "marginalized and underrepresented" refers
onlytothose"economically"marginalized.

However,thereisnoneedforthisCourttodefinethephrase"marginalizedandunderrepresented,"primarily
becauseitalreadyconstitutessufficientlegislativestandardtoguidetheCOMELECasanadministrativeagencyin
theexerciseofitsdiscretiontodeterminethequalificationofapartylistgroup.

As long as such discretion is not gravely abused, the determination of the COMELEC must be upheld. This is
consistentwithourpronouncementinAngBagongBayanithat,"theroleoftheCOMELECistoseetoitthatonly
thoseFilipinosthataremarginalizedandunderrepresentedbecomemembersoftheCongressunderthepartylist
system."

For as long as the agency concerned will be able to promulgate rules and regulations to implement a given
legislationandeffectuateitspolicies,andthattheseregulationsaregermanetotheobjectsandpurposesofthelaw
andnotincontradictiontobutinconformitywiththestandardsprescribedbythelaw,thenthestandardsmaybe
deemedsufficient.14

We should also note that there is a time element to be considered here, for those who are marginalized and
underrepresentedtodaymaynolongerbeonelateron.Marginalizationandunderrepresentationisaneverevolving
concept, created to address social disparities, to be able to give life to the "social justice" policy of our
Constitution.15 Confining its definition to the present context may unduly restrict the COMELEC of its quasi
legislative powers which enables it to issue rules and regulations to implement the election laws and to exercise
suchlegislativefunctionsasmayexpresslybedelegatedtoitbyCongress.16

FlexibilityofourlawsisakeyfactorinreinforcingthestabilityofourConstitution,becausethelegislatureiscertain
tofinditimpracticable,ifnotimpossible,toanticipatesituationsthatmaybemetincarryinglawsintoeffect.17The
growingcomplexityofmodernlife,themultiplicationofthesubjectofgovernmentalregulations,andtheincreased
difficulty of administering the laws, the rigidity of the theory of separation of governmental powers is largely
responsibleinempoweringtheCOMELECtonotonlyexecuteelectionslaws,butalsopromulgatecertainrulesand
regulations calculated to promote public interest.18 This is the principle of subordinate legislation discussed in
Peoplev.Rosenthal19andinPangasinanTransportationvs.PublicServiceCommission.20

ThisisconsistentwithourpronouncementinAngBagongBayanithat,"theroleoftheCOMELECistoseetoitthat
only those Filipinos that are marginalized and underrepresented become members of the Congress under the
partylistsystem."

Fourth, the ponencia holds that failure of national and regional parties to represent the marginalized and
underrepresentedisnotagroundfortheCOMELECtorefuseorcancelregistrationunderSection6ofRA7941.

The error here is that under Section 6 (5), the COMELEC may refuse or cancel if the party "violates or fails to
comply with laws." Thus, before the premise can be correct, it must be first established that "marginalization and
underrepresentation"isnotarequirementofthelaw,whichisexactlywhatisatissuehere.

Fifth, the ponencia makes too much of the fact that the requirement of "marginalization and underrepresentation"
appearsonlyonceinRA7941.

The error here is to conclude that the phrase has to appear more than once to carry sufficient legal significance.
"Marginalization and underrepresentation" is in the nature of a legislative standard to guide the COMELEC in the
exerciseofitsadministrativepowers.ThisCourthasheldthattoavoidthetaintofunlawfuldelegation,theremust
beastandard,whichimpliesattheveryleastthatthelegislatureitselfdeterminesmattersofprincipleandlaysdown
fundamentalpolicy.Otherwise,thechangeofcompleteabdicationmaybehardtorepel.Astandardsthusdefines
legislativepolicy,marksitslimits,mapsoutitsboundariesandspecifiesthepublicagencytoapplyit.Thestandard
doesnotevenhavetobespelledout.Itcouldbeimpliedfromthepolicyandpurposeoftheactconsideredasa
whole.21Consequently,wehaveheldthat"publicwelfare"22and"publicinterest"23areexamplesofsuchsufficient
standards.Therefore,thatitappearsonlyonceinRA7941ismorethansufficient,sinceastandardcouldevenbe
animpliedone.

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National, regional and sectoral Parties or organizations must both Represent the "marginalized and
Underrepresented" and lack "well Defined political constituencies". The fourth parameter in the ponencia
states:

4.Sectoralpartiesororganizationsmayeitherbe"marginalizedandunderrepresented"orlackingin"welldefined
political constituencies." It is enough that their principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and concerns of
their sector. The sectors that are "marginalized and underrepresented" include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban
poor,indigenousculturalcommunities,handicapped,veterans,andoverseasworkers.Thesectorsthatlack"well
definedpoliticalconstituencies"includeprofessionals,theelderly,women,andtheyouth.

Idissentforthefollowingreasons.

First,Section2ofRA7941clearlymakesthe"lackofa"welldefinedpoliticalconstituency"asarequirementalong
with "marginalization and underrepresentation." They are cumulative requirements, not alternative. Thus,
underrepresentation." They are cumulative requirements, not alternative. Thus, sectoral parties and organizations
intendingtoruninthepartylistelectionsmustmeetboth.

Second,theponenciaappearstobeoperatingunderpreconceivednotionsofwhatitmeanstobe"marginalizedand
underrepresented" and to "lack a welldefined political constituency." For reasons discussed above, the exact
contentoftheselegislativestandardsshouldbelefttotheCOMELEC.Theyareeverevolvingconcepts,createdto
addresssocialdisparities,tobeabletogivelifetothe"socialjustice"policyofourConstitution.

The disqualification of a nominee should not disqualify the partylist group provided that: (1) it meets
Guideline Nos. 15 of Ang Bagong Bayani (alternately, on the basis of the new parameters set in the
ponencia,thattheyvalidlyqualifyasnational,regionalorsectoralpartylistgroup)and(2)oneofitstop
three(3)nomineesremainsqualified.

Iconcurwiththeponenciathatanadvocatemayqualifyasanominee.However,Iwouldliketoexplainmyposition
withregardtothesixthparametersetforthintheponenciawithrespecttonominees.

Torecall,thesixthparameterintheponenciaprovides:

6. National, regional and sectoral parties or organizations shall not be disqualified if some of their nominees are
disqualified,providedthattheyhaveatleastonenomineewhoremainqualified.

I propose the view that the disqualification of a partylist group due to the disqualification of its nominee is only
reasonable if based on material misrepresentations regarding the nominees qualifications. Otherwise, the
disqualificationofanomineeshouldnotdisqualifythepartylistgroupprovidedthat:(1)itmeetsGuideline
Nos.15ofAng Bagong Bayani (alternately, on the basis of the new parameters set in the ponencia,that
they validly qualify as national, regional or sectoral partylist group) and (2) one of its top three (3)
nomineesremainsqualified,forreasonsexplainedbelow.

The constitutional policy is to enable Filipinos belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors to
contribute legislation that word benefit them. Consistent therewith, R.A. No. 7941 provides that the State shall
developandguaranteeafull,freeandopenpartylistsystemthatwouldachieveproportionalrepresentationinthe
House of Representatives by enhancing partylist groups "chances to complete for and win seats in the
legislature."24Becauseofthispolicy,IbelievethattheCOMELECcannotinterpretSection6(5)ofR.A.No.7941as
a grant of purely administrative, quasilegislative or quasijudicial power to ipso facto disqualify partylist groups
basedonthedisqualificationofasinglenominee.

Itshouldalsobepointedoutthatthelawitselfconsidersaviolationofelectionlawsasadisqualifyingcircumstance.
However,foranactoromissiontobeconsideredaviolationofelectionlaws,itmustbedemonstrativeofgrossand
willfuldisregardofthelawsorpublicpolicy.Thestandardcannotbelessfortherulesandregulationsissuedbythe
COMELEC. Thus, any disqualification of a partylist group based on the disqualification of its nominee must be
basedonamaterialmisrepresentationregardingthatnomineesqualifications.ThisalsofindssupportinSection6
(6)ofR.A.No.7941whichconsidersdeclaring"untruthfulstatementsinitspetition"asagroundfordisqualification.

Asregardsthesecondqualificationmentionedabove,partylistgroupsshouldhaveatleastonequalifiednominee
amongitstopthreenomineesforittobeallowedtoparticipateintheelections.Thisisbecauseifallofitstopthree
nomineesaredisqualified,evenifitsregistrationisnotcancelledandisthusallowedtoparticipateintheelections,
andshoulditobtaintherequirednumberofvotestowinaseat,itwouldstillhavenoonetorepresentit,because
the law does not allow the group to replace its disqualified nominee through substitution. This is a necessary
consequenceofapplyingSections13inrelationtoSection8ofR.A.No.7941.

Section13providesthatpartylistrepresentativesshallbeproclaimedbytheCOMELECbasedon"thelistofnames
submittedbytherespectivepartiesxxxaccordingtotheirrankinginthesaidlist."Therankingofapartylistgroups
nomineesisdeterminedbytheapplicabilityortheinapplicabilityofSection8,thelastparagraphofwhichreads:

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xxxNochangeofnamesoralterationoftheorderofnomineesshallbeallowedafterthenamesshallhavebeen
submitted to the COMELEC except in cases where the nominee dies, or withdraws in writing his nomination,
becomesincapacitatedinwhichcasethemnameofthesubstitutenomineeshallbeplacedlastinthelist.

Thus,onlyincaseofdeath,incapacity,orwithdrawaldoesthelawallowapartylistgrouptochangetherankingof
its nominees in the list it initially submitted. The ranking of the nominees is changed through substitution, which
accordingtoSection8isdonebyplacingthenameofthesubstituteattheendofthelist.Inthiscase,allthenames
that come after the now vacant slot will move up the list. After substitution takes effect, the new list with the new
ranking will be used by COMELEC to determine who among the nominees of the partylist group shall be
proclaimed,fromthefirsttothelast,inaccordancewithSection13.

Ifany/someofthenomineesis/aredisqualified,nosubstitutionwillbeallowed.Thus,theirrankingremainsthesame
andshouldthereforeberespectedbytheCOMELECindeterminingtheone/sthatwillrepresentthewinningparty
listgroupinCongress.Thismeansthatifthefirstnomineeisdisqualified,andthepartylistgroupisabletojointhe
elections and becomes entitled to one representative, the second cannot take the first nominees place and
representthepartylistgroup.If,however,thepartylistgroupgetsenoughvotestobeentitledtotwoseats,thenthe
secondnomineecanrepresentit.

Allowingapartylistgroup,whichhassuccessfullypassedGuidelineNos.15ofAngBagongBayani25(alternately,
pursuant to the present holding of the ponencia, that it qualifies as a national, regional or sectoral party or
organization)andhasestablishedthequalificationofatleastone(1)ofitstopthree(3)nominees,toparticipatein
theelectionsisabetterinterpretationofthelaw.Itisfullyconsistentwiththepolicyofdevelopingandguaranteering
a full, free and open partylist system that would achieve proportional representation in the House of
Representativesbyenhancingpartylistgroups"chancestocompeteforandwinseatsinthelegislature""26while
providingsufficientdisincentivesforpartylistgroupstofloodtheCOMELECwithnomineesasSection8ofR.A.No.
7941onlyrequiresthattheysubmitnotlessthanfive(5).

Itmustbenotedthatthismethod,togetherwiththeseatallocationsystemintroduceinBANATv.COMELEC,27will
allowmorepartylistgroupstoberepresentedinCongress.

Letususeahypotheticalscenariotoillustrate.

ThetablebelowusestheseatallocationsystemintroducedinBANAT.Itassumesthefollowingfacts:(1)35party
listgroupsparticipatedintheelections(2)20millionvoteswerecastforthepartylistsystemand(3)thereare50
seatsinCongressreservedforthepartylistrepresentatives.

ThesucceedingparagraphswillexplainhowtheBANATmethodwilloperatetodistributethe50seatsreservedin
theHouseofRepresentativesgiventheforegoingfactsandthenumberofvotesobtainedbyeachofthe35party
listgroups.

1stRound 2ndRound
Votes Total#
Rank Partylistgroup % (guaranteed (guaranteed
Garnered Ofseats
seats) seats)

1,466,000 7.33% 1 2 3
1 AAA

1,228,000 6.41% 1 2 3
2 BBB

1,040,000 4.74% 1 1 2
3 CCC
1,020,000 3.89% 1 1 2
4 DDD
998,000 3.88% 1 1 2
5 EEE
960,000 3.07% 1 1 2
6 FFF

942,000 2.92% 1 1 2
7 GGG

926,000 2.65% 1 1 2
8 HHH

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910,000 2.57% 1 1 2
9 III

796,000 2.57% 1 1 2
10 JJJ

750,000 2.42% 1 1 2
11 KKK

738,000 2.35% 1 1 2
12 LLL
718,000 2.32% 1 1 2
13 MMM
698,000 2.13% 1 1 2
14 NNN
678,000 2.12% 1 1 2
15 OOO

658,000 2.06% 1 1 2
16 PPP

598,000 2.02% 1 1 2
17 QQQ

482,000 1.95% 1 2
18 RRR

378,000 1.89% 1 1
19 SSS
318,000 1.54% 1 1
20 TTT
294,000 1.47% 1 1
21 UUU

292,000 1.44% 1 1
22 VVV

290,000 1.43% 1 1
23 WWW

280,000 1.37% 1 1
24 XXX

274,000 1.37% 1 1
25 YYY
268,000 1.34% 1 1
26 ZZZ
256,000 1.24% 1 1
27 IA

248,000 1.23% 1 1
28 IB

238,000 1.18% 1 1
29 IC

222,000 1.11% 1 1
30 ID

214,000 1.07% 1 1
31 IE
212,000 1.06%
32 IF

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210,000 1.05%
33 IG
206,000 1.03%
34 IH

194,000 1.02%
35 II

20,000,000 17 33 50

WeexplainedinBANATthatthefirstclauseofSection11(b)ofR.A.7941guaranteesaseattothepartylistgroups
"receivingatleasttwopercent(2%)ofthetotalvotescastforthepartylistsystem."Inourhypotheticalscenario,the
partylist groups ranked 1st to 17th received at least 2% of the 20 million votes cast for the partylist system. In
effect,all17ofthemweregivenguaranteedseats.Thedistributionofthesesocalledguaranteedseatstothe"two
percents"iswhatBANATcallsthe"firstroundofseatallocation."

Fromthefirstroundofseatallocation,thetotalnumberofguaranteedseatsallocatedtothetwopercenterswillbe
subtractedfrom"20%ofthemembersoftheHouseofRepresentatives"reservedbytheConstitutionforpartylist
representatives,whichinthishypotheticalscenariois50seats.Assumingall17ofthetwopercenterswereableto
establishthequalificationoftheirfirstnominee,theremaining33willbedistributedinwhatBANATtermedasthe
"secondroundofseatallocation."

These remaining 33 seats are called "additional seats." The rules followed in the distribution/allocation of these
seatsarefairlysimple.Ifapartylistgroupspercentageismultipliedbythetotalnumberofadditionalseatsandthe
productisnolessthan2,thenthatpartylistwillbeentitledto2additionalseats.Thisistokeepinlinewiththe3
seatlimitrule.Inourhypotheticalscenarioasshownbythetableabove,onlythetoptwopartylistgroups,AAAand
BBBareentitledto2additionalseats.Assuming,again,thatthe2ndand3rdnomineesofbothAAAandBBBare
qualified,thenonly29willbeleftfordistribution.

Indistributingtheremaining29seats,itmustbekeptinmindthatthenumberofvotescastinfavoroftheremaining
partylistgroupsbecomesirrelevant.Atthisstage,theonlythingthatmattersisthegroupsranking.Thepartylist
groupthatcomesafterBBBwillbegiven1additionalseatandthedistributionofoneseatperpartylistgroup,per
rank,continuesuntilall50seatsareaccountedforthesecondroundofseatallocationstopsatthispoint.Inthe
tableabove,the50thseatwasawardedtoIEthepartylistgroupthatranked31stintheelection.

Intheforegoingdiscussion,allthenomineesofthepartylistgroupsarequalified.Whathappensifoneorsomeof
thenomineesaredisqualified?Followingtheproposedmethod,ifonetwoofthepartylistgroupswithguaranteed
seats have a disqualified first nominee, their second nominee, if qualified, can still represent them in Congress
basedonthesecondroundofseatallocation.

In the event that some of the nominees of partylist groupswhether or not entitled to guaranteed seatsare
disqualified,thenthosepartylistgroups,whichwithoutthedisqualificationofthesenomineeswouldnotbeentitled
toaseat,wouldnowhaveahigherchancetohavearepresentativeelectedinCongress.

If,forexample,thefirstnomineeofBBBisdisqualified,thenitforfeitsitsguaranteedseatandtheadditionalseats
for distribution in the second round will be increased by 1. With 34 seats to be allocated, IE will now qualify to
obtainaseatinitsfavor,assumingthatitsfirstnomineeisqualified.IfIEsfirstnomineeisdisqualified,thenwewill
proceed to the partylist nextinrank, which is IG. This method is followed down the line until all 50 seats are
allocated.

Ifwefollowtheproposedmethod,thiswouldyieldahighernumberofpartylistgroupsrepresentedinCongress,but
withfewerrepresentativespergroup.

This proposed method can be further illustrated through another example, this time using a "nontwo percenter"
partylist group. In the table above, RRR failed to garner at least 2% of the total votes. However, in the second
round of seat allocation, it was granted 1 seat. To be able to send a representative in Congress, RRRs first
nominee should be qualified to sit. Assuming that its first nominee was disqualified, its second or third nominee
cannot occupy said seat instead, it will forfeit the seat and such seat will now go to IE. Again, this method is
followeddownthelineuntilall50seatsareallocated.

In conclusion, I submit that a partylist group should be allowed to participate in the elections despite the
disqualificationofsomeofitsnominees,providedthatthereremainsaqualifiednomineeoutofthetopthreeinitially
submitted.Notonlyisthisthebetterpolicy,butthisisalsotheinterpretationsupportedbylaw.

OnlynineofthepetitionsshouldbeRemanded.

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Giventhecircumstancesabovementioned,IrespectfullydissentontheremandofallpetitionstotheCOMELECfor
reasonstobediscussedbelow.

Theponenciajustifiestheremandofallpetitionsinthiswise,viz:

xxxThus,thepresentpetitionsshouldberemandedtotheCOMELECnotbecauseCOMELECcommittedgrave
abuseofdiscretionindisqualifyingpetitioners,butbecausepetitionersmaynowpossiblyqualifytoparticipateinthe
coming 13 May 2013 partylist elections under the new parameters prescribed by this Court. (Emphasis
supplied)

The "new parameters" set forth in the ponencias guidelines focus mainly on two (2) grounds used by the
COMELEC to cancel registration: (1) the standard of marginalized and underrepresented as applied to national,
regionalandsectoralpartiesandorganizationsand(2)thequalificationofnominees.Fromsuchexamination,we
canconcludethat,irrelationtotheothergroundsusedbyCOMELECtocancelregistration(otherthanthosetwo
grounds mentioned above), the doctrines remain unchanged. Thus, a remand of those petitions is unnecessary,
consideringthattheactsoftheCOMELECpertainingtotheirpetitionsareupheld.Theponenciaevenadmitsthat
COMELECdidnotcommitgraveabuseofdiscretioninfollowingprevailingjurisprudenceindisqualifyingpetitioners.

Consequently, the remand should only pertain to those partylist groups whose registration was cancelled on the
basis of applying the standard of "marginalized and underrepresented" and the qualification of nominees wherein
the"newparameters"apply.IfothergroundswereusedbyCOMELECotherthanthosewith"newparameters,"
say,forexample,failuretoprovetrackrecord,aremandwouldbeuncalledforbecausethedoctrinepertainingto
theothergroundsremainunchanged.

Despite the new doctrine set forth in the ponencia, at the very least, only nine (9) petitions should be ordered
remanded to the COMELEC. In these nine (9) petitions, the COMELEC cancelled the registration of the partylist
groupssolelyonthegroundthattheirnomineesaredisqualified.Inmakingsuchapronouncement,theCOMELEC
merely used as yardstick whether they could qualify as advocates, and for this reason, I recommend that the
followingcasesbeREMANDEDtotheCOMELEC.Theseare:

1. AllianceforRuralandAgrarianReonstruction,Inc.(ARARO)
2. AgapayngIndigenousPeoplesRightsAlliance,Inc.(AIPRA)
3. AangatTayo(AT)
4. ABlessedPartyList(a.k.a.BlessedFederationofFarmersandFishermenInternational,Inc.)(ABLESSED)
5. ActionLeagueofIndigenousMasses(ALIM)
6. ButilFarmersParty(BUTIL)
7. AdhikainatKilusanngOrdinaryongTaoParasaLupa,Pabahay,HanapbuhayatKaunlaran(AKOBAHAY)
8. AkbayKalusugan,Inc.(AKIN)
9. 1UNITEDTRANSPORTKOALISYON(1UTAK)

Assuming for the sake of argument that we agree with the ponencias take that the phrase "marginalized and
underrepresented"qualifiesonlysectoralparties,still,aremandofallthepetitionsremainuncalledfor.Outofthe52
petitions,thereareonly11partylistgroupswhichareclassifiedasnationalorregionalparties.28Thus,ifwewereto
strictlyapplytheponenciasguidelines,only20petitionsoughttoberemanded.

TheCOMELECdidnotviolateSection3,ArticleIXCoftheConstitution.

ItbearsstressingthatCOMELECResolutionNo.9513doesnotviolateSection3,ArticleIXCoftheConstitution
which requires a prior motion for reconsideration before the COMELEC can decide election cases en banc. To
recall, the Resolution allows the COMELEC en banc, without a motion for reconsideration, to conduct (1) an
automatic review of a decision of a COMELEC division granting a petition for registration of a partylist group or
organizationand(2)asummaryevidentiaryhearingforthosealreadyaccreditedandwhichhavemanifestedtheir
intent to participate in the 2013 national and local elections for the purpose of determining their continuing
compliancewiththerequirementsofRANo.7941andtheAngBagongBayani29guidelines.

Section3onlyapplieswhentheCOMELECisexercisingitsquasijudicialpowerswhichcanbefoundinSection2
(2) of the same article. However, since the conduct of automatic review and summary evidentiary hearing is an
exerciseofCOMELECsadministrativepowersunderSection2(5),thepriormotionforreconsiderationinSection3
isnotrequired.

It is in this light that I would like to further elucidate why the power under Section 2 (5) is not quasijudicial but
administrativeinnatureinordertohelpclarifythetruedistinctionbetweenthetwo.Inanumberofcases,thisCourt
has had the opportunity to distinguish quasijudicial from administrative power. Thus, in Limkaichong v
COMELEC,30weheldthat:

The term "administrative" connotes or pertains to "administration, especially management, as by managing or


conducting, directing or superintending, the execution, application, or conduct of persons of things." It does not
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entail an opportunity to be heard, the production and weighing of evidence, and a decision or resolution
thereon.Thisistobedistinguishfrom"quasijudicialfunction",atermwhichapplies,amongothers,totheactionor
discretion of public administrative officers or bodies, who are required to investigate facts, or ascertain the
existenceoffacts,holdhearings,anddrawconclusionsfromthem,asabasisfortheirofficialactionandto
exercisediscretionofajudicialnature.(emphasissupplied)

However,thereareadministrativeproceedings,suchasapreliminaryinvestigationbeforethepublicprosecutor,that
also entail the "opportunity to be heard, the production and weighing of evidence, and a decision or resolution
thereon,"butarenotconsideredquasijudicialinthepropersenseoftheterm.AsheldinBautistavCA:31

Petitionersubmitsthataprosecutorconductingapreliminaryinvestigationperformsaquasijudicialfunction,citing
Cojuangco v. PCGG, Koh v. Court of Appeals, Andaya v. Provincial Fiscal of Surigao del Norte and Crespo v.
Mogul.InthesecasesthisCourtheldthatthepowertoconductpreliminaryinvestigationisquasijudicialin
nature.Butthisstatementholdstrueonlyinthesensethat,likequasijudicialbodies,theprosecutorisan
officeintheexecutivedepartmentexercisingpowersakintothoseofacourt.Hereiswherethesimilarity
ends.

A closer security will show that preliminary investigation is very different from other quasijudicial
proceedings.Aquasijudicialbodyhasbeendefinedas"anorganofgovernmentotherthanacourtandotherthan
alegislaturewhichaffectstherightsofprivatepartiesthrougheitheradjudicationorrulemaking."

xxxx

Ontheotherhand,theprosecutorinapreliminaryinvestigationdoesnotdeterminetheguiltorinnocenceof
the accused. He does not exercise adjudication nor rulemaking functions. Preliminary investigation is
merely inquisitorial, and is often the only means of discovering the persons who may be reasonably
chargedwithacrimeandtoenablethefiscaltopreparehiscomplaintorinformation.Itisnotatrialofthe
caseonthemeritsandhassopurposeexceptthatofdeterminingwhetheracrimehasbeencommittedand
whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty thereof. While the fiscal makes that
determination, he cannot be said to be acting as a quasicourt, for it is the courts, ultimately, that pass
judgementontheaccused,notthefiscal.

Hence,theOfficeoftheProsecutorisnotaquasijudicialbodynecessarily,itsdecisionsapprovingthefilingofa
criminal complaint are not appealable to the Court of Appeals under Rule 43. Since the ORSP has the power to
resolveappealswithfinallyonlywherethepenaltyprescribedfortheoffensedoesnotexceedprisioncorreccional,
regardless of the imposable fine, the only remedy of petitioner, in the absence of grave abuse of discretion, is to
presentherdefenseinthetrialofthecase.(emphasissupplied)

While the exercise of quasijudicial and administrative power may both involve an opportunity to be heard, the
production and weighing of evidence, and a decision or resolution thereon, the distinction I believe is that the
exerciseoftheformerhasforitspurposetheadjudicationofrightswithfianlity.32Thismakesitakintojudicialpower
which has for its purpose, among others, the settlement of actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandableandenforceable.33

Anotherwaytodisposeoftheissueofthenecessityofapriormotionforreconsiderationistolookatitthroughthe
lensofanelectioncase.Thephrase"allsuchelectioncases"inSection3hasbeenreadinrelationtoSection2(2)
ofArticleIXC,viz:

What is included in the phrase "all such election cases" may be seen in Section 2(2) of Article IX(C) of the
Constitutionwhichstates:

Section2.TheCommissiononElectionsshallexercisethefollowingpowersandfunctions:

xxxx

(2)Exerciseexclusiveoriginaljurisdictionoverallcontestsrelatingtotheelections,returns,andqualificationsofall
electiveregional,provincial,andcityofficials,andappellatejurisdictionoverallcontestsinvolvingelectivemunicipal
of officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay officials decided by trial
courtsoflimitedjurisdiction.34

Astothenatureof"contests,"theCourthasalreadydefineditunderthepenumbraofelectionasfollows:

Ordinary usage would characterize a "contest" in reference to a postelection scenario. Election contests
consists of either an election protest or a quo warranto which, although two distinct remedies, would have one
objectiveinview,i.e.,todislodgethewinningcandidatefromoffice.

xxxx
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The rules categorically speak of the jurisdiction of the tribunal over contests relating to the election, returns and
qualificationsofthe"President"or"VicePresident",ofthePhilippines,andnotof"candidates"forPresidentorVice
President.Aquowarrantoproceedingisgenerallydefinedasbeinganactionagainstapersonwhousurps,intrudes
into,orunlawfullyholdsorexercisesapublicoffice.Insuchcontext,theelectioncontestcanonlycontemplate
apostelectionscenario.InRule14,onlyaregisteredcandidatewhowouldhavereceivedeitherthesecond
or third the second or third highest number of votes could file an election protest. This rule again
presupposesapostelectionscenario.

It is fair to conclude that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, defined by Section 4, paragraph 7, of the 1987
Constitution,wouldnotincludecasesdirectlybroughtbeforeit,questioningthequalificationsofacandidate
forthepresidencyorvicepresidencybeforetheelectionsareheld.(Emphasissupplied)35

In Panlilio v Commission on Elections,36 it was also held that the primary purpose of an election case is the
ascertainmentoftherealcandidateelectedbytheelectorate.Thus,theremustfirstbeanelectionbeforetherecan
beanelectionbeforetherecanbeanelectioncase.Sincethenationalandlocalelectionsarestilltobeheldon13
May2013,theconductofautomaticreviewandsummaryevidentiaryhearingundertheResolutionNo.9513cannot
beanelectioncase.Forthisreason,apriormotionforreconsiderationunderSection3isnotrequired.

In view of the foregoing, I vote to REMAND only the following cases: ARARO, AIPRA, AT, A BLESSED, ALIM,
BUTIL,AKOBAHAY,AKIN,and1UTAK.ThePetitionersofalltheotherPetitionersshouldbedismissed.

MARIALOURDESP.A.SERENO
ChiefJustice

Footnotes

1G.R.No.83896,83815,22February1991.

2Vol.V,R.C.C.No.106,12October1986.

3Emphasissupplied.

4CentralBankEmployeesAssociationv.BangkoSentralngPilipinas,G.R.No.148208,15December2004.

5VOLV,R.C.C.106,12October1986.

6SeeChavezv.JBC,G.R.No.202242,17July2012.

7 CHIEF JUSTICE REYNATO PUNO, EQUAL DIGNITY & RESPECT: THE SUBSTANCE OF EQUAL
PROTECTIONANDSOCIALJUSTICE(2012),265[hereinafter,PUNO].

8 TERRY MACDONALD, GLOBAL STAKEHOLDER DEMOCRACY: POWER AND REPRESENTATION


BEYONDLIBERALSTATES(2008),at166167.
9Puno,265.

10Id.

11G.R.No.147589,26June2001.

12 See PerezRosario v. CA, G.R. No. 140796, 30 Jun 2006 BERNAS, PRIMER ON THE 1987
CONSTITUTION(2006),488.

13VolumeII,R.C.C.,258259,25July1986.

14EasternShippingLinesv.POEA,G.R.No.76633,18October1988.

15GandaraMillSupplyv.NLRC,G.R.No.126703,29December1998.

16Bedolv.COMELEC,G.R.No.179830,3December2009.

17ConferenceofMaritimeManningAgenciesv.POEA,G.R.No.114714,21April1995.

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18Id.

19G.R.No.46076,46077,12June1939.

20G.R.No.47065,26June1940.

21TradeUnionsofthePhilippinesv.Ople,G.R.L67573,19June1985.

22Calalangv.Williams,70Phil726(1940).

23PeoplevRosenthal,68Phil328(1939).

24Section2,RepublicActNo.7941.

25Supra.

26Section2,RepublicActNo.7941

27G.R.Nos.179271and179295,21April2009.

28 The national parties are Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD), Bantay PartyList (BANTAY),
and Alliance of Bicolnon Party (ABP). On the other hand, the regional parties are Ako Bicol Political Party
(AKB),AkysonMagsasakaPartidoTiningngMasa(AKMAPTM),AkoanBisaya(AAB),KalikasanParty
List (KALIKASAN), 1 Alliance Advocating Autonomy Party (1AAAP), Abyan Ilonggo Party (AI), Partido ng
BayanandBida(PBB),andPilipinasParasaPinoy(PPP).

29G.R.No.147589,25June2001.

30G.R.Nos.17883132,179120,17913233,17924041,1April2009.

31G.R.No.143375,6July2001.

32DolePhilippinesv.Esteva,G.R.No.161115,30November2006.

331987CONSTITUTION,ARTICLEVIII,SECTION1.

34Mendozav.CommissiononElections,G.R.No.191084,25March2010.

35Tecsonv.CommissiononElections,G.R.No.161434,3March2004.

36G.R.No.181478,15July2009.

TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

SEPARATECONCURRINGOPINION

BRION,J.:

I submit this SEPARATE OPINION to reflect my views on the various questions submitted to the Court through
consolidatedpetitionsbeforeus.

Foreaseofpresentationandunderstanding,thisSeparateOpinionislaidoutunderthefollowingstructure:

I.TheCaseandtheIssues

II.SummaryofPositions:SubstantiveAspectofthePetitions

A.OnrelianceonAngBagongBayanianditsGuidelines.

1.PointsofDisagreementwithAngBagongBayani

2.EffectsontheComponentsofthePartylistSystem

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B.Nominees

C.OntheobservationoftheChiefJustice

D.GraveabuseofdiscretionandConclusion

III.PreliminaryMatters

A.ThesuspensionofRule64theexistenceofjurisdictionalerrorthatwarrantsreviewingCOMELECs
action

B. COMELECs power to register and to cancel registration of a partylist group is an exercise of its
administrativepowers

IV.Discussion:MeritsoftheConsolidatedPetitions

A.TheConstitutionalProvisionsonthePartylistSystem

a.TheConstitutionalText.

b.Constitutionaltextsummarized

c.PurposeBehindthePartylistInnovation

B.RANo.7941,thePartyListSystemAct

C.JurisprudentialDevelopments

a.AngBagongBayani

b.Banat

D. The Partylist System of elections under the constitution and RA 7941: Revisiting Ang Bagong
Bayanianditserrors

a.TheAimorObjectiveofthePartyListSystem

a.1.FromtheConstitutionalPerspective.

a.2.Fromthestatutoryperspective

b.Partyparticipationunderthepartylistsystem

b.1.Impactonpoliticalparties

c.Thepartiesandtheirnominees

c.1.Refusalorcancellationofregistrationduetonomineeproblems

c.2.partynomineerelationship

E.ChiefJusticeSerenosReflections

F.TheElevenPointParametersforCOMELECAction

I.ATheCases

TheCourtresolvesfiftythree(53)consolidatedpetitionsforcertiorari/prohibitionfiledunderRule64oftheRulesof
Court by various partylist groups and organizations. They commonly assail the COMELECs resolutions, either
cancellingtheirexistingregistrationsandaccreditations,ordenyingtheirnewpetitionsforpartylistregistration.

Ofthe53petitions,thirteen(13)wereinstitutedbynewpartylistapplicantsunderRepublicAct(RA)No.7941and
COMELEC Resolution No. 9366 (dated February 21, 2012). These petitions were denied by the COMELEC En
BancuponitsreviewoftheCOMELECDivisionsresolutions.

Theotherforty(40)petitionsweresimilarlybroughtbypreviouslyregisteredandaccreditedpartylistorganizations
whose registrations/accreditations have been cancelled. These petitioners participated in previous elections and
cannotparticipateintheMay2013electionifthecancellationoftheirregistration/accreditationwouldstand.

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Theconsolidatedpetitions,uniformlycitinggraveabuseofdiscretiononthepartoftheCOMELECandthedisregard
oftherelevantprovisionsoftheConstitutionandRANo.7941,variouslyquestioned

a.theCOMELECEnBancsauthorityunderCOMELECResolutionNo.9513toconductanautomaticreviewofits
Divisions rulings despite the absence of motions for reconsideration, in disregard of Rule 19 of the COMELEC
RulesofProcedure

b. with respect to the cancellation of previous registration/accreditation of partylist groups or organizations, the
denial of due process and the violation of the principle of res adjudicata further, the COMELECs cancellation of
theirexistingregistration/accreditationisclaimedtobeanexerciseofitsquasijudicialpowersthattheCOMELEC
Division,nottheCOMELECEnBanc,canexerciseatthefirstinstance

c.theCOMELECEnBancsappreciationoffactsanditsapplicationoftheguidelinesofAngBagongBayani,which
either addressed defects or deficiencies on the part of the parties or of their nominees and which resulted in the
refusalorcancellationofregistration/accreditation.

I.B.TheIssues

Basedonthesecitedgrounds,theissuesfortheCourtsconsiderationmaybecondensedasfollows:

1.WhethertheCOMELECEnBancmayautomaticallyreviewthedecisionoftheCOMELECDivisionwithout
therequisitefilingofamotionforreconsiderationundertheCOMELECRulesofProcedureand

2.WhethertheCOMELECgravelyabuseditsdiscretionindenyingorcancellingtheregistration/accreditation
ofthepetitioners,mainlyrelyingontheeightpointguidelineslaiddownbytheCourtinAngBagongBayani
OFWLaborPartyv.CommissiononElections.

II.SUMMARYOFPOSITIONS

THESUBSTANTIVEASPECTOFTHEPETITIONS

II.A.OnrelianceonAngBagongBayanianditsGuidelines.

Ang Bagong BayaniOFW Labor Party v. COMELECs1 intrinsically flawed interpretation of the relevant
constitutionalandstatutoryprovisionsisthemainsourceofthepresentcontroversy.Itsconstrictedinterpretationof
thestatutoryphrase"marginalizedandunderrepresented"hasinvitedmorequestionsthananswersthattheframers
ofthe1987Constitutioninfactsoughttoavoid.

II.A.1.PointsofDisagreementwithAngBagongBayani.

Itakethepositionthatitistimetorevisitthisoftcitedrulingbeforethepartylistsystemisfurtherledastray.

First,thepartylistsystemcameintobeing,principallydrivenbytheconstitutionalframersintenttoreformthethen
prevailing electoral system by giving marginal and underrepresented parties (i.e. those who cannot win in the
legislative district elections and in this sense are marginalized and may lack the constituency to elect themselves
there,butwhonationallymaygeneratevotesequivalenttowhatawinnerinthelegislativedistrictelectionwould
garner)thechancetoparticipateintheelectoralexerciseandtoelectthemselvestotheHouseofRepresentatives
throughasystemotherthanthelegislativedistrictelections.

AngBagongBayaniglossedovertheconstitutionaltextandmadeaslantedreadingoftheintentoftheframersof
theConstitution.Bythesemeans,iterroneouslyconcludedthatthepartylistsystemisprimarilyintendedasasocial
justicetool,andwasnotprincipallydrivenbyintenttoreformelectoralsystem.Thus,underitsFirstGuideline,Ang
Bagong Bayani solely viewed the partylist system from the prism of social justice, and not from the prism of
electoralreformastheframersoftheConstitutionoriginallyintended.

Second.Intheconstitutionaldeliberations,theproponentsoftheelectoralreformconceptwereopposedbythose
who wanted a partylist system open only to sectoral representation, particularly to sectoral groups with social
justiceorientation.

Theoppositorsweredefeated,buttheproponentsneverthelessopenedthesystemtosectoralrepresentationandin
fact gave the social justice groups a headstart by providing for their representation through selection in the first
threeelections.

In the resulting approved wording, the Constitution made a textual commitment to open the partylist system to
registerednational,regionalandsectoralpartiesororganizations.TheArticleontheCommissiononElectionalso
pointedly provided that there shall be a "free and open party system," and votes for parties, organizations or
coalitionsshallonlyberecognizedinthepartylistsystem.

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II.A.2.EffectsontheComponentsofthePartylistSystem

Ang Bagong Bayani admits that even political parties may run in the partylist elections but maintains under its
Second Guideline that they must qualify as marginal and underrepresented as this phrase is understood in the
socialjusticecontext.Thisistotallyincorrect.

Basedonthereasonsdiscussedaboveandfurtherexpoundedbelow,evenmajorpoliticalpartiescanparticipatein
partylist elections because the partylist system is open to all registered political, national, regional, sectoral
organizations and parties, subject only to the limitations imposed by the Constitution and by law. Further, both
politicalandsectoralpartieshaveequalrolesandparticipationinthepartylistsystemagain,theyaresubjecttothe
same limitations imposed by law (the Constitution and RA No. 7941) and are separately burdened only by the
limitationsintrinsictotheirrespectivenatures.Tosummarize:

a) For political parties (whether national or regional): to be classified as political parties, they must advocate an
ideologyorplatform,principlesandpolicies,forthegeneralconductofgovernment.Theapplicationofthefurther
requirementunderRANo.7941(thatasthemostimmediatemeansofsecuringtheadoptionoftheirprinciplesof
governance,theymustregularlynominateandsupporttheirleadersandmembersascandidatesforpublicoffice)
shalldependontheparticularcircumstancesoftheparty.

The marginal and underrepresentation in the electoral sense (i.e., in the legislative district elections) and lack of
constituencyrequirementsfullyapply,butthereisnoreasonnottopresumecompliancewiththeserequirementsif
politicalpartiesarenotparticipantsinanylegislativedistrictelections.

Major political parties, if they participate in the legislative district elections, cannot participate in the partylist
elections,norcantheyformacoalitionwithpartylistpartiesandrunasacoalitioninthepartylistelections.

A coalition is a formal party participant in the partylist system what the partylist system forbids directly (i.e.,
participation in both electoral arenas), the major political parties cannot do indirectly through a coalition. No
prohibition, however, exists against informal alliances that they can form with partylist parties, organizations or
groupsrunningforthepartylistelections.Thepartylistcomponentoftheseinformalalliancesisnotprohibitedfrom
runninginthepartylistelections.

b)Forsectoralpartiesandorganizations,theymustbelongtothesectorsenumeratedinSection5(2),ArticleVIof
the1987ConstitutionandSection5ofRANo.7941thataremainlybasedonsocialjusticecharacteristicsormust
haveinterests,concernsorcharacteristicsspecifictotheirsectorsalthoughtheydonotrequireorneedtoidentify
with any social justice characteristic. In either case, they are subject to the "marginalized and underrepresented"
and the "constituency" requirements of the law through a showing, supported by evidence, that they belong to a
sectorthatisactuallycharacterizedasmarginalandunderrepresented.

These parties and organizations are additionally subject to the general overriding requirement of electoral
marginalizationandunderrepresentationandtheconstituencyrequirementsofthelaw,butthereisnoreasonwhy
compliance with these requirements cannot be presumed if they are not participants in any legislative district
elections.

c) Compliance with COMELEC Rules. To justify their existence, all partylist groups must comply with the
requirementsoflaw,theirowninternalrulesonmembership,andwiththeCOMELECsRulesofProcedure.They
must submit to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) their constitution, bylaws, platform or program of
government,listofofficers,coalitionagreementandotherrelevantinformationastheCOMELECmayrequire.2

TosumuptheseAngBagongBayaniobjections,thepartylistsystemasprincipallyespousedbyCommissioner
Christian Monsod and duly approved by the Commissions vote maintained its electoral reform objectives while
significantlycontributingtothesocialjusticethrustoftheConstitution.

Itisnotcorrecttosay,astheChiefJusticedidinherReflections,thatthisSeparateOpinionisnot"appropriately
sensitive to the context from which it [the 1987 Constitution] arose." I recognize the social justice content of the
partylistprovisionsintheConstitutionandthelawIsimplycannotgivetheseprovisionstheprimacythatboththe
framersoftheConstitutionandCongressdidnotseefittoaccord.

B.OnNominees

Third. Considering the Constitutions solicitous concern for the marginalized and underrepresented sectors as
understoodinthesocialjusticecontext,andRA7941srequirementofmerebonafidemembershipofanomineein
the partylist group, a nominee who does not actually possess the marginalized and underrepresented status
represented by the partylist group but proves to be a genuine advocate of the interest and concern of the
marginalizedandunderrepresentedsectorrepresentedisstillqualifiedtobeanominee.

This classification of nominees, however, is relevant only to sectoral parties and organizations which are

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marginalized and underrepresented in the social justice sense or in terms of their special interests, concerns or
characteristics. To be consistent with the sectoral representation envisioned by the framers, a majority of the
members of the party must actually belong to the sector represented, while nominees must be a member of the
sectoralpartyororganization.

Since political parties are identified by their ideology or platform of government, bona fide membership, in
accordancewiththepoliticalpartysconstitutionandbylaws,wouldsuffice.

In both political or sectoral party or group, party membership is the most tangible link of the nominees to their
respectivepartiesandtothepartylistsystem.

Subjecttotheabove,thedisqualificationofthenomineedoesnotnecessarilymeanthedisqualificationoftheparty
sinceallthegroundsforcancellationorrefusalofregistrationpertaintothepartyitself.

I make the qualification that the laws3 requirement of the submission of a list containing at least five (qualified)
nominees is mandatory, and a partys inexcusable failure to comply with this requirement warrants the refusal or
cancellationofitsregistrationunderSection6ofRA7941.

C.OntheObservationsoftheChiefJustice

Asmyfourthandfinalpoint,the"textualist"approachthattheChiefJusticeobjectsto,hasbeendriven,andisfully
justified,bytheabovereadingoftheConstitutionandthelaw.

Asabasicconstitutionalpoint,thebusinessandprincipalfunctionofthisCourt(andofthewholeJudiciary)isnotto
createpolicyortosupplantwhattheConstitutionandthelawexpresslyprovide.TheframersoftheConstitutionand
Congress(throughRANo.7941inthiscase)providedthepolicyexpressedthroughthewordsoftheConstitution
andthelaw,andthroughtheintentstheframersbothwereconsideredandcitedtoensurethattheconstitutional
policyisproperlyreadandunderstood.ThewholeJudiciary,includingthisCourt,canonlyapplythesepoliciesinthe
courseoftheirassignedtaskofadjudicationwithoutaddinganythingofourownwecaninterpretthewordsonlyin
caseofambiguity.

This Court and its Members cannot likewise act as advocates, even for social justice or for any ideology for that
matter,asadvocacyisnotthetaskassignedtousbytheConstitution.Toplaytheroleofadvocates,ortoformulate
policiesthatfallwithintheroleoftheLegislativeBranchofgovernment,wouldbeaviolationofourswornduty.

D.GraveAbuseofDiscretionandConclusion

As agreed upon by the Majority during the deliberations of this case, the Court suspended the Rules of Court in
considering the Rule 64 petitions before us in light of the clear and patent violation of the Constitution that the
Majorityunanimouslyfound.

Thus, without an explicit ruling on the grave abuse of discretion in this case, I vote to VACATE the ruling of the
COMELEC pursuant to the suspended rules in light of our finding of patent violation of the Constitution after
revisitingandoverturningtheAngBagongBayaniruling.

Havingsaidthese,however,Ireflectfortherecordmyviewthatagraveabuseofdiscretionexists.

Undeniably,allthepartiestotheseconsolidatedcasesnamely,thepetitionersandtheCOMELECreliedupon
andwereallguidedbytheAngBagongBayaniruling.However,myreexaminationofAngBagongBayaniandits
standards,inlightofwhatthetextandintentsoftheConstitutionandRANo.7491provide,yieldaresultdifferent
fromwhatAngBagongBayanireached.

As will be discussed extensively in this Separate Opinion, wrong considerations were used in ruling on the
consolidated petitions, resulting in gross misinterpretation and misapplication of the Constitution. This is grave
abuse of discretion that taints a decision makers action,4 infinitely made worse in this case because the
Constitutionitselfisinvolved.

An added basis for a finding of grave abuse of discretion pertains specifically to the COMELECs refusal or
cancellationofregistrationofthepartylistgroupbased,solelyorpartly,onthedisqualificationofthenominee.As
discussedbelow,thisactionandanyrefusalorcancellationofregistrationiscompletelydevoidofbasisinfactand
inlawandinthissenseconstitutesgraveabuseofdiscretion.

Intheselights,IvotefortheREMANDofALLthepetitionstotheCOMELECinaccordancewiththetermsofthis
SeparateOpinion.

III.PRELIMINARYMATTERS

A.TheexistenceofjurisdictionalerrorthatwarrantsreviewingCOMELECsaction
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Whetheractingintheexerciseofitspurelyadministrativepower,ononehand,orquasijudicialpowers,ontheother
hand,thejudicialremedyavailabletoanaggrievedpartyistheremedyofcertiorariunderRule64,inrelationwith
Rule 65. Court action under this rule is rendered necessary by the reality that, by law, the COMELEC en banc
decisionisfinalandexecutoryandshouldstandunlessnullifiedbythisCourtthroughawritofcertiorari.

Forthewritofcertioraritoissue,theRulesofCourtexpresslyrequirethatthetribunalmusthaveactedwithoutorin
excessofitsjurisdiction,orwithgraveabuseofdiscretionamountingtolackorexcessofjurisdiction.Therequisite
graveabuseofdiscretionisinkeepingwiththeofficeofthewritofcertiorariitsfunctionistokeepthetribunalwithin
theboundsofitsjurisdictionundertheConstitutionandlaw.

The term grave abuse of discretion, while it defies exact definition, generally refers to capricious or whimsical
exerciseofjudgmentthatisequivalenttolackofjurisdictiontheabuseofdiscretionmustbepatentandgrossasto
amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in
contemplationoflaw,aswherethepowerisexercisedinanarbitraryanddespoticmannerbyreasonofpassionand
hostility.5

Arguably under the above standards, it may be claimed that since the COMELEC merely complied with the
prevailing jurisprudence (in particular. with the Courts pronouncement in Ang Bagong Bayani v. COMELEC and
Banatv.COMELEC),thenitcouldnothaveactedwithoutorinexcessofitsjurisdiction,muchlesswithgraveabuse
of discretion. Besides, the writ of certiorari only lies when the respondent is exercising judicial or quasijudicial
functions,whichisnotsointhepresentcase.

This rationalization, however, is only superficially sound as the gross misinterpretation and misapplication of the
Constitution cannot be allowed by this Court in its role and duty as guardian of the Constitution. Where a
misinterpretation or misapplication of the Constitution occurs, the result is a constitutional violation that this Court
cannot be prevented from addressing through the exercise of its powers through the available medium of review
undertheRulesofCourt.ToholdotherwiseistocountenanceaviolationoftheConstitutionalapsethatcannot
andshouldnothappenunderourlegalsystem.

Otherwise stated, if the Court were to sustain the view that the mere application of a prevailing rule or doctrine
negates a finding of grave abuse of discretion, in spite of a glaring error in the doctrines interpretation of the
Constitution,thentheCourtwouldhavenochancetocorrecttheerror,exceptbylayingdownanewdoctrinethat
would operate prospectively but at the same time dismissing the petition for failure to show grave abuse of
discretion.Tobesure,thisisacourseofactiontheCourtcannottakeifitweretofaithfullydischargeitssolemnduty
toholdtheConstitutioninviolate.FortheCourt,actionunderthesecircumstancesisamustnoifsorbutscanbe
allowedtobeheardaboutitsrightanddutytoact.

Itshouldbeconsidered,too,thatintheadjudicationofacasewithconstitutionaldimensions,itistheletterandthe
spiritoftheConstitutionitselfthatreignsupreme.TheCourtspreviousrulingonamatterservesasaguideinthe
resolutionofasimilarmatterinthefuture,butthispriorrulingcannotinflexiblybindtheCourtinitsfutureactions.As
thehighestCourtinourjudicialhierarchy,theCourtcannottieitshandsthroughitspastactions,particularlywhen
theConstitutionisinvolveditisinvestedwiththeinnateauthoritytoruleaccordingtowhatitseesbestinitsroleas
guardianoftheConstitution.6

Additionally,beitrememberedthattherulingsofthisCourtarenotwritteninstoneanddonotremainunerased
and applicable for all times under all circumstances. The Supreme Court's review of its rulings is in a sense a
continuingoneasthesearemadeandrefinedinthecasesbeforetheCourt,takingintoaccountwhatithassaidon
thesimilarpointsinthepast.Thisistheprincipleofstaredecisisthatfostersthestabilityofrulingsanddecisions.
Thisprinciple,however,isnotanabsoluteonethatappliesevenifanincisiveexaminationshowsthatapastruling
isinaccurateandisfarfromafaithfulinterpretationoftheConstitution,orinfactinvolvesaconstitutionalviolation.In
thisexcludedcircumstance,boththeruleofreasonandthecommandsoftheConstitutionitselfrequirethatthepast
ruling be modified and, if need be, overturned.7 Indeed, if the act done is contrary to the Constitution, then the
existenceofgraveabuseofdiscretioncannotbedoubted.8

As will be discussed extensively in this Separate Opinion, the Ang Bagong Bayani ruling does not rest on firm
constitutional and legal grounds its slanted reading of the text of the constitution and its myopic view of
constitutionalintentledittoagraveerrorneverenvisionedbytheframersofourconstitution.

By ordering the remand of all the petitions to the COMELEC and for the latter to act in accordance with the new
rulinglaiddownbytheCourti.e.,allowingpoliticalpartiestoparticipateinthepartylistelectionswithoutneedof
provingthattheyare"marginalizedandunderrepresented"(asthistermisunderstoodinAngBagongBayani),and
in recognizing that a genuine advocate of a sectoral party or organization may be validly included in the list of
nomineestheCourtwouldnotbeviolatingtheprincipleofprospectivity.9

The rationale behind the principle of prospectivity both in the application of law and of judicial decisions

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enunciating new doctrines is the protection of vested rights and the obligation of contracts. When a new ruling
overrulesapriorruling,theprospectiveapplicationofthenewrulingismadeinfavorofpartieswhohavereliedin
goodfaithonthepriorrulingunderthefamiliarruleoflexprospicit,nonrespicit.

Obviously,theforceofthisrationalefindsnoapplicationinthiscase,for,arulingoverturningAngBagongBayani
broadensthebaseofparticipationinthepartylistsystemofelectionbasedonthetextandintentoftheConstitution.
Thus, no one can claim that the application of this ruling in the upcoming 2013 election would operate to the
prejudiceofpartieswhoreliedontheAngBagongBayanirulingthemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors
(as the term in understood in Ang Bagong Bayani) continue to be eligible to participate in the partylist elections,
subjecttothedeterminationofpartiesindividualcircumstancesbytheCOMELEC.

B. COMELEC power to register and to cancel registration of a partylist group is an exercise of its administrative
powers

TheCOMELECEnBancsauthorityunderCOMELECResolutionNo.9513i.e.,toconductsummaryhearingsfor
the purpose of determining the registered parties continuing compliance with the law and the regulations and to
review the COMELEC Divisions ruling granting a petition for registration is appropriately an exercise of the
COMELECs administrative power rather than its quasijudicial power. In the exercise of this authority, the
COMELECmayautomaticallyreviewthedecisionofitsDivisions,withoutneedforamotiontoreconsiderthegrant
ofapetitionforregistrationitmayalsoconductsummaryhearingswhenpreviouslyregisteredpartylistgroupsfile
theirmanifestationofintenttoparticipateinthecomingelections.

The case of Santiago, Jr., etc. v. Bautista, et al.10 already provides us ample guidance and insights into what
distinguishes administrative and quasijudicial powers from one another. On the issue of whether the remedy of
certiorari (which can only be invoked when the respondent exercises judicial or quasijudicial functions) would lie
againstapublicschoolcommitteewhosefunctionwastodeterminetherankingofselectedhonorstudentsforits
graduatingclass,theCourtgaveanegativeanswerandsaid:

Fromtheforegoing,itwillbegleanedthatbeforeatribunal,board,orofficermayexercisejudicialorquasijudicial
acts,itisnecessarythattherebealawthatgivesrisetosomespecificrightsofpersonsorpropertyunderwhich
adverse claims to such rights are made, and the controversy ensuing therefrom is brought, in turn, before the
tribunal,boardorofficerclothedwithpowerandauthoritytodeterminewhatthatlawisandthereuponadjudicatethe
respectiverightsofthecontendingparties.Aspointedoutbyappellees,however,thereisnothingonrecordabout
anyruleoflawthatprovidesthatwhenteacherssitdowntoassesstheindividualmeritsoftheirpupilsforpurposes
of rating them for honors, such function involves the determination of what the law is and that they are therefore
automaticallyvestedwithjudicialorquasijudicialfunctions.11(citationomittedemphasesours)

Inthepresentcase,nopretenseatallisclaimedormadethatapetitionforregistrationorthedeterminationofa
registeredpartyscontinuingcompliancewithexistinglaws,rulesandjurisprudenceentailstheassertionofarightor
thepresenceofaconflictofrights.Inaregistrationorcomplianceproceeding,anapplicantsimplyattemptstoprove
its possession or continued possession of the requisite qualifications for the purpose of availing the privilege of
participating in an electoral exercise. Thus, no real adjudication entailing the exercise of quasijudicial powers
actuallytakesplace.

Additionally,theinapplicabilityoftheprincipleofresjudicataintheseregistrationproceedingsnecessarilyweakens
anyclaimthatadjudication,doneintheexerciseofquasijudicialfunctions,isinvolved.Eachelectionperiodissui
generis a class in itself, and any registration or accreditation by a partylist group is only for the purpose of the
coming election it does not grant any registered partylist group any mantle of immunity from the COMELECs
powerofreviewasanincidentofitspowertoregister.ToholdotherwisewouldemasculatetheCOMELECasan
independentconstitutionalcommission,andweakenthecrucialroleitplaysinourrepublicandemocracy.

IV.DISCUSSION:MERITSOFTHEPETITIONS

ItakethefirmpositionthatthisCourtshouldnowrevisititsrulinginAngBagongBayanibeforeourpartylistsystem
driftsanyfartherfromthetextandspiritoftheconstitutionalandstatutorycommands.

TheseDiscussionsshalldwellonthereasonssupportingthisapproachandmyconclusions.

A.TheConstitutionalProvisionsonthePartylistSystem

a.TheConstitutionalText.

The only constitutional provisions directly dealing with the partylist system of election are Section 5(1) and (2) of
ArticleVI,andSections2,6and7,ArticleIXCofthe1987Constitution.ThecitedArticleVIsectionreads:

Section5.(1)TheHouseofRepresentativesshallbecomposedofnotmorethantwohundredandfiftymembers,
unlessotherwisefixedbylaw,whoshallbeelectedfromlegislativedistrictsapportionedamongtheprovinces,cities,

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andtheMetropolitanManilaareainaccordancewiththenumberoftheirrespectiveinhabitants,andonthebasisof
auniformandprogressiveratio,andthosewho,asprovidedbylaw,shallbeelectedthroughapartylistsystemof
registerednational,regional,andsectoralpartiesororganizations.

(2)Thepartylistrepresentativesshallconstitutetwentypercentumofthetotalnumberofrepresentativesincluding
thoseunderthepartylist.ForthreeconsecutivetermsaftertheratificationofthisConstitution,onehalfoftheseats
allocated to partylist representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor,
peasant,urbanpoor,indigenousculturalcommunities,women,youth,andsuchothersectorsasmaybeprovided
bylaw,exceptthereligioussector.[emphasis,underscoresanditalicsours]

Article IXC of the 1987 Constitution, on the other hand, is the article on the COMELEC, and the cited sections
quotedbelowareitsprovisionsrelatedtothepartylistsystem.

Section2.TheCommissiononElectionsshallexercisethefollowingpowersandfunctions:

xxxx

(5) Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, or coalitions which, in addition to other
requirements,mustpresenttheirplatformorprogramofgovernmentandaccreditcitizens'armsoftheCommission
onElections.xxx

xxxx

Section 6. A free and open party system shall be allowed to evolve according to the free choice of the people,
subjecttotheprovisionsofthisArticle.

Section 7. No votes cast in favor of a political party, organization, or coalition shall be valid, except for those
registeredunderthepartylistsystemasprovidedinthisConstitution.[emphasesanditalicsours]

These provisions are specifically mentioned and shall be cited throughout this Separate Opinion as they are the
essentialtakeoffpointsinconsidering,appreciatingandimplementingthepartylistsystem.

b.TheConstitutionalTextSummarized

Paraphrasedandsummarized,thetermsoftheConstitutionrelatingtothepartylistsystemessentiallyprovidethat:

1.TheHouseofRepresentativesshallbecomposedofmemberselectedfromlegislativedistricts,andthose
whoareelectedthroughapartylistsystem.

2.ThemembersoftheHouseofRepresentativesunderthepartylistsystemarethosewhoareelected,as
providedbylaw,thus,plainlyleavingthemechanicsofthesystemtofuturelegislation.

3.Themembersunderthesystemshallbeelectedthroughregisterednational,regional,sectoralpartiesand
organizations, thus, textually identifying the recognized component groupings in the partylist system they
mustallregisterwiththeCOMELECtobeabletoparticipate.

4.Tobevotedunderthepartylistsystemarethecomponentpoliticalparties,organizationsandcoalitions,in
contrastwiththeindividualcandidatesvoteduponinlegislativedistrictelections.

5. The partylist representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives,
includingthoseinthepartylist.

6.ForthreeconsecutivetermsaftertheratificationoftheConstitution,onehalfoftheseatsallocatedtoparty
listrepresentativesshallbefilledasprovidedbylaw,byselectionorelectionfromthelabor,peasant,urban
poor,indigenousculturalminorities,women,youth,andsuchothersectorsasmaybeprovidedbylaw,except
thereligioussector.

7.TheConstitutionallowsafreeandopenpartysystemthatshallevolveaccordingtothefreechoiceofthe
people,withinthelimitsoftheConstitution.

c.PurposeBehindthePartylistInnovation

Unmistakably, the quoted constitutional texts are both terse and general in their terms. However, they are not, in
fact, as bare as they would seem, as the words used carry meanings and intents12 expressed during the
deliberationsandthevotingthattookplacetodeterminewhattheConstitutionwouldexactlyprovide.13

Basic in understanding the constitutional text is the intent that led to the modification of the system of legislative
districtelectionsthatthecountryhasusedevenbeforethe1935Constitution.
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The traditional system, incidentally, is the legislative district system that remains described in the Constitution as
electionbydistrict"apportionedamongtheprovinces,citiesandtheMetropolitanManilaareainaccordancewiththe
numberoftheirrespectiveinhabitantsandonthebasisofauniformandprogressiveratio."14

The proponent, Commissioner Christian Monsod, described the new partylist system in terms of its purpose, as
follows:15

The purpose of this is to open the system. In the past elections, we found out that there were certain groups or
partiesthat,ifwecounttheirvotesnationwide,haveabout1,000,000or1,500,000votes.Buttheywerealwaysthird
placeorfourthplaceineachofthedistricts.So,theyhavenovoiceintheAssembly.Butthisway,theywouldhave
fiveorsixrepresentativesintheAssemblyeveniftheywouldnotwinindividuallyinlegislativedistricts.So,thatis
essentiallythemechanics,thepurposeandobjectivesofthepartylistsystem.[italics,emphasesandunderscores
ours]

These same purpose and objective were reiterated in the Commissioners subsequent statement when he said
The whole purpose of the system is precisely to give room for those who have a national constituency who may
neverbeabletowinaseatonalegislativedistrictbasis.Buttheymusthaveaconstituencyofatleast400,000in
ordertoclaimavoiceintheNationalAssembly.16thus,leavingnodoubtonwhatthepartylistsystemconceptually
isandwhyitwasestablished.

B.RANo.7941,thePartyListSystemAct

Following the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, President Corazon Aquino appointed representatives of the
sectors mentioned in the Constitution, namely: labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural minorities, women,
andyouth,whoactedasthepartylistrepresentativesforthefirstthree(3)electionsunderthisConstitution.

In March 1995, Congress enacted RA No. 7941, the PartyList System Act, as the law that would implement the
partylist election scheduled for May 1998. The law at the same time fleshed out the mechanics for partylist
elections,inaccordancewiththetermsoftheConstitution.Thelawspecificallyprovidedfor:

a.adeclarationofthepolicybehindthelaw

b. a definition of terms, specifically defining the terms national, political, regional, and sectoral parties, and
theircoalitions

c. the requisites and terms for registration the grounds for refusal and cancellation of registration and the
certifiedlistofregisteredparties

d.thenominationandqualificationforpartylistrepresentatives

e.themannerofvoting

f.thenumberandprocedurefortheallocationofpartylistrepresentativesand

g.theproclamationofthewinningpartylistrepresentatives,theirtermofofficethelimitationontheirchange
ofaffiliationtheirrightsandtheprovisionsincaseofvacancy.

Reflectingtheconstitutionalintents,thelawdefinedthepartylistsystemas:

amechanismofproportionalrepresentationintheelectionofrepresentativestotheHouseofRepresentativesfrom
national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof registered with the Commission on
Elections (COMELEC). Component parties or organizations of a coalition may participate independently provided
thecoalitionofwhichtheyformpartdoesnotparticipateinthepartylistsystem.17(emphasesanditalicsours)and
clarifiedtheStatespolicy,objectivesandmeans,asfollows:

a. the promotion of proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of


Representatives through a partylist system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or
organizationsorcoalitionsthereof

b. with the aim of enabling Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors,
organizationsandparties,andwholackwelldefinedpoliticalconstituenciesbutwhocouldcontributetothe
formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to become
membersoftheHouseofRepresentativesand

c. for the development and guarantee of a full, free and open party system in order to attain the broadest
possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing
theirchancestocompeteforandwinseatsinthelegislatureunderthesimplestschemepossible.18

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RA No. 7941 likewise succinctly defined the component groupings recognized by law in the partylist system, as
follows:

(b)Apartymeanseitherapoliticalpartyorasectoralpartyoracoalitionofparties.

(c)Apoliticalpartyreferstoanorganizedgroupofcitizensadvocatinganideologyorplatform,principlesand
policies for the general conduct of government and which, as the most immediate means of securing their
adoption,regularlynominatesandsupportscertainofitsleadersandmembersascandidatesforpublicoffice.

Itisanationalpartywhenitsconstituencyisspreadoverthegeographicalterritoryofatleastamajorityofthe
regions. It is a regional party when its constituency is spread over the geographical territory of at least a
majorityofthecitiesandprovincescomprisingtheregion.

(d)Asectoralpartyreferstoanorganizedgroupofcitizensbelongingtoanyofthesectorsenumeratedlabor,
peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth,
veterans,overseasworkers,andprofessionalswhoseprincipaladvocacypertainstothespecialinterestand
concernsoftheirsector.

(e)Asectoralorganizationreferstoagroupofcitizensoracoalitionofgroupsofcitizenswhosharesimilar
physicalattributesorcharacteristics,employment,interestsorconcerns.

(f)Acoalitionreferstoanaggrupationofdulyregisterednational,regional,sectoralpartiesororganizations
forpoliticaland/orelectionpurposes.19(emphasesanditalicsours)

Notably,thedefinitionscarriednosignificantqualifications,preferences,exclusionsorlimitationsbylawonwhatthe
recognizedpartylistgroupingsshouldbe,althoughSection6ofRANo.7941specifiedanddefinedthegroundsfor
disqualification.

C.JurisprudentialDevelopments

a.TheAngBagongBayaniCase

In2001,thefirstjudicialtestintheimplementationofthepartylistsystemcamethroughtheAngBagongBayani
casewherethepetitionerssoughtthedisqualificationoftheprivaterespondents,amongwhomweremajorpolitical
parties.TheCourtresolved,amongothers,thefollowingissues:

1.whetherpoliticalpartiesmayparticipateinpartylistelectionsand

2.whetherthepartylistsystemisexclusiveto"marginalizedandunderrepresented"sectorsandorganizations.

The majority ruling held that political parties may participate in partylist elections, provided that the requisite
characterofthesepartiesororganizationsmustbeconsistentwiththeConstitutionandRANo.7941.Thepartylist
organization or party must factually and truly represent the marginalized and underrepresented constituencies,
identifying them, nonexclusively, as the labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities,
elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals. The partylist nominees, as
well,mustbeFilipinocitizensbelongingtomarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors,organizationsandparties.

Basedonitsconclusions,themajorityprovidedtheguidelinesforthepartylistsystem,summarizedbelow:

First, the political party, sector, organization or coalition must represent the marginalized and underrepresented
groups identified in Section 5 of RA 7941. In other words, it must show through its constitution, articles of
incorporation, bylaws, history, platform of government and track record that it represents and seeks to uplift
marginalized and underrepresented sectors. Verily, majority of its membership should belong to the marginalized
andunderrepresented.Anditmustdemonstratethatinaconflictofinterests,ithaschosenorislikelytochoosethe
interestofsuchsectors.

Second,whileevenmajorpoliticalpartiesareexpresslyallowedbyRA7941andtheConstitutiontoparticipatein
thepartylistsystem,theymustcomplywiththedeclaredstatutorypolicyofenabling"Filipinocitizensbelongingto
marginalizedandunderrepresentedsectorsxxxtobeelectedtotheHouseofRepresentatives."Inotherwords,
whiletheyarenotdisqualifiedmerelyonthegroundthattheyarepoliticalparties,theymustshow,however,that
theyrepresenttheinterestsofthemarginalizedandunderrepresented.xxx

xxxx

Third,byanexpressconstitutionalprovision,thereligioussectormaynotberepresentedinthepartylistsystem.xx
x

xxxx
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Fourth, a party or an organization must not be disqualified under Section 6 of RA 7941, which enumerates the
groundsfordisqualification.

xxxx

Fifth,thepartyororganizationmustnotbeanadjunctof,oraprojectorganizedoranentityfundedorassistedby,
thegovernment.Bytheverynatureofthepartylistsystem,thepartyororganizationmustbeagroupofcitizens,
organizedbycitizensandoperatedbycitizens.Itmustbeindependentofthegovernment.xxx

Sixth,thepartymustnotonlycomplywiththerequirementsofthelawitsnomineesmustlikewisedoso.Section9
of RA 7941 contains the qualifications of partylist nominees, with special agerelated terms for youth sector
candidates.

Seventh,notonlythecandidatepartyororganizationmustrepresentmarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors
soalsomustitsnominees.xxxUnderSection2ofRA7941,thenomineesmustbeFilipinocitizens"whobelongto
marginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors,organizationsandparties."xxx

Eighth, x x x the nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate
legislationthatwillbenefitthenationasawhole.20(italicsandemphasesours)

b.BANATCase

Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) v. Commission on Elections21 is
essentially a case on the computation of the allocation of seats based on the partylist votes. Despite the Ang
Bagong Bayani ruling, the question of whether the Constitution prohibits political parties from participating in the
partylistelectionsremainedaliveissueinthiscase.

By a vote of 87, the Court decided to disallow major political parties from participating in the partylist elections,
directly or indirectly thus, effectively reversing the ruling in Ang Bagong Bayani that major political parties may
participate in the partylist system, provided they represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors. Chief
JusticeReynatoS.Punocitedtworeasonsfordisallowingtheparticipationofmajorpoliticalparties:

1.Limitingthepartylistsystemtothemarginalizedandexcludingthemajorpoliticalpartiesfromparticipating
intheelectionoftheirrepresentativesarealignedwiththeconstitutionalmandatetoreducesocial,economic
andpoliticalinequalitiesandremoveculturalinequalitiesbyequitablydiffusingwealthandpoliticalpowerfor
thecommongood.

2. Allowing major political parties to participate in the partylist system electoral process will suffocate the
voiceofthemarginalized,frustratetheirsovereignty,andbetraythedemocraticspiritoftheConstitution.

Theminorityview22tookthepositionthatneithertheConstitutionnorRANo.7941prohibitsmajorpoliticalparties
fromparticipatinginthepartylistsystem.Itmaintainedthat,onthecontrary,theframersoftheConstitutionclearly
intendedthemajorpoliticalpartiestoparticipateinpartylistelectionsthroughtheirsectoralwings,andthisCourt
cannotengageinsociopoliticalengineeringandjudiciallylegislatetheexclusionofmajorpoliticalpartiesfromparty
listelections,inpatentviolationoftheConstitutionandthelaw.

Moreover, the minority maintained that the PartyList System Act and the deliberations of the Constitutional
Commission state that major political parties are allowed to coalesce with sectoral organizations for electoral or
politicalpurposes.Theothermajorpoliticalpartiescanthusorganizeoraffiliatewiththeirchosensectororsectors,
providedthattheirnomineesbelongtotheirrespectivesectors.Norisitnecessarythatthepartylistorganizations
nominee"wallowinpoverty,destitution,andinfirmity,"asthereisnofinancialstatusoreducationalrequirementin
the law. It is enough that the nominee of the sectoral party belongs to the marginalized and underrepresented
sectorsthatis,ifthenomineerepresentsthefisherfolk,hemustbeafisherfolk,ifthenomineerepresentsthesenior
citizens,hemustbeaseniorcitizen.

D. The Partylist System of elections under the constitution and RA 7941: Revisiting Ang Bagong Bayani and its
errors

IopenedtheseDiscussionsbyquotingtheplaintermsoftheConstitutionandofthelawtostressthesetermsfor
latercomparisonwithAngBagongBayani.Inthismanner,AngBagongBayanisslantedreadingoftheConstitution
andthelawscanbeseeninboldrelief.Itsmainmistakeisitserroneousreadingoftheconstitutionalintent,based
on the statements of a constitutional commissioner that were quoted out of context, to justify its reading of the
constitutionalintent.23Specifically,itreliedonthestatementsofCommissionerVillacorta,anadvocateofsectoral
representation,andglossedoverthoseofCommissionerMonsodandtheresultsofthedeliberations,asreflectedin
theresultingwordsoftheConstitution.24Thus,itsconclusionisnottrulyreflectiveoftheintentoftheframersofthe
Constitution.Thiserrorisfatalasitsconclusionwasthenusedtojustifyhisinterpretationofthestatute,leadingtoa

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biasforthesocialjusticeview.

a.TheAimorObjectiveofthePartyListSystem

a.1.FromtheConstitutionalPerspective.

Theaimofthepartylistprovision,Section5,ArticleVIoftheConstitution,isprincipallytoreformthethenexisting
electoralsystembyaddinganewsystemofelectingthemembersoftheHouseofRepresentatives.Theinnovation
isapartylistsystemthatwouldexpandopportunitiesforelectoralparticipationtoallowthosewhocouldnotwinin
thelegislativedistrictelectionsafairchancetoentertheHouseofRepresentativesotherthanthroughthedistrict
electionsystem.

Otherwise stated, the aim is primarily electoral reform not to provide a social justice mechanism that would
guarantee that sectors (described in social justice context by its constitutional deliberation proponents as
"marginalized")wouldexclusivelyoccupy,orhavereserved,seatsintheHouseofRepresentativesundertheparty
listsystem.ThisisoneglaringerrorthatisevidentrightfromtheopeningstatementofAngBagongBayaniwhenit
described the partylist system as "a social justice tool." While the partylist system can indeed serve the ends of
social justice by providing the opportunity through an open, multiparty system for the social justice sector
groupsthathavenochancetowininlegislativedistrictelections,thepartylistsystemwasnotestablishedprimarily
forthispurpose.

The best proof of this characteristic comes from the words of the Constitution itself which do not provide for
exclusive or guaranteed representation for sectoral groups in the partylist system. If at all, the constitutional text
onlyprovidedaguaranteeof50%participationforspecifiedsectoralgroups,buttheguaranteewasonlyforthefirst
three(3)electionsaftertheratificationoftheConstitution.25

The deliberations where the words of the Constitution were framed and adopted confirm the primacy of electoral
reformasagainstsocialjusticeobjectives.Theelectoralreformviewwasespousedbytheauthoroftheprovision,
CommissionerMonsod,andhisproposedamendment26metvigorousobjectionsfromCommissionerEulogioLerum
and Commissioner Jaime Tadeo, who then sought to have guaranteed or reserved seats for the "marginalized"
sectorsinordertopreventtheir"politicalmassacre"shouldtheMonsodamendmentbeallowed.27

When voting took place, those against reserved seats for the marginalized sector won. Eventually, what was
concededtothelatterwaswhattheConstitution,aswordednow,providesi.e.,"Forthreeconsecutivetermsafter
the ratification of this Constitution, onehalf of the seats allocated to partylist representatives shall be filled, as
providedbylaw,byselectionorelectionfrom"theenumeratedsectors.

Indeed, if the concept of "marginalized" would be applied to the partylist system, the term should apply to the
national,regional,andsectoralpartiesororganizationsthatcannotwininthetraditionallegislativedistrictelections
(followingtheexplanationofCommissionerMonsod),notnecessarilytothoseclaimingmarginalizationinthesocial
justice context or because of their special interests or characteristics. The term, of course, can very well be
applicable to the latter if they indeed cannot win on their own in the traditional legislative district elections. These
aspectsofthecasearefurtherdiscussedandexplainedbelow.

a.2.FromtheStatutoryPerspective.

EvenfromtheperspectiveofRANo.7941,thepolicybehindthepartylistsysteminnovationdoesnotvaryordepart
fromthebasicconstitutionalintents.Theobjectivecontinuestobeelectoralreform,expressedasthepromotionof
proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a partylist
systemofregisterednational,regionalandsectoralpartiesororganizationsorcoalitions,underafull,freeandopen
partysysteminordertoattainthebroadestpossiblerepresentationofparty,sectoralorgroupinterestsintheHouse
ofRepresentatives.28

ItshouldbenotedthatitwasunderRANo.7941thatthewords"marginalizedandunderrepresented"madetheir
formalappearanceinthepartylistsystem.Itwasusedinthecontextofdefiningoneoftheaimsofthesystem,i.e.,
toenableFilipinocitizensbelongingtomarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors,organizationsandparties,and
who lack welldefined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of
appropriatelegislationthatwillbenefitthenationasawhole,tobecomemembersoftheHouseofRepresentatives.

This entry and use of the term is admittedly an effective and formal statutory recognition that accommodates the
sectoral (in the special interest or concern or social justice senses) character into the partylist system (i.e., in
additiontotheprimaryelectoralreformpurposecontemplatedintheConstitution),butneverthelessdoesnotrender
sectoralgroupstheexclusiveparticipantsinpartylistelections.Asalreadymentioned,thisconclusionisnotjustified
bythewording,aimsandintentsofthepartylistsystemasestablishedbytheConstitutionandunderRANo.9741.

Nor does the use of the term "marginalized and underrepresented" (understood in the narrow sectoral context)
renderitanabsoluterequirementtoqualifyaparty,groupororganizationforparticipationinthepartylistelection,
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exceptforthoseinthesectoralgroupsorpartieswhobythenatureoftheirpartiesororganizationsnecessarilyare
subject to this requirement. For all parties, sectors, organizations or coalition, however, the absolute overriding
requirementasjustifiedbytheprincipalaimofthesystemremainstobeaparty,groupororganizationsinability
to participate in the legislative district elections with a fair chance of winning. To clearly express the logical
implicationofthisstatement,aparty,groupororganizationalreadyparticipatinginthelegislativedistrictelectionsis
presumedtohaveassessedforitselfafairchanceofwinningandshouldnolongerqualifytobeaparticipantinthe
partylistelections.

b.PartyParticipationunderthePartylistSystem

The members of the House of Representatives under the partylist system are those who would be elected, as
provided by law, thus, plainly leaving the mechanics of the system to future legislation. They are likewise
constitutionallyidentifiedastheregisterednational,regional,sectoralpartiesandorganizations,andaretheparty
listgroupingstobevotedunderthepartylistsystemunderafreeandopenpartysystemthatshouldbeallowedto
evolveaccordingtothefreechoiceofthepeoplewithinthelimitsoftheConstitution.29

Fromtheperspectiveofthelaw,thispartystructureandsystemwouldhopefullyfosterproportionalrepresentation
thatwouldleadtotheelectiontotheHouseofRepresentativesofFilipinocitizens:(1)whobelongtomarginalized
andunderrepresentedsectors,organizationsandpartiesand(2)wholackwelldefinedconstituenciesbut(3)who
couldcontributetotheformulationandenactmentofappropriatelegislationthatwillbenefitthenationasawhole.
The key words in this policy are "proportional representation," "marginalized and underrepresented," and "lack of
welldefinedconstituencies."

Theterm"marginalizedandunderrepresented"hasbeenpartlydiscussedaboveandwouldmeritfurtherdiscussion
below. Ang Bagong BayaniOFW Labor Party v. COMELEC,30 on the other hand, defined the term "proportional
representation"inthismanner:

It refers to the representation of the "marginalized and underrepresented" as exemplified by the enumeration in
Section 5 of the law namely, "labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural, communities, elderly,
handicapped,women,youth,veterans,overseasworkers,andprofessionals.31

Aswell,thecasedefinedthephrase"wholackwelldefinedpoliticalconstituency"tomean:referstotheabsenceof
a traditionally identifiable electoral group, like voters of a congressional district or territorial unit of government.
Rather,itpointsagaintothosewithdisparateinterestsidentifiedwiththe"marginalizedorunderrepresented.32

Thus,inbothinstances,AngBagongBayaniharkedbacktotheterm"marginalizedandunderrepresented,"clearly
showinghow,initsview,thepartylistsystemisboundtothisdescriptiveterm.Asdiscussedabove,AngBagong
Bayanis use of the term is not exactly correct on the basis of the primary aim of the partylist system. This error
becomes more glaring as the case applies it to the phrases "proportional representation" and "lack of political
constituency."

Forclarity,Section2theonlyprovisionwheretheterm"marginalizedandunderrepresented"appearsreadsin
full:

Section 2. Declaration of Policy. The State shall promote proportional representation in the election of
representatives to the House of Representatives through a partylist system of registered national, regional and
sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to the
marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack welldefined political
constituenciesbutwhocouldcontributetotheformulationandenactmentofappropriatelegislationthatwillbenefit
the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall
developandguaranteeafull,freeandopenpartysysteminordertoattainthebroadestpossiblerepresentationof
party,sectoralorgroupinterestsintheHouseofRepresentativesbyenhancingtheirchancestocompeteforand
winseatsinthelegislature,andshallprovidethesimplestschemepossible.

Asdefinedinthelaw,apartyreferstoanyofthethree:apoliticalparty,asectoralparty,oracoalitionofparties
(Section3[b]ofRANo.7941).Asdistinguishedfromsectoralpartiesororganizationswhichgenerallyadvocate
"interestsorconcerns"apoliticalpartyisonewhichadvocates"anideologyorplatform,principlesandpolicies"of
thegovernment.Inshort,itsidentificationiswithorthroughitsprogramofgovernance.

Undertheverbalegisorplaintermsruleofstatutoryinterpretation33andthemaximutmagisvaleatquampereat,34
acombinedreadingofSection2andSection3showsthatthestatusofbeing"marginalizedandunderrepresented"
isnotlimitedmerelytosectors,particularlytothoseenumeratedinSection5ofthelaw.Thelawitselfrecognizes
thatthesamestatuscanapplyaswellto"politicalparties."

Again,theexplanationofCommissionerMonsodontheprincipalobjectiveofthepartylistsystemcomestomindas
it provides a ready and very useful answer dealing with the relationship and interaction between sectoral

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representationandthepartylistsystemasawhole:

We sought to avoid these problems by presenting a party list system. Under the party list system, there are no
reservedseatsforsectors.Letussay,laborersandfarmerscanformasectoralpartyorasectoralorganizationthat
willthenregisterandpresentcandidatesoftheirparty.Howdothemechanicsgo?Essentially,underthepartylist
system, every voter has two votes, so there is no discrimination. First, he will vote for the representative of his
legislativedistrict.Thatisonevote.Inthatsameballot,hewillbeasked:Whatpartyororganizationorcoalitiondo
you wish to be represented in the Assembly? And here will be attached a list of the parties, organizations or
coalitionsthathavebeenregisteredwiththeCOMELECandareentitledtobeputinthatlist.Thiscanbearegional
party, a sectoral party, a national party, UNIDO, Magsasaka or a regional party in Mindanao. One need not be a
farmertosaythathewantsthefarmers'partytoberepresentedintheAssembly.Anycitizencanvoteforanyparty.
At the end of the day, the COMELEC will then tabulate the votes that had been garnered by each party or each
organizationonedoesnothavetobeapoliticalpartyandregisterinordertoparticipateasapartyandcount
thevotesandfromtherederivethepercentageofthevotesthathadbeencastinfavorofaparty,organizationor
coalition.

xxxx

It means that any group or party who has a constituency of, say, 500,000 nationwide gets a seat in the National
Assembly.Whatisthejustificationforthat?Whenweallocatelegislativedistricts,wearesayingthatanydistrictthat
has 200,000 votes gets a seat. There is no reason why a group that has a national constituency, even if it is a
sectoralorspecialinterestgroup,shouldnothaveavoiceintheNationalAssembly.Italsomeansthat,letussay,
therearethreeorfourlaborgroups,theyallregisterasapartyorasagroup.Ifeachofthemgetsonlyonepercent
orfiveofthemgetonepercent,theyarenotentitledtoanyrepresentative.So,theywillbegintothinkthatifthey
really have a common interest, they should band together, form a coalition and get five percent of the vote and,
therefore,havetwoseatsintheAssembly.Thosearethedynamicsofapartylistsystem.

Wefeelthatthisapproachgetsaroundthemechanicsofsectoralrepresentationwhileatthesametimemakingsure
thatthosewhoreallyhaveanationalconstituencyorsectoralconstituencywillgetachancetohaveaseatinthe
National Assembly. These sectors or these groups may not have the constituency to win a seat on a legislative
districtbasis.Theymaynotbeabletowinaseatonadistrictbasisbutsurely,theywillhavevotesonanationwide
basis.

xxxx

BISHOPBACANI:MadamPresident,amIrightininterpretingthatwhenwespeaknowofpartylistsystemthough
werefertosectors,wewouldbereferringtosectoralpartylistratherthansectorsandpartylist?

MR. MONSOD: As a matter of fact, if this body accepts the party list system, we do not even have to mention
sectorsbecausethesectorswouldbeincludedinthepartylistsystem.Theycanbesectoralpartieswithintheparty
listsystem.

BISHOPBACANI:Thankyouverymuch.35(emphasesandunderscoressupplied)

TheseexchangestookplaceonJuly22,1986.Whenthediscussiononthepartylistsystemofelectionresumedon
July25,1986,CommissionerMonsodproposedanamendment36(thatsubstantiallybecameSection5[1],ArticleVI
of1987Constitution)thatfurtherclarifiedwhatthisinnovativesystemis.

Thus,thewords"marginalized"and"underrepresented"shouldbeunderstoodintheelectoralsense,37 i.e., those


whocannotwininthetraditionaldistrictelectionsandwho,whiletheymayhaveanationalpresence,lacked"well
defined political constituency" within a district sufficient for them to win. For emphasis, sectoral representation of
thoseperceivedinthenarrowsectoral(includingsocialjustice)senseas"marginalized"insocietyisencapsulated
withinthebroadermultiparty(partylistsystem)envisionedbytheframers.

Thisbroadermultiparty(partylistsystem)seekstoaddressnotonlytheconcernsofthemarginalizedsector(inthe
narrowsectoralsense)butalsotheconcernsofthose"underrepresented"(inthelegislativedistrict)asaresultof
thewinnertakeallsystemprevailingindistrictelectionsasystemthatineluctably"disenfranchises"thosegroups
ormassofpeoplewhovotedforthesecond,thirdorfourthplacerinthedistrictelectionsandeventhosewhoare
passiveholdersofFilipinocitizenship.

RANo.7941itselfamplysupportsthisideaof"underrepresented"whenitusedabroadqualitativerequirementin
defining "political parties" as ideology or policybased groups and, "sectoral parties" as those whose principal
advocacypertainstothespecialinterestandconcernsofidentifiedsectors.

Based on these considerations, it becomes vividly clear that contrary once again to what Ang Bagong Bayani
holds proportional representation refers to the representation of different political parties, sectoral parties and
organizationsintheHouseofRepresentativesinproportiontothenumberoftheirnationalconstituencyorvoters,
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consistentwiththeconstitutionalpolicytoallowan"openandfreepartysystem"toevolve.

Inthisregard,thesecondsentenceofSection2ofRANo.7941isitselfnotablyanchoredonthe"openandfree
partysystem"mandatedbyArticleIXCoftheConstitution.Forsomereason,AngBagongBayaninevernotedthis
partofSection2anditssignificance,andisutterlysilentaswellontheconstitutionalanchorprovidedbySection6,
Article IXC of the Constitution. It appears to have simply and conveniently focused on the first sentence of the
Sectionanditsconstrictedviewoftheterm"marginalizedandunderrepresented,"whilewhollyfixatedonasocial
justiceorientation.Thus,itopeneditsruling,asfollows:

Thepartylistsystemisasocialjusticetooldesignednotonlytogivemorelawtothegreatmassesofourpeople
whohavelessinlife,butalsotoenablethemtobecomeveritablelawmakersthemselves,empoweredtoparticipate
directly in the enactment of laws designed to benefit them. It intends to make the marginalized and the
underrepresented not merely passive recipients of the State's benevolence, but active participants in the
mainstreamofrepresentativedemocracy.38(emphasissupplied)

Relianceontheconceptofsocialjustice,tobesure,involvesamotherhoodstatementthatofferslittleopportunity
for error, yet relying on the concept solely and exclusively can be misleading. To begin with, the creation of an
avenuebywhich"sectoralpartiesororganizations"canmeaningfullyjoinanelectoralexerciseis,inandbyitself,a
socialjusticemechanismbutitservedotherpurposesthattheframersoftheConstitutionwereaddressing.Looking
back,theappealtothesocialjusticeconcepttomakethepartylistelectionsanexclusiveaffairofthe"marginalized
and underrepresented sector" (as defined in Ang Bagong Bayani) proceeds from the premise that a multiparty
systemisantitheticaltosectoralrepresentation.Thiswaseffectivelytheargumentoftheproponentsoftheexclusive
sectoral representation view in the constitutional partylist debates to allow political parties to join a multiparty
electionisapredeterminationofthesectorspoliticalmassacre.Thisissue,however,hasbeenlaidtorestinthe
constitutionaldebatesandshouldnotnowberevivedandresurrectedbycoursingitthroughtheJudiciary.

Astheconstitutionaldebatesandvotingshow,whattheframersenvisionedwasamultipartysystemthatalready
includessectoralrepresentation.Bothsectoralrepresentationandmultipartysystemunderourpartylistsystemare
conceptsthatcomfortablyfallwithinthisvisionofaFilipinostylepartylistsystem.Thus,boththetextandspiritof
the Constitution do not support an interpretation of exclusive sectoral representation under the partylist system
whatwasprovidedwasanavenueforthemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectorstoparticipateintheelectoral
systemitisaninvitationforthesesectorstojoinandtakeachanceonwhatdemocracyandrepublicanismcan
offer.

Indeed,ourdemocracybecomesmorevibrantwhenweallowtheinteractionandexchangeofideas,philosophies
and interests within a broader context. By allowing the marginalized and underrepresented sectors who have the
numbers, to participate together with other political parties and interest groups that we have characterized, under
the simple and relatively inexpensive mechanism of partylist we have today, the framers clearly aimed to enrich
principleddiscourseamongthegreaterportionofthesocietyandhopedtocreateabettercitizenryandnation.

b.1.ImpactonPoliticalParties

Tosummarizetheabovediscussionsandtoputtheminoperation,politicalpartiesarenotonly"notexcluded"from
thepartylistsystemtheyare,infact,expresslyallowedbylawtoparticipate.Thisparticipationisnotimpairedby
any"marginalizedandunderrepresented"limitationunderstoodintheAngBagongBayanisense.

As applied to political parties, this limitation must be understood in the electoral sense, i.e., they are parties
espousingtheiruniqueand"marginalized"principlesofgovernanceandwhomustoperateinthepartylistsystem
becausetheyonlyhavea"marginal"chanceofwinninginthelegislativedistrictelections.Thisdefinitionassumes
thatthepoliticalpartyisnotalsoaparticipantinthelegislativedistrictelectionsasthebasicconceptandpurposeof
thepartylistinnovationnegatethepossibilityofplayinginbothlegislativedistrictandpartylistarenas.

Thus, parties whether national, regional or sectoral with legislative district election presence anywhere in the
country can no longer participate as the partylist system is national in scope and no overlap between the two
electoralsystemscanbeallowedanywhere.

c.ThePartiesandTheirNominees

c.1.Refusaland/orCancellationofPartyRegistrationDuetoNomineeProblems

TheCOMELECsrefusalandcancellationofregistrationoraccreditationofpartiesbasedonSection6ofRANo.
7941isasorepointwhenappliedtopartiesbasedonthedefectsordeficienciesattributabletothenominees.On
thispoint,Imaintaintheviewthatessentialdistinctionsexistbetweenthepartiesandtheirnomineesthatcannotbe
disregarded. As quoted in the Summary of Positions, however, the need to make a distinction between the two
typesofnomineesisrelevantonlytosectoralpartiesandorganizations.

Thecancellationofregistrationortherefusaltoregistersomeofthepetitionersonthegroundthattheirnominees

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arenotqualifiedimpliesthattheCOMELECviewedthenomineesandtheirpartylistgroupsasoneandthesame
entityhence,thedisqualificationofthenomineenecessarilyresultsinthedisqualificationofhis/herparty.

Sadly, this interpretation ignores the factual and legal reality that the partylist group, not the nominee, is the
candidateinthepartylistelection,andatthesametimeblursthedistinctionbetweenapartylistrepresentativeand
adistrictrepresentative.

c.2.ThePartyNomineeRelationship

Thatthepartylistgroup,ratherthanthenominee,isvotedforintheelectionsisnotadisputedpoint.Ouressential
holding, however, is that a partylist group, in order to be entitled to participate in the elections, must satisfy the
followingexpressstatutoryrequirements:

1. must be composed of Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors,


organizationsandparties

2.hasnowelldefinedpoliticalconstituenciesand

3.mustbecapableofcontributingtotheformulationandenactmentofappropriatelegislationthatwillbenefit
thenationasawhole.

TheConstitutionrequires,too,thatthemembersoftheHouseofRepresentativesarethosewhoareelectedfrom
legislativedistricts,andthosewhoareelectedthroughapartylistsystem(Section5(1),ArticleVI)wherethevotes
areinfavorofapoliticalparty,organizationorcoalition(Section6,ArticleIXC).

These requirements embody the concept behind the partylist system and demonstrate that it is a system
completelydifferentfromthelegislativedistrictrepresentation.Fromthepointofviewofthenominee,heorsheis
notthecandidate,thepartyistheentityvotedfor.Thisisinfarcontrastfromthelegislativedistrictsystemwherethe
candidateisdirectlyvotedforinapersonalelectoralstruggleamongcandidatesinadistrict.Thus,thenomineein
the partylist system is effectively merely an agent of the party.39 It is the partylist group for whom the right of
suffrage40 is exercised by the national electorate with the divined intent of casting a vote for a partylist group in
order that the particular ideology, advocacy and concern represented by the group may be heard and given
attentioninthehallsofthelegislature.

Thisconceptanditspurposenegatetheideathattheinfirmitiesofthenomineethatdonotgointothequalifications
ofthepartyitselfshouldprejudicetheparty.Infact,thelawdoesnotexpresslyprovidethatthedisqualificationof
the nominee results in the disqualification of a partylist group from participating in the elections. In this regard,
Section6ofRANo.7941reads:

Section 6. Removal and/or Cancellation of Registration. The COMELEC may motu proprio or upon verified
complaintofanyinterestedparty,removeorcancel,afterduenoticeandhearing,theregistrationofanynational,
regionalorsectoralparty,organizationorcoalitiononanyofthefollowinggrounds:

(1)Itisareligioussectordenomination,organizationorassociationorganizedforreligiouspurposes

(2)Itadvocatesviolenceorunlawfulmeanstoseekitsgoal

(3)Itisaforeignpartyororganization

(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation, organization,
whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan
electionpurposes

(5)Itviolatesorfailstocomplywithlaws,rulesorregulationsrelatingtoelections

(6)Itdeclaresuntruthfulstatementsinitspetition

(7)Ithasceasedtoexistforatleastone(1)yearor

(8)Itfailstoparticipateinthelasttwo(2)precedingelectionsorfailstoobtainatleasttwopercentum(2%)of
thevotescastunderthepartylistsysteminthetwo(2)precedingelectionsfortheconstituencyinwhichit
hasregistered.[italicssupplied]

Notably,allthesegroundspertaintothepartyitself.Thus,ifthelawweretobecorrectlyapplied,thelaw,rulesand
regulationsthatthepartyviolatedunderSection6(5)ofRANo.7941mustaffectthepartyitselftowarrantrefusalor
cancellationofregistration.

Totakeoneofthepresentedissuesasanexample,itisonlyafterapartysfailuretosubmititslistoffivequalified
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candidates, after being notified of its nominees disqualification, that refusal or cancellation of registration may be
warranted.Indeed,ifthepartylistgroupinexcusablyfailstocomplywiththissimplerequirementofthelaw(Section
8ofRANo.7941),thenitsregistrationdeservestobedeniedoranexistingonecancelledasthisomission,byitself,
demonstrates that it cannot then be expected to "contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate
legislation."41

Thenomineeissupposedtocarryouttheidealsandconcernsofthepartylistgrouptowhichhe/shebelongstothe
electorate, he/she embodies the causes and ideals of the partylist group. However, unlike the political parties
officialcandidateswhocan,forwhateverreason,disaffiliatefromhispartyandrunasanindependentcandidate
thelinkagebetweenanomineeandhispartylistgroupisactuallyaonewaymirrorrelationship.Thenomineecan
only see (and therefore run) through the partylist group42 but the partylist group can see beyond the nominee
member.

Whilethenomineeistheentity"elected"toCongress,acompanionideathatcannotbeglossedoveristhatheonly
carried this out because of the nomination made by the party to which he belongs and only through the unique
partylist system. Note in this regard that the registration with the COMELEC confers personality (for purposes of
election)onthepartylistgroupitselfandtonoother.Note,too,thatwhattheConstitutionandthelawenvisionis
proportionalrepresentationthroughthegroupandthelatter,notthenominee,istheonevotedforintheelections.
Even the manner of his nomination and the duties his official relation to his party entails are matters that are
primarily determined by the partys governing constitution and bylaws. To be sure, political dynamics take place
within the party itself prior to or after the period of registration that transcend the nominees status as a
representative.Theserealitiesrenderindisputablethatapartyhastheright(infact,theduty)toreplaceanominee
whofailstokeephisbonafidemembershipinthepartyi.e.,keepingtruetothecausesofthepartyevenwhile
thenomineeisservinginCongress.

The preceding discussions show that the COMELECs action of apparently treating the nominee and his party as
oneandthesameisclearlyandplainlyunwarrantedandcouldonlyproceedfromitscommissionofgraveabuseof
discretion,correctibleunderRule65.

These distinctions do not discount at all the position or the role of the partylist nominee it is from the list of
nominees submitted by the party that partylist representatives are chosen should the party obtain the required
numberofvotes.Infact,oncethepartylistgroupsubmitsthelistofitsnominees,thelawprovidesspecificgrounds
forthechangeofnomineesorforthealterationoftheirorderofnomination.Whilethenomineemaywithdrawhis
nomination,weruleditinvalidtoallowthepartytowithdrawthenominationitmade43inorder"tosavethenominee
fromfallingunderthewhimofthepartylistorganizationoncehisnamehasbeensubmittedtotheCOMELEC,and
tosparetheelectoratefromthecapriciousnessofthepartylistorganizations."44

We also recognize the importance of informing the public who the nominees of the partylist groups are as these
nomineesmayeventuallybeinCongress.45Forthenomineesthemselves,thelawrequiresthat:

1.hehasgivenhiswrittenconsenttobeanominee

2.hemustbeanaturalborncitizenofthePhilippines

3. he must be a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year
immediatelyprecedingthedayoftheelection

4.hemustbeabletoreadandtowrite

5.hemustbeabonafidememberofthepartyororganizationwhichheseekstorepresentforatleastninety
(90)daysprecedingthedayoftheelectionand

6.hemustbeatleasttwentyfive(25)yearsofageonthedayoftheelection.

Fromthislist,whatclearlyservesasthelegallinkbetweenthepartyanditsnomineeisonlythelattersbonafide
membershipinthepartythatwishestoparticipateinthepartylistsystemofelection.Becauseofthisrelationship,
membershipisafactthattheCOMELECmustbeabletoconfirmasitisthelinkbetweenthepartytheelectorate
votes for and the representation that the nominee subsequently undertakes in the House of Representatives. To
illustrate,ifasectoralpartysnominee,whodoesnot"actuallysharetheattributeorcharacteristic"ofthesectorhe
seeks to represent, fails to prove that he is a genuine advocate of this sector, then the presence of bona fide
membershipcannotbemaintained.

To automatically disqualify a party without affording it opportunity to meet the challenge on the eligibility of its
nominee or to undertake rectifications deprives the party itself of the legal recognition of its own personality that
registrationactuallyseeks.

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Thequalificationsofanomineeatthesametimethatitdetermineswhetherregistrationshallbegranted.46When
undertheCOMELECslights,theshadowcastbythepartylistnomineeisnottrulyreflectiveofthegrouphe/sheis
supposedtorepresent,whattheCOMELECmustdoistogivethepartytheopportunitytofieldinthefivequalified
candidates. The COMELEC acts with grave abuse of discretion when it immediately cancels or refuses the
registrationofapartywithoutaffordingittheopportunitytocomply.

Inlinewiththeideaofproportionalandsectoralrepresentation,thelawprovidesthatanomineerepresentativewho
changeshisaffiliationduringhistermforfeitshisseat.Likewise,inprovidingfortheruleincaseofvacancyforseats
reserved for partylist representatives, the reason for the vacancy is broad enough to include not only the valid
causes provided for in the partys constitution and bylaws (such as the nonpossession of the necessary
qualifications),butlikewiseincludesthesituationwherethe

HouseofRepresentativesElectoralTribunalfindsthatthenomineerepresentativeunqualifiedforfailuretomeasure
uptothenecessarystatutoryandotherlegalrequirements.47Ifthesecanberemediedwithoutaffectingthestatus
of the party itself, no reason exists why the registration of a partylist group should automatically be cancelled or
refusedbyreasonofindividualfailuresimputableandaffectingonlythenominee.

Basedontheseconsiderationsandpremises,thepartylistgroupanditsnomineescannotbewhollyconsideredas
oneidentifiableentity,withthefaultattributableandaffectingonlythenominee,producingdisastrouseffectsonthe
otherwisequalifiedcollectivemeritoftheparty.Iftheiridentificationwithoneanothercanbeconsideredatall,itisin
the ideal constitutional sense that one ought to be a reflection of the other i.e., the partylist group acts in
Congressthroughitsnominee/sandthenomineeinsoactingrepresentsthecausesofthepartyinwhosebehalfit
istherefor.

E.ObservationsonChiefJusticeSerenosReflections.

Essentially,theReflectionsdefendtheAngBagongBayanirulinganddonotneedtobefurtherdiscussedatthis
point lest this Opinion be unduly repetitious. One point, however, that needs to be answered squarely is the
statementthatthisSeparateOpinionisnot"appropriatelysensitivetothecontextfromwhichitthe1987Constitution
arose." The Reflections asserted that the heart of the 1987 Constitution is the Article on Social Justice," citing, in
justification, the statements endorsing the approval of the 1987 Constitution, particularly those of Commissioner
CeciliaMunozPalma,thePresidentofthe1986ConstitutionalCommissionPresidentMunozPalmadescribedthe
Constitutionasreachingouttothesocialjusticesectors.

Thesecitedstatements,however,wereendorsementsoftheConstitutionasawholeanddidnotfocussolelyonthe
electoralreformprovisions.Asmustbeevidentinthediscussionsabove,Ihavenoprobleminacceptingthesocial
justicethrustofthe1987Constitutionasitindeed,onthewhole,showsspecialconcernforsocialjusticecompared
with the 1935 and the 1973 Constitution. The Reflections, however, apparently misunderstood the thrust of my
SeparateOpinionasalreadyfullyexplainedabove.

This Separate Opinion simply explains that the provisions under consideration in the present case are the
Constitutionselectoralprovisions,specificallytheelectionsfortheHouseofRepresentativesandthenationsbasic
electoralpolicies(expressedintheArticleontheCommissiononElections)thattheconstitutionalframerswantedto
reform.

What the 1987 constitutional framers simply wanted, by way of electoral reform, was to "open up" the electoral
systembygivingmoreparticipationtothosewhocouldnototherwiseparticipateunderthethenexistingsystem
those who were marginalized in the legislative district elections because they could not be elected in the past for
lackoftherequiredvotesandspecificconstituencyinthewinnertakealllegislativedistrictcontest,andwho,bythe
number of votes they garnered as 3rd or 4th placer in the district elections, showed that nationally, they had the
equivalent of what the winner in the legislative district would garner. This was the concept of "marginalized and
underrepresented"andthe"lackofpoliticalconstituency"thatcameoutintheconstitutionaldeliberationsandledto
thepresentwordingsoftheConstitution.RANo.7941subsequentlyfaithfullyreflectedtheseintents.

Despitethisoverridingintent,theframersrecognizedaswellthatthosebelongingtospecificallynamedsectors(i.e.,
themarginalizedandunderrepresentedinthesocialjusticesense)shouldbegivenaheadstarta"push"soto
speak in the first three (3) elections so that their representatives were simply to be selected as partylist
representativesintheseinitialelections.

Read in this manner, the partylist system as defined in the Constitution cannot but be one that is "primarily"
grounded on electoral reform and one that was principally driven by electoral objectives. As written, it admits of
nationalandregionalpoliticalparties(whichmaybebasedonideology,e.g.theSocialistPartyofthePhilippines),
with or without social justice orientation. At the same time, the system shows its open embrace of social justice
through the preference it gave to the social justice sectors (labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural
communities,women,youth,andsuchothersectorsasmaybeprovidedbylaw,exceptthereligioussector)inthe
firstthreeelectionsafterratificationoftheConstitution,andtothelabor,peasant,fisherfolk,urbanpoor,indigenous
cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals, in the
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RANo.7941definitionofsectoralparty.

Theobjectionregardingthe"textualist"approachhasbeenfullydiscussedintheSummaryofPositionsandneed
notberepeatedhere.

F.TheElevenPointParametersfortheCOMELEC

IclosethisOpinionbyoutliningtheelevenpointparametersthatshouldguidetheCOMELECintheexerciseofits
power to register parties under the partylist system of elections. For ease of application, these parameters refer
backtotheAngBagongBayaniguidelines,particularlyonwhatpointsintheseguidelinesshouldbediscardedand
whatremainsintactandeffective.

InviewofourpriorrulinginBANATv.CommissiononElections(disqualifyingpoliticalpartiesfromparticipatingin
thepartylistelections),thepetitionersunderstandablyattemptedtodemonstrate,inonewayoranother,thatthey
represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors, as the term is understood in Bagong Bayani. As
discussedinthisSeparateOpinion,however,therequirementofbeingmarginalizedandunderrepresentedshould
beunderstood,notonlyinthenarrowsectoralsense,butalsointhebroaderelectoralsense.

We likewise take note of the fact that this is the first time that the Court ever attempted to make a categorical
definition and characterization of the term "marginalized and underrepresented," a phrase that, correctly
understood,mustprimarilybeinterpretedintheelectoralsenseand,incaseofsectoralpartiesandorganizations,
alsopartlyinthespecialinterestsandsocialjusticecontexts.TheCOMELECunderstandablyhasnotbeengiven
parameters under the present pronouncements either in evaluating the petitions for registration filed before it, on
one hand, or in determining whether existing partylist groups should be allowed to participate in the partylist
elections.Hence,theneedforthefollowingparametersasweorderaremandofalltheseconsolidatedpetitionsto
theCOMELEC.

1. Purpose and Objective of Partylist System. The primary objective and purpose of the partylist system
(establishedundertheConstitutionandRA7941iselectoralreformbygivingmarginalizedandunderrepresented
parties(i.e.thosewhocannotwininthelegislativedistrictelectionsandinthissensearemarginalizedandmaylack
theconstituencytoelectthemselvesthere,butwhonationallymaygeneratethefollowingandvotesequivalent
towhatawinnerinthelegislativedistrictelectionwouldgarner),thechancetoparticipateintheelectoralexercise
and to elect themselves to the House of Representatives through a system other than the legislative district
elections.

Atthesametime,thepartylistsystemrecognizessectoralrepresentationthroughsectoralorganizations(that,as
defined did not require or identify any social justice characteristic but were still subject to the "marginalized and
underrepresented"andthe"constituency"requirementsofthelaw),andthroughsectorsidentifiedbytheircommon
"social justice" characteristics (but which must likewise comply with the "marginalized and underrepresented" and
"constituency"requirementsofthelaw).

2.Forpoliticalparties(whethernationalorregional):a)tobeclassifiedaspoliticalparties,theymustadvocatean
ideologyorplatform,principlesandpolicies,forthegeneralconductofgovernment.Theapplicationofthefurther
requirementunderRANo.7941(thatasthemostimmediatemeansofsecuringtheadoptionoftheirprinciplesof
governance,theymustregularlynominateandsupporttheirleadersandmembersascandidatesforpublicoffice)
shalldependontheparticularcircumstancesoftheparty.

b)Themarginalandunderrepresentationintheelectoralsense(i.e.,inthelegislativedistrictelections)and
the lack of constituency requirements fully apply to political parties, but there is no reason not to presume
compliancewiththeserequirementsifpoliticalpartiesarenotparticipantsinanylegislativedistrictelections.

c) Role of Major Political Parties in Partylist Elections. Major political parties, if they participate in the
legislative district elections, cannot participate in the partylist elections, nor can they form a coalition with
partylistpartiesandrunasacoalitioninthepartylistelections.

A coalition is a formal party participant in the partylist system what the partylist system forbids directly (i.e.,
participationinbothelectoralarenas),themajorpoliticalpartiescannotdoindirectlythroughacoalition.

Noprohibition,however,existsagainstinformalalliancesthattheycanformwithpartylistparties,organizationsor
groupsrunningforthepartylistelections.Thepartylistcomponentoftheseinformalalliancesisnotprohibitedfrom
runninginthepartylistelections.

TheplainrequirementsintrinsictothenatureofthepoliticalpartyevidentlyrenderthefirstandsecondAngBagong
Bayani guideline invalid, and significantly affects the fourth guideline. To stress, political parties are not only "not
excluded"fromthepartylistsystemtheyare,infact,expresslyallowedbylawtoparticipatewithoutbeinglimited
bythe"marginalizedandunderrepresented"requirement,asnarrowlyunderstoodinAngBagongBayani

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3.Sectoralparties,groupsandorganizationsmustbelongtothesectorsenumeratedinSection5(2),ArticleVIof
the1987ConstitutionandSection5ofRANo.7941thataremainlybasedonsocialjusticecharacteristicsormust
haveinterests,concernsorcharacteristicsspecifictotheirsectorsalthoughtheydonotrequireorneedtoidentify
withanysocialjusticecharacteristic.

Ineithercase,theyaresubjecttothe"marginalizedandunderrepresented"andthe"constituency"requirementsof
the law through a showing, supported by evidence, that they belong to a sector that is actually characterized as
marginalandunderrepresented.

Sectoralparties,groupsandorganizationsareadditionallysubjecttothegeneraloverridingrequirementofelectoral
marginalizationandunderrepresentationandtheconstituencyrequirementsofthelaw,butthereisnoreasonwhy
compliance with these requirements cannot be presumed if they are not participants in any legislative district
elections.

4.RegistrationwiththeCOMELEC.

Politicalparties(whethernationalorregional,alreadyregisteredwiththeCOMELECasregularpoliticalpartiesbut
notunderthepartylistsystem)mustregisterunderthepartylistsystemtoparticipateinthepartylistelections.For
partylistregistrationpurposes,theymustsubmittotheCOMELECtheirconstitution,bylaws,platformorprogram
ofgovernment,listofofficers,coalitionagreementandotherrelevantinformationthattheCOMELECmayrequire.48

Similarly, sectoral parties, groups or organizations already registered under the general COMELEC rules for
registrationofpoliticalparties(butnotunderthepartylistsystem),mustregisterunderthepartylistsystemtobe
eligibletoparticipateinthepartylistelections,andmustlikewisesubmitrelevantdocumentationthattheCOMELEC
shallrequire.

Political and sectoral parties, groups or organizations already previously registered and/or accredited under the
partylistsystem,shallmaintaintheirpreviousregistrationand/oraccreditationandshallbeallowedtoparticipatein
the partylist elections unless there are grounds for cancellation of their registration and/or accreditation under
Section6,RA7941.

5. Submission of Relevant Documents. The statutory requirement on the submission of relevant documentary
evidencetotheCOMELECisnotanemptyandformalceremony.Theeighth(8th)

AngBagongBayaniguidelinerelatingtotheabilityofthepartylistgroup(notjustthenomineebutdirectlythrough
thenomineeorindirectlythroughthegroup)tocontributetotheformulationandenactmentofappropriatelegislation
thatwillbenefitthenationremainswhollyrelevantandshouldbecompliedwiththroughtherequiredsubmissions
theCOMELECshallrequire.

Theplatformorprogramofgovernment,amongothers,isveryimportantconsideringthesignificantroletheparty
listgroupitself,asacollectivebody,playsinthepartylistsystemdynamicsevenasitsnomineeornomineesisthe
one who is considered "Member" of the House of Representatives. The statutory recognition of an "appropriate
legislation"beneficialtothenationinjectsthemeaningfuldemocracythatthepartylistsystemseekstoaddstimulus
into.

6.PartyDisqualification.Politicalpartiesandsectoralpartiesandorganizationsalikemustnotpossessanyofthe
disqualifyinggroundsunderSection6,RA7941tobeabletoparticipateinthepartylistelections.

Insofar as the third Ang Bagong Bayani guideline merely reiterates the first ground for cancellation or refusal of
registrationunderSection6,RA7941thatthepartylistgroupisareligioussectordenomination,organizationor
association,organizedforreligiouspurposeandthesamegroundisretainedundertheseparameters.

7.CompliancewithSubstantiveRequirements.Tojustifytheirexistence,allpartylistgroupsmustcomplywiththe
substantiverequirementsofthelawspecifictotheirowngroup,theirowninternalrulesonmembership,andwiththe
COMELECsRulesofProcedure.

8. Prohibited Assistance from Government. The party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a project
organizedoranentityfundedorassistedbythegovernment.Itmustbeindependentofthegovernment.Thisisthe
fifth Ang Bagong Bayani guideline. While this requirement only contemplated of the marginalized and
underrepresentedsectorinthenarrowsenseinAngBagongBayani,noreasonexistsnottoextendthisrequirement
eventopoliticalpartiesparticipatinginthepartylistelections.

Toemphasize,thegeneraloverridingrequirementinthepartylistelectionsisinabilitytoparticipateinthelegislative
district elections with a fair chance of winning. If a political party at the very least obtains the assistance of the
government, whether financially or otherwise, then its participation in the partylist system defeats the broad
electoral sense in which the term "marginalized" and "underrepresented" is understood as applied to political
parties.

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9. Qualification of Partylist Nominee. The sixth Ang Bagong Bayani guideline, being a mere faithful reiteration of
Section9ofRA7941(qualificationofapartylistnomine),shouldremain.Inaddition,thepartylistnomineemust
complywiththeprovisoinSection15ofRA7941.

10. Party and Nominee Membership. For sectoral parties and organizations, the seventh Ang Bagong Bayani
guidelinei.e.,thatthenomineesmustalsorepresentthemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectorsrefersnot
onlytotheactualpossessionofthemarginalizedandunderrepresentedstatusrepresentedbythesectoralpartyor
organization but also to one who genuinely advocates the interest or concern of the marginalized and
underrepresentedsectorrepresentedbythesectoralpartyororganization.

Tobeconsistentwiththesectoralrepresentationenvisionedbytheframers,majorityofthemembersofthesectoral
partyororganizationmustactuallybelongtothesectorrepresented.

Forpoliticalparties,itisenoughthattheirnomineesarebonafidememberofthegrouptheyrepresent.

11.EffectsofDisqualificationofNominee.Thedisqualificationofanominee(onthegroundthatheisnotabonafide
member of the political party or that he does not possess the actual status or characteristic or that he is not a
genuineadvocateofthesectorrepresented)doesnotautomaticallyresultinthedisqualificationofthepartysinceall
thegroundsforcancellationorrefusalofregistrationpertaintothepartyitself.

Thepartylistgroupshouldbegivenopportunityeithertorefutethefindingofdisqualificationofitsnomineeortofill
in a qualified nominee before cancellation or refusal of registration is ordered. Consistent with Section 6 (5) and
Section8ofRA7941,thepartylistgroupmustsubmitalistcontainingatleastfivenomineestotheCOMELEC.Ifa
partylistgroupendeavorstoparticipateinthepartylistelectionsonthetheoreticalassumptionthatithasanational
constituency(asagainstdistrictconstituency),thencompliancewiththeclearrequirementofthelawonthenumber
ofnomineesmustallthemorebestrictlycompliedwithbythepartylistgroup.

Consideringthatthethirteenpetitioners,whoarenewapplicants,onlysecuredaStatusQuoAnteOrder(insteadof
mandatory injunction that would secure their inclusion in the ballots now being printed by the COMELEC), the
remandoftheirpetitionsisonlyfortheacademicpurposeofdeterminingtheirentitlementtoregistrationunderthe
partylistsystembutnotanymoreforthepurposeofparticipatinginthe2013elections.

Any of the remaining partylist groups involved in the remaining 40 petitions49 that obtain the number of votes
required to obtain a seat in the House of Representatives would still be subject to the determination by the
COMELECoftheirqualificationsbasedontheparametersandrationaleexpressedinthisSeparateOpinion.

ARTUROD.BRION
AssociateJustice

Footnotes

1412Phil.308,342(2001).

2RANo.7941,Section5.

3RANo.7941,Section8.

4Variasv.COMELEC,G.R.No.189078,Feb.11,2010.

5Mitrav.CommissiononElections,G.R.No.191938,July2,2010.

6See:DeCastrov.JudicialandBarCouncil,G.R.No.191002,March17,2010.

7See:JusticeArturoBrionsConcurringandDissentingOpinioninDeCastrov.JudicialandBarCouncil.See
alsoJusticeReynatoPuno'sDissentingOpinioninLambinov.CommissiononElections,G.R.No.174153,
October25,2006,wherehestated:

"Twostrainsofstaredecisishavebeenisolatedbylegalscholars.Thefirst,knownasverticalstaredecisis
deals with the duty of lower courts to apply the decisions of the higher courts to cases involving the same
facts.Thesecond,knownashorizontalstaredecisisrequiresthathighcourtsmustfollowitsownprecedents.
Prof. Consovoy correctly observes that vertical stare decisis has been viewed as an obligation, while
horizontal stare decisis, has been viewed as a policy, imposing choice but not a command. Indeed, stare
decisisisnotoneofthepreceptssetinstoneinourConstitution."

Itisalsoinstructivetodistinguishthetwokindsofhorizontalstaredecisisconstitutionalstaredecisisand
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statutory stare decisis. Constitutional stare decisis involves judicial interpretations of the Constitution while
statutorystaredecisisinvolvesinterpretationsofstatutes.Thedistinctionisimportantforcourtsenjoymore
flexibility in refusing to apply stare decisis in constitutional litigations. Justice Brandeis' view on the binding
effect of the doctrine in constitutional litigations still holds sway today. In soothing prose, Brandeis stated:
"Stare decisis is not . . . a universal and inexorable command. The rule of stare decisis is not inflexible.
Whetheritshallbefollowedordepartedfrom,isaquestionentirelywithinthediscretionofthecourt,whichis
againcalledupontoconsideraquestiononcedecided."Inthesamevein,thevenerableJusticeFrankfurter
opined:"theultimatetouchstoneofconstitutionalityistheConstitutionitselfandnotwhatwehavesaidabout
it." In contrast, the application of stare decisis on judicial interpretation of statutes is more inflexible. As
JusticeStevensexplains:"afterastatutehasbeenconstrued,eitherbythisCourtorbyaconsistentcourseof
decisionbyotherfederaljudgesandagencies,itacquiresameaningthatshouldbeasclearasifthejudicial
glosshadbeendraftedbytheCongressitself."ThisstancereflectsbothrespectforCongress'roleandthe
needtopreservethecourts'limitedresources.

8 Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines v. Commission on Elections, G.R. No. 159139,
January13,2004.

9Articles4and8oftheCivilCodereads:

Art.4.Lawsshallhavenoretroactiveeffect,unlessthecontraryisprovided.

Art. 8. Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal
systemofthePhilippines.
10143Phil.209(1970).

11Id.at219.

12InFrancisco,Jr.v.TheHouseofRepresentatives(460Phil.830,885886),theCourtheld:"wherethereis
ambiguity,ratiolegisestanima.xxx

xxxx

x x x The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with the fundamental principle of constitutional
construction that the intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it should be given
effect.Theprimarytaskinconstitutionalconstructionistoascertainandthereafterassuretherealizationof
the purpose of the framers and of the people in the adoption of the Constitution. It may also be safely
assumed that the people in ratifying the Constitution were guided mainly by the explanation offered by the
framers.[italics,emphasisandunderscoresupplied]

13Thedeliberations,togetherwithvotingonthevariousissuesraisedandthewordingoftheconstitutional
textofthepartylistprovision,tookplaceonJuly22,1986,July25,1986andAugust1,1986.

141987CONSTITUTION,ArticleVI,Section5(1).

15IIRECORDoftheCONTITUTIONALCOMMISSION,p.86.

16Id.at259.

17RANo.7941,Section3(a).

18RANo.7941,Section2.

19RANo.7941,Section3(b)to(f).

20AngBagongBayaniOFWLaborPartyv.COMELEC,supranote4,at342345.

21G.R.Nos.179271and179295,April21,2009,586SCRA210.

22SeeponenciaofJusticeAntonioT.Carpio.

23 II RECORD of the Constitutional Commission, p. 561. Stated by Commissioner Villacorta prior to the
approvaloftheamendmentthatbecameSection5(1),ArticleVIofthe1987Constitution:

Mr.Villacorta.Iwouldliketoreportthattheproponentsofsectoralrepresentationandofthepartylistsystem

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mettothoroughlydiscusstheissuesandhavearrivedatacompromiseformula.

OnthisfirstdayofAugust1986,weshall,hopefully,usherinanewchapterinournationalhistorybygiving
genuinepowertoourpeopleinthelegislature.CommissionerMonsodwillpresenttotheCommitteeonthe
LegislativetheamendmenttoSection5whichwehaveagreedupon.[emphasisandunderscoreours]

TheunderlinedandboldfacedportionwasliftedoutofcontextinAngBagongBayani.

24SeeDissentofJ.VicenteV.MendozawhichdiscussedtheVillacortaandMonsodpositions,aswellasthe
statements of Commissioners Jaime Tadeo and Blas Ople, based on the record of the Constitutional
Commission.

251987CONSTITUTION,ArticleVI,Section5(2).

26OnJuly25,1986.

27IIRECORDoftheConstitutionalCommission,pp.255,561562.SeealsotheDissentsofJusticeJoseC.
VitugandJusticeVicenteMendozainAngBagongBayaniOFWLaborPartyv.COMELEC,supranote4.

28SeeSection2ofRANo.7941.

29Pages1923ofthisSeparateOpinion.

30Supranote4.

31Id.at333.

32AngBagongBayaniOFWLaborPartyv.COMELEC,supranote4,at334.

33 Per Francisco, Jr. v. The House of Representatives (supra note7, at 884885): verba legis signifiesthat
"wherever possible, the words used in the Constitution must be given their ordinary meaning exceptwhere
technical terms are employed. x x x We look to the language of the document itself in our search for its
meaning.Wedonotofcoursestopthere,butthatiswherewebegin.Itistobeassumedthatthewordsin
whichconstitutionalprovisionsarecouchedexpresstheobjectivesoughttobeattained.Theyaretobegiven
their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed in which case the significance thus
attachedtothemprevails.AstheConstitutionisnotprimarilyalawyersdocument,itbeingessentialforthe
ruleoflawtoobtainthatitshouldeverbepresentinthepeoplesconsciousness,itslanguageasmuchas
possibleshouldbeunderstoodinthesensetheyhaveincommonuse.Whatitsaysaccordingtothetextof
theprovisiontobeconstruedcompelsacceptanceandnegatesthepowerofthecourtstoalterit,basedon
thepostulatethattheframersandthepeoplemeanwhattheysay.Thusthesearethecaseswheretheneed
forconstructionisreducedtoaminimum."(emphasis,underscoreanditalicsours)

34Id.at887,"utmagisvaleatquampereat"theConstitutionistobeinterpretedasawhole."Itisawell
establishedruleinconstitutionalconstructionthatnooneprovisionoftheConstitutionistobeseparatedfrom
alltheothers,tobeconsideredalone,butthatalltheprovisionsbearinguponaparticularsubjectaretobe
brought into view and to be so interpreted as to effectuate the great purposes of the instrument. Sections
bearing on a particular subject should be considered and interpreted together as to effectuate the whole
purpose of the Constitution and one section is not to be allowed to defeat another, if by any reasonable
construction, the two can be made to stand together." (Citing Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary,
G.R.Nos.83896&83815,February22,1991,194SCRA317.)

Inotherwords,theCourtmustharmonizethem,ifpracticable,andmustleaninfavorofaconstructionwhich
willrendereverywordoperative,ratherthanonewhichmaymakethewordsidleandnugatory.

If,however,theplainmeaningofthewordisnotfoundtobeclear,resorttootheraidsisavailable.

While it is permissible in this jurisdiction to consult the debates and proceedings of the constitutional
convention in order to arrive at the reason and purpose of the resulting Constitution, resort thereto may be
hadonlywhenotherguidesfailassaidproceedingsarepowerlesstovarythetermsoftheConstitutionwhen
the meaning is clear. Debates in the constitutional convention "are of value as showing the views of the
individualmembers,andasindicatingthereasonsfortheirvotes,buttheygiveusnolightastotheviewsof
thelargemajoritywhodidnottalk,muchlessofthemassofourfellowcitizenswhosevotesatthepollsgave
thatinstrumenttheforceoffundamentallaw.Wethinkitsafertoconstruetheconstitutionfromwhatappears
upon its face." The proper interpretation therefore depends more on how it was understood by the people
adoptingitthanintheframers'understandingthereof.(Id.)

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35IIRECORDoftheConstitutionalCommission,pp.8586.

36Id.at252.

37 See Justice Vicente Mendozas Dissent in Ang Bagong BayaniOFW Labor Party v. COMELEC, supra
note4,at369370.

38412Phil.322(2001).

39 Separate Dissenting Opinion of Justice Jose C. Vitug in Ang Bagong BayaniOFW Labor Party v.
COMELEC,supranote4,at354.
401987CONSTITUTION,ArticleV.InAkbayanYouthv.COMELEC(407Phil.618,636[2001]),theCourt
characterizedtherequirementofregistrationasan"indispensableprecondition"totheexerciseoftherightof
suffrage.TheCourtsaid:"Proceedingfromthesignificanceofregistrationasanecessaryrequisitetotheright
tovote,theStateundoubtedly,intheexerciseofitsinherentpolicepower,maythenenactlawstosafeguard
andregulatetheactofvotersregistrationfortheultimatepurposeofconductinghonest,orderlyandpeaceful
election,totheincidentalyetgenerallyimportantend,thatevenpreelectionactivitiescouldbeperformedby
the duly constituted authorities in a realistic and orderly manner one which is not in different and so far
removedfromthepressingorderofthedayandtheprevalentcircumstancesofthetimes."
41SeeSection2ofRANo.7941.

42 In fact, a nominees change of party affiliation during his term results in the forfeiture of his seat in
Congress(seeSection15ofRANo.7941).IfthepartylistgroupfailstoobtainaseatinCongress,thelaw
neverthelessrequiresanomineetobeabonafidememberofthepartylistgroup.

43Lokin,Jr.v.CommissiononElections,G.R.Nos.17943132and180443,June22,2010,621SCRA385,
412.

44Ibid.

45BantayRepublicActorBARA7941v.CommissiononElections,G.R.Nos.177271and177314,May4,
2007,523SCRA1,1617.

46Forpartylistgroupsalreadypreviouslyregistered,theCOMELECcandeterminethequalificationsoftheir
nomineesoncetheyfileaManifestationofIntenttoparticipate.

47SeeAbayonv.HouseofRepresentativesElectoralTribunal,supranote42andLokin,Jr.v.Commission
onElections,supranote45.

48RANo.7941,Section5.

49ThepetitionersinGRNos.204421and204425refertooneandthesamepartylistgroup,onlythatthey
arepresentedbydifferentpersonalities,claimingtobethelegitimateofficersoftheparty.

TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

CONCURRINGANDDISSENTINGOPINION

REYES,J.:

Initsnoblestsense,thepartylistsystemtrulyempowersthemassesandushersanewhopeforgenuinechange.
Verily,itinvitesthosemarginalizedandunderrepresentedinthepastthefarmhands,thefisherfolk,theurban
poor,eventhoseintheundergroundmovementtocomeoutandparticipate,asindeedmanyofthemcameout
and participated during the last elections. The State cannot now disappoint and frustrate them by disabling and
desecratingthissocialjusticevehicle.1

TheCourtistaskedtoresolvethefiftythree(53)consolidatedPetitionsforCertiorariandPetitionsforCertiorariand
Prohibition filed under Rule 64, in relation to Rule 65, of the Rules of Court by various partylist groups and
organizations.ThepetitionsassailtheresolutionsissuedbytherespondentCommissiononElections(COMELEC)
thateithercancelledtheirexistingregistrationandaccreditation,ordeniedtheirnewpetitionsforregistrationunder

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thepartylistsystem.2

Of the fiftythree (53) petitions, thirteen (13) are instituted by new applicants to the partylist system, whose
respective applications for registration and/or accreditation filed under Republic Act No. 79413 (RA 7941) and
COMELECResolutionNo.93664datedFebruary21,2012weredeniedbytheCOMELECEnBancuponitsreview
oftheresolutionsofadivisionoftheCommission.

Theforty(40)otherpetitionsareinstitutedbypartylistgroupsororganizationsthathavebeenpreviouslyregistered
andaccreditedbytheCOMELEC,withmostofthemhavingbeenallowedtoparticipateunderthepartylistsystem
inthepastelections.These40petitionsinvolvetheCOMELECsrecentcancellationoftheirgroupsregistrationand
accreditation,whicheffectivelydeniedthemofthechancetoparticipateunderthepartylistsystemintheMay2013
NationalandLocalElections.

TheAntecedents

All petitions stem from the petitioners desire and intent to participate as candidates in the partylist system of
representation,whichtakesitscorefromSection5,ArticleVIofthe1987Constitutionwhichreads:

ArticleVI
THELEGISLATIVEDEPARTMENT

Section 5. 1. The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty
members,unlessotherwisefixedbylaw,whoshallbeelectedfromlegislativedistricts apportioned among
theprovinces,cities,andtheMetropolitanManilaareainaccordancewiththenumberoftheirrespectiveinhabitants,
and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected
throughapartylistsystemofregisterednational,regional,andsectoralpartiesororganizations.

2.Thepartylistrepresentativesshallconstitutetwentypercentumofthetotalnumberofrepresentatives
includingthoseunderthepartylist.ForthreeconsecutivetermsaftertheratificationofthisConstitution,
onehalfoftheseatsallocatedtopartylistrepresentativesshallbefilled,asprovidedbylaw,byselection
orelectionfromthelabor,peasant,urbanpoor,indigenousculturalcommunities,women,youth,andsuch
othersectorsasmaybeprovidedbylaw,exceptthereligioussector.

xxxx(Emphasisours)

In 1995, RA 7941 was enacted to provide for the matters that shall govern the partylist system, including the
registrationofpartylistgroups,thequalificationsofpartylistnominees,andtheelectionofpartylistrepresentatives.
In 1998, the countrys first partylist election was held. Since then, the Court has been called upon on several
instances to resolve controversies on the system, oftentimes on questions involving the qualifications of partylist
groupsandtheirnominees.AmongthelandmarkcasesontheseissuesisAngBagongBayaniOFWLaborPartyv.
COMELEC5 decided by the Court in 2001, wherein the Court laid down the eightpoint guidelines6 in the
determinationofthequalificationsofpartylistparticipants.

PursuanttoitsspecificmandateunderSection18ofRA7941to"promulgatethenecessaryrulesandregulations
asmaybenecessarytocarryoutthepurposesoftheAct,"theCOMELECissuedonFebruary21,2012Resolution
No. 9366. About 2807 groups, comprised of new applicants and previouslyregistered partylist groups, formally
signifiedtheirintenttojointhepartylistsystemintheMay13,2013elections.

AsrequiredinRule1,ResolutionNo.9366ontheregistrationoforganizedgroupsthatarenotyetregisteredunder
thepartylistsystem,amongthegroupsthatfiledwiththeCOMELECtheirrespectivepetitionsforregistrationwere:
(1)AlabngMamamahayag(ALAM),petitionerinG.R.No.204139(2)AkbayKalusugan(AKIN),petitionerinG.R.
No.204367(3)AkoAnBisaya(AAB),petitionerinG.R.204370(4)AlagadngSining(ASIN),petitionerinG.R.
No.204379(5)AssociationofGuard,UtilityHelper,Aider,Rider,Driver/DomesticHelper,Janitor,AgentandNanny
of the Philippines, Inc. (GUARDJAN), petitioner in G.R. No. 204394 (6) Kalikasan PartyList (KALIKASAN),
petitioner in G.R. No. 204402 (7) Association of Local Athletics Entrepreneurs and Hobbyists, Inc. (ALAEH),
petitioner in G.R. No. 204426 (8) 1 Alliance Advocating Autonomy Party (1AAAP), herein petitioner in G.R. No.
204435(9)ManilaTeachersSavingsandLoanAssociation,Inc.(ManilaTeachers),petitionerinG.R.No.204455
(10)AllianceofOrganizations,NetworksandAssociationsofthePhilippines,Inc.(ALONA),petitionerinG.R.No.
204485and(11)PilipinasParasaPinoy(PPP),petitionerinG.R.No.204490.ThepoliticalpartiesAbyanIlonggo
Party(AI),petitionerinG.R.No.204436,andPartidongBida(PBB),petitionerinG.R.No.204484,alsosoughtto
participate for the first time in the partylist elections, although their petitions for registration were not filed under
Rule1ofResolutionNo.9366.

Partylist groups that were previously registered and accredited merely filed their Manifestations of Intent to
Participate in the PartyList System of Representation in the May 13, 2013 Elections, as provided in Rule 3 of
ResolutionNo.9366.Amongthesepartieswere:(1)AtongPaglaum,Inc.(AtongPaglaum),petitionerinG.R.No.

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203766(2)AKOBicolPoliticalParty(AKB),petitionerinG.R.Nos.20381819(3)AssociationofPhilippineElectric
Cooperatives(APEC),petitionerinG.R.No.203922(4)AksyonMagsasakaPartidoTinigngMasa(AKMAPTM),
petitionerinG.R.No.203936(5)KapatiranngmgaNakulongnaWalangSala,Inc.(KAKUSA),petitionerinG.R.
No.203958(6)1stConsumersAllianceforRuralEnergy,Inc.(1CARE),petitionerinG.R.No.203960(7)Alliance
for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction, Inc. (ARARO), petitioner in G. R . No. 203976 (8) Association for
Righteousness Advocacy on Leadership (ARAL), petitioner in G.R. No. 203981 (9) Alliance for Rural Concerns
(ARC),petitionerinG.R.No.204002(10)AllianceforNationalismandDemocracy(ANAD),petitionerinG.R.No.
204094 (11) 1Bro Philippine Guardians Brotherhood, Inc. (1BROPGBI), petitioner in G.R. No. 204100 (12) 1
Guardians Nationalist Philippines, Inc. (1GANAP/GUARDIANS), petitioner in G.R. No. 204122 (13) Agapay ng
IndigenousPeoplesRightsAlliance,Inc.(AIPRA),petitionerinG.R.No.204125(14)KaagapayngNagkakaisang
Agilang Pilipinong Magsasaka (KAP), petitioner in G. R. No. 204126 (15) The True Marcos Loyalist (for God,
Country, and People) Association of the Philippines, Inc. (BANTAY), petitioner in G.R. No. 204141 (16) Pasang
Masda Nationwide Party (PASANG MASDA), petitioner in G.R. No. 204153 (17) Action Brotherhood for Active
Dreamer,Inc.(ABROAD),petitionerinG.R.No.204158(18)AangatTayoPartyListParty(AT),petitionerinG.R.
No.204174 (19) Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc (COCOFED), petitioner in G.R. No. 204216 (20)
Abang Lingkod PartyList (ABANGLINGKOD), petitioner in G. R . No. 204220 (21) Firm 24K Association, Inc.
(FIRM24K),petitionerinG.R.No.204236(22)AllianceofBicolnonParty(ABP),petitionerinG.R. No. 204238
(23)GreenForcefortheEnvironmentSonsandDaughtersofMotherEarth(GREENFORCE),petitionerinG.R.No.
204239 (24) AgriAgra na Reporma Para sa Magsasaka ng Pilipinas Movement (AGRI), petitioner in G.R. No.
204240(25)BlessedFederationofFarmersandFishermenInternational,Inc.(ABLESSEDPartyList),petitioner
inG.R.No.204263(26)UnitedMovementAgainstDrugsFoundation(UNIMAD),petitionerinG.R.No.204318
(27) Ang Agrikultura Natin Isulong (AANI), petitioner in G.R. No. 204321 (28) Bayani Party List (BAYANI),
petitionerinG.R.No.204323(29)ActionLeagueofIndigenousMasses(ALIM),petitionerinG.R.No.204341(30)
ButilFarmersParty(BUTIL),petitionerinG.R.No.204356(31)AllianceofAdvocatesinMiningAdvancementfor
National Progress (AAMA), petitioner in G.R. No. 204358 (32) Social Movement for Active Reform and
Transparency(SMART),petitionerinG.R.No.204359(33)AdhikainatKilusanngOrdinaryongTaoParasaLupa,
Pabahay, Hanapbuhay at Kaunlaran (AKOBAHAY), petitioner in G.R. No. 204364 (34) Binhi Partido ng mga
MagsasakaParasamgaMagsasaka(BINHI),petitionerinG.R.No.204374(35)PilipinoAssociationforCountry
UrbanPoorYouthAdvancementandWelfare(PACYAW),petitionerinG.R. No. 204408 (36) 1United Transport
Koalisyon (1UTAK), petitioner in G.R. No. 204410 (37) Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the
Philippines,Inc.(SENIORCITIZENS),petitionerinG.R.No.204421andG.R.No.204425(38)AngGalingPinoy
(AG),petitionerinG.R.No.204428and(39)1stKabalikatngBayanGinhawangSangkatauhan(1stKABAGIS),
petitionerinG.R.No.204486.

On August 2, 2012, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 9513, which provides for additional rules on the
CommissionsdispositionofthenewpetitionsandmanifestationsofintentthatwerefiledwithitunderResolution
No.9366.ResolutionNo.9513,entitledIntheMatterof:(1)TheAutomaticReviewbytheCommissionEnBancof
PendingPetitionsforRegistrationofPartyListGroupsand(2)SettingforHearingtheAccreditedPartyListGroups
orOrganizationswhichareExistingandwhichhaveFiledManifestationsofIntenttoParticipateinthe2013National
Elections,readsinpart:

WHEREAS, it is necessary and indispensable for the Commission En Banc to review and affirm the grant of
registration and accreditation to partylist groups and organizations in view of its role in ensuring that only those
parties,groups,ororganizationswiththerequisitecharacterconsistentwiththepurposeofthepartylistsystemis
registeredandaccreditedtoparticipateinthepartylistsystemofrepresentation

WHEREAS,Section4,Rule1oftheCommissionsRulesofProcedureauthorizesthesuspensionoftheRulesor
any portion thereof in the interest of justice and in order to obtain the speedy disposition of all matters pending
beforeitand

WHEREAS, Section 19 of the Commissions Rules of Procedure on Motions for Reconsideration should be
suspendedinorderfortheCommissionEnBanctofulfillitsroleasstatedintheAngBagongBayanicase.

NOWTHEREFORE,inviewoftheforegoing,theCommissiononElections,byvirtueofthepowersvestedinitby
the Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code, and Republic Act No. 7941 or the "Party List System Act", hereby
RESOLVEStopromulgatethefollowing:

1. In all pending cases where a Division grants the Petition for Registration of a partylist group or
organization,therecordsshallbeforwardedtotheCommissionEnBancforautomaticreviewwithinfive(5)
days from the promulgation of the Resolution without need of a motion for reconsideration. It shall be
understoodthatapartylistgroupshallnotbedeemedaccreditedwithoutaffirmationfromtheCommissionEn
Banc of the Divisions ruling. For this purpose, the provisions of Rule 19 of the 1993 COMELEC Rules of
Procedureshallbesuspended.

2.TosetforsummaryevidentiaryhearingsbytheCommissionEnBanc,forpurposesofdeterminingtheir
continuingcompliancewiththerequirementsofR.A.No.7941andtheguidelinesintheAngBagongBayani
case,and,ifnoncompliant,canceltheregistrationofthefollowing:
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(a)Partylistgroupsororganizationswhicharealreadyregisteredandaccreditedandwillparticipatein
theMay13,2013Elections,providedthattheCommissionEnBanchasnotpasseduponthegrantof
theirrespectivePetitionsforRegistrationand

(b)PartylistgroupsororganizationswhichareexistingandretainedinthelistofRegisteredPartyList
PartiesperResolutionNo.9412,promulgatedon27April2012,andwhichhavefiledtheirrespective
ManifestationsofIntenttoParticipateinthePartyListSystemofRepresentationintheMay13,2013
Elections.

With the provision in Resolution No. 9513 on the COMELECS determination of the continuing compliance of
registered/accredited parties that have filed their manifestations of intent, the Commission En Banc scheduled
summaryhearingsonvariousdates,andallowedthepartylistgroupstopresenttheirwitnessesandsubmittheir
evidence.8Afterdueproceedings,theCOMELECEnBancissuedthefollowingresolutions:

1.Resolution9datedOctober10,2012inSPPNo.12154(PLM)andSPPNo.12177(PLM)

TheCOMELECretainedtheregistrationandaccreditationofAKB10asapoliticalparty,butdenieditsparticipation
intheMay2013partylistelections.TheCOMELECsrulingisfoundedonseveralgrounds.First,thepartydoesnot
represent or seek to uplift any marginalized and underrepresented sector. From its constitution and bylaws, the
party seeks to represent and uplift the lives of Bicolanos, who, for the COMELEC, cannot be considered or even
associated with persons who are marginalized and underrepresented. Second, the provinces in the Bicol Region
alreadyhavetheirrespectiverepresentativesinCongress.ToallowmorerepresentativesfortheBicolanosandthe
BicolRegionwouldviolatetheruleonproportionalrepresentationof"provinces,citiesandtheMetropolitanManila
in accordance with the number of their inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio."11 Third,
AKBs nominees, a businessman, three lawyers and an ophthalmologist, are not marginalized and
underrepresentedthus,theyfailtosatisfytheseventhguidelineinAngBagongBayani.

2.OmnibusResolution12 dated October 11, 2012, which covers SPP No. 12161 (PLM), SPP No. 12187 (PLM),
SPPNo.12188(PLM)andSPPNo.12220(PLM)

TheCOMELECcancelledtheregistrationandaccreditationofAtongPaglaum,ARAL,ARCandUNIMAD.

TheCOMELECheldthatAtongPaglaums13nomineesdonotbelongtothesectorswhichthepartyrepresents,i.e.,
theurbanpoor,consumer,womenandyouth.Whiletheseincludethewomenandyouthsectors,fiveofthepartys
sixnomineesareallmale,andallofitsnomineesareabove30years14ofage.Further,theCOMELECruledthat
the personal circumstances of the nominees belie the claim that they belong to the urban poor sector: (1) its first
nominee15 served as vicepresident in a multinational corporation (2) its second nominee16 is the owner of a
corporation engaged in the business of pineapple contract growing with Del Monte Philippines (3) its third
nominee17istheownerandmanageroftwobusinessestablishmentsand(4)itssixthnominee18isanelectrical
engineer and threeterm member of the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. Finally, the
COMELECcitedthepartysfailuretofileitsStatementofContributionsandExpenditureswhenitparticipatedinthe
2010Elections,despitehavingbeenorderedtodosoduringthesummaryevidentiaryhearing.

InrulingagainstARAL,19theCOMELECcitedthepartys"failuretocomply,andforviolationofelectionlaws,rules
andregulationspursuanttoSection6(5)ofRANo.7941,inconnectionwiththefourth,sixth,andseventhguidelines
inAngBagongBayani."20TheCommissionexplainedthatwhilethepartyseekstorepresentthewomenandyouth
sectors,onlythefirstofitssevennomineesisawoman,andonlyitssecondnomineeisbelow30yearsofage.The
Commissionfurthertooknotethat:first,someofitsactivitieswerejointlyconductedwithreligiousorganizations,and
second,itsfifthnomineeisapastor."Althoughthesecircumstancesarenotsufficientproofthattheorganizationis
itself a religious sect, denomination or association and/or is organized for religious purposes, one nevertheless
cannotbutholddoubt."21

The registration of ARC22 was cancelled for the failure of its nominees to qualify. The party claims to represent
landless farmers, agrarian reform beneficiaries, fisherfolk, upland dwellers, indigenous people and Bangsa Moro
people.23However,noneofitsnomineesbelongstoanyofthesesectors.Inaddition,thepartyfailedtoprovethata
majorityofitsmembersbelongtothesectorsthatitseekstorepresent.Thepartysadvocacyforthe"development
oftheruralsectors"isalsonotlimitedtothecitedsectors,asitmayevenincludesectorsthatarenotmarginalized
andunderrepresented.

UNIMAD24claimstorepresent"themarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectorswhichincludeyoungprofessionals
likedrugcounsellorsandlecturers,veteransandtheyouth,amongothers."25 For the COMELEC, however, such
sectors are not marginalized and underrepresented. The fight against illegal drugs is an issue that interests the
generalpublic,andnotjustparticularsectorsofthesociety.Therearealsoexistinglaws,suchastheDangerous

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DrugsAct,andvariousspecializedgovernmentagencies,suchasthePhilippineDrugEnforcementAgency(PDEA)
andtheDangerousDrugsBoard(DDB),thatalreadyaddresstheproblemofillegaldrugs.IncancellingUNIMADs
registration, the COMELEC also cited the partys failure to establish its track record as an organization.
Furthermore,whilethepartyclaimstorepresenttheyouthandyoungprofessionals,noneofitsnomineesisaged
belowthirtyyears.

3.OmnibusResolution26datedOctober16,2012,whichcoversSPPNo.12196(PLM),SPPNo.12223(PLM)and
SPPNo.12257(PLM)

Themainreasonforthecancellationof1BROPGBIs27registrationwasitsfailuretodefinethesectorthatitseeks
torepresent.Anaffidavitexecutedbyitssecondnomineeindicatesthatthepartyrepresentsprofessionals,whileits
ManifestationofIntentindicatesthatitismultisectoral.FortheCOMELEC,suchdifferingstatementsfromtheparty
revealthat1BROPGBIdoesnotreallyintendtorepresentanymarginalizedandunderrepresentedsector.Instead,
itonlyseekstorepresentitsmembers,andthatitismoreofa"fraternity/brotherhoodcomposedmostlyofmilitary
men with esoteric learnings."28 The partys nominees also did not appear to belong to a marginalized and
underrepresented sector, being a barangay captain, consultant, guidance counselor, lawyer and retired
captain/securityconsultant.

The registration of 1GANAP/GUARDIANS29 was also cancelled, following the COMELECs finding that it is a
military fraternity. The Commission also cited the following grounds: first, there is a "glaring similarity between
1GANAP/GUARDIANSand1BROPGBI"30second,"itwishestoprotecttheinterestsofitsmembershowever,it
failedtoestablishxxxthegroupsserviceoutsidethewallsofitsbrotherhood"31third,the"communityvolunteer
workers" sector which it seeks to represent is too broad to allow for meaningful representation and fourth, its
nomineesdonotappeartobelongtothesaidsector.

A BLESSED PartyList32 claims to represent farmers and fishermen in Region XI. The COMELEC resolved to
cancelitsregistrationafterfindingthatthreeofitssevennomineesare"notthemselvesfarmersandfishermen,and
noneofitsnomineesareregisteredvotersofRegionXI,theparticularregionwhichtheyseektorepresent."33

4.Resolution34datedOctober16,2012inSPPNo.12260

TheCOMELECcancelledtheregistrationof1CARE35onthefollowinggrounds:(1)ruralenergyconsumers,the
sectorwhich1CAREintendstorepresent,isnotmarginalizedandunderrepresented(2)thepartystrackrecord
andactivitiesarealmostexclusivelyrelatedtoelectriccooperativesandnottoruralenergyconsumersand(3)its
nominees,allofwhomare/werehighlevelofficialsofvariouselectriccooperativesinthecountry,donotbelongto
thesectorofruralenergyconsumers.

5.Resolution36datedOctober16,2012inSPPCaseNo.12201(PLM)

TheCOMELECcancelledtheregistrationandaccreditationofAPEC37onthefollowinggrounds:(1)areviewofits
constitution and bylaws shows that it does not represent a marginalized and underrepresented sector, as it is
merely an economic lobby group for the electric power industry and (2) all of its nominees, being an employee,
electricalengineer,sugarplanterandretiredgovernmentemployee,donotappeartobelongtothesectorthatthe
partyclaimstorepresent.

6.Resolution38datedOctober23,2012inSPPNo.12232(PLM)

IncancellingATs39 registration and accreditation, the COMELEC ruled that: first, the party, which represents the
sectorsofwomen,elderly,youth,laborandurbanpoor,doesnotappeartohaveabonafideintentiontorepresent
all these sectors, as it has, in fact, failed to uplift the welfare of all these sectors through the authorship or
sponsorshipbyitsincumbentrepresentativeinCongressofhousebillsthatarebeneficialtotheelderly,youthand
urbanpoorandsecond,itsnominees,beingallprofessionals,donotbelongtoanyofthemarginalizedsectorsthat
thepartyseekstorepresent.

7.OmnibusResolution40datedOctober24,2012,whichcoversSPPCaseNo.12288(PLM)

TheCOMELECsresolutiontocancelARAROs41registrationandaccreditationwasfoundedonthefollowing:(1)
the separate interests of the peasant and urban poor sectors, which the party both represents, differ and even
oftentimesconflict(2)mostofitsnomineescannotbeconsideredmembersofanyofthesesectors,astheyreside
"inthegatedsubdivisionsofMetroManila"42hence,suchnomineescanbeconsideredmoreaslandowners,and
notfarmersastheyclaimthemselvestobe(3)thepartyfailedtoshowthatthreeofitsnominees43areamongits
bona fide members (4) Its nominee Quirino De La Torre (De La Torre) appeared to be a farmland owner, rather
thananactualfarmerand(5)ItfailedtopresentanydocumenttoshowthatitsBoardhadresolvedtoparticipatein
theMay2013elections,andthatDeLaTorrewasauthorizedtosignandfilewiththeCOMELECthedocuments
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thatarerequiredforthesaidpurpose.

8. Omnibus Resolution44 dated October 24, 2012, which covers SPP Case No. 12279 (PLM), SPP No. 12248
(PLM),SPPNo.12263(PLM),SPPNo.12180(PLM),SPPNo.12229(PLM),SPPNo.12217(PLM),SPPNo.
12277(PLM)andSPPNo.12015(PLM)

TheCOMELECcancelledtheregistrationofAGRI,AKMAPTM,KAP,AKOBAHAY,BANTAY,PACYAW,PASANG
MASDAandKAKUSA.

InAGRIs45 case, the COMELEC ruled that: (1) for more than a year immediately after the May 2010 elections,
AGRIstoppedexistingasanorganization,andthisconstitutesasagroundtocancelregistrationunderSection6of
RA7941(2)itsnomineesdidnotappeartoactuallybelongtothemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectorsof
peasantsandfarmers,whichthepartyseekstorepresent(3)itsubmittedalistofonlyfournominees,insteadof
fiveasmandatedbySection8ofRA7941and(4)thereisnoshowingthatitundertookmeaningfulactivitiesforthe
upliftmentofitsconstituency.

AKMAPTMs46 registration as a party to represent the farmers sector was cancelled for its failure to show that
majorityofitsmembersandofficersbelongedtothemarginalizedandunderrepresented.Therewasalsonoproof
thatitsfirsttofourthnominees,47whowereaneducatorandpersonsengagedinbusiness,actuallybelongedtoa
marginalizedandunderrepresentedsector.Itsfifthtoninthnominees,althoughallfarmers,hadnotbeenshownto
workonupliftingthelivesofthemembersoftheirsector.

The COMELEC cancelled the registration of KAP48 (formerly Ako Agila ng Nagkakaisang Magsasaka, Inc. Ako
Agila)onthefollowinggrounds:(1)itsManifestationofIntentandCertificateofNominationwerenotsignedbyan
appropriateofficeroftheparty,asrequiredbySection3,Rule2ofResolutionNo.9366(2)itfailedtoshowthatit
hascontinuedtoworkforthebettermentofthelivesofthemembersofthesectorsitrepresents,i.e.farmersand
peasantsand(3)itfailedtoshowthatitsnomineesactuallybelongtothesectorswhichthepartyrepresents,orthat
theyhaveundertakenmeaningfulactivitieswhichaddresstheconcernsofsaidsectors.

TheCOMELECcancelledtheregistrationofAKOBAHAY49foritsfailuretoprovethatitsnomineesactuallybelong
tothemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectorthatthepartyseekstorepresent,i.e.,theurbanpoor,ortohave
engagedinmeaningfulactivitiesthattendtoupliftandenrichthelivesofthemembersofsaidsector.

BANTAY50claimstorepresentthe"peasants,urbanpoor,workersandnationalisticindividualswhohavestakesin
promoting security of the country against insurgency, criminality and their roots in economic poverty."51 The
COMELEC held that the party failed to prove that the majority of its members belonged to the marginalized and
underrepresented. In addition, there was no proof that its first and third nominees, a dentist and private sector
employee/businesswoman,respectively,actuallybelongedtothemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectorswhich
BANTAYseekstorepresent.

TheregistrationofPACYAW52wascancelledonthefollowinggrounds:first,sincethepartydesiredtochangethe
sector to represent, i.e., from the "urban poor youth" sector to the "urban poor" sector, it needed to file a new
application for registration second, it failed to show a credible track record of working for the interests of the
marginalizedandunderrepresentedthird,itfailedtoprovethatmajorityofitsofficersandmemberswerefromthe
urbanpoorsectorandfourth,itsnomineesarealsonotmembersoftheurbanpoorsector.

PASANG MASDAs53 registration was cancelled on two grounds. First, it represents both drivers and operators,
whomayhaveconflictingintereststhatmayadverselyaffectthepartysmandatetorepresentbothsectors.Second,
itsnomineesarealloperatorsorformeroperators,makingtheCOMELECquestionthepartyscapacitytorepresent
theinterestsofdrivers.

The registration of KAKUSA,54 a party "organized to represent persons imprisoned without proof of guilt beyond
reasonabledoubt,"55 was cancelled by the COMELEC for lack of proof that majority of its officers and members
belong to the marginalized and underrepresented. The Commission also took note of its failure to show that its
incumbent representative has been working on any legislation in Congress to uplift the lives of those whom the
groupallegedlyrepresents.Thepartyshowednocredibletrackrecord,anditsnominees,beingpersonsengagedin
business,didnotappeartobemarginalizedandunderrepresented.

9.Resolution56datedOctober30,2012inSPPCaseNo.12256(PLM)

TheCOMELECcancelledAGs57 registration and accreditation on three grounds. First, the party failed to appear
during the summary hearing scheduled by the COMELEC. For the Commission, such failure shows the partys
"wantondisregardfortherulesandregulationsoftheCommission"58andconstitutesasufficientgroundtocancel
itsregistrationunderRule2,Section2(f)59ofResolutionNo.9366.Second,thepartydoesnotintendtorepresent

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anymarginalizedandunderrepresentedsector,asevidencedbyitslackoftrackrecord.Inaddition,nowhereinits
constitution,bylawsandplatformofgovernmentdoesitstatethemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectorthatit
seeks to represent. It is only in its Memorandum later submitted to the COMELEC that it mentions aiding the
marginalizedsectorsofsecurityguards,drivers,vendors,tanods,smallscalebusinessesandthejobless.Third,its
nomineesdonotbelongtoanyofthementionedsectors.

10.Resolution60datedNovember7,2012inSPPCaseNo.12185(PLM)

ANADs61 registration and accreditation were cancelled by the COMELEC on several grounds. First, it does not
representanidentifiablemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsector,judgingfromthepartysdeclared"advocacies
to publicly oppose, denounce and counter, communism in all its form in the Filipino society, in industries, in the
academeandinthelaborsectortopubliclyoppose,denounceandcounterallactsofterrorismandinsurgencyto
preserve, protect and promote the democratic principles of good government and governance by peaceful and
democraticmeansunderaregimeoflawandordertogenerateandprovideavenuesforthedevelopmentofskills
of its members as aide in providing income opportunities develop and implement livelihood programs for its
members."62 Second, the party submitted a list of only three nominees, in violation of Section 4, Rule 3 of
Resolution No. 9366 that requires the submission of a list of at least five nominees. Third, its nominees do not
belong to the marginalized and underrepresented. Fourth, it failed to submit its Statement of Contributions and
Expendituresforthe2007NationalandLocalElections.

11.OmnibusResolution63datedNovember7,2012,whichcoversSPPNo.12060(PLM),SPPNo.12254(PLM)
andSPP12269(PLM)

TheCOMELECcancelledtheregistrationandaccreditationofGREENFORCE,FIRM24KandALIM.

TherulingagainstGREENFORCE64wasbasedonthefollowinggrounds:(1)thepartyisonlyanadvocacygroup
composedofenvironmentalenthusiastsintendingtotakecareof,protectandsaveMotherEarthandthecountrys
naturalreservesfromdestructionordegradation(2)evenifaliberalstanceisadoptedonthemeaningofsectoral
representation, the accreditation of GREENFORCE still merits cancellation for the partys failure to prove its
continuingcompliancewiththetrackrecordrequirement(3)basedontheircertificatesofacceptance,thepersonal
circumstancesofGREENFORCEsnomineesdemonstratethattheycannotbeclassifiedasmarginalizedcitizens.
Thefirstandsecondnomineesarebusinessmen,thethirdandfourthnomineesarelawyers,leavingonlythefifth
nominee,afishfarmer,astheonlymarginalizedcitizenamongthenominees.

The COMELEC cancelled the registration of FIRM 24K65 after finding that its nominees do not belong to the
sectorswhichthepartyrepresents.ItpointedoutthatwhileFIRM24Ksupposedlyrepresentstheurbanpoorand
peasantsintheNationalCapitalRegion,onlytwoofitsnomineesactuallyresidetherein.Also,theCOMELECheld
that FIRM 24K failed to prove its track record as an organization that the photographs it submitted, showing its
treeplantingactivities,areselfservingandincapableofexhibitinganorganizedprogramfortheurbanpoor.

ALIMs66registrationwascancelledforitsfailuretoestablishthatitsnominees,oratleastamajorityofthem,are
members of the indigenous people sector which the party seeks to represent. Only its first nominee submitted a
certificatefromtheNationalCommissiononIndigenousPeoples(NCIP),whichconfirmedhismembershipwiththe
ItawesIndigenousCulturalCommunities.Inaddition,theCOMELECexplainedthatwhileALIMspresident,Fatani
Abdul Malik, testified that their party specifically represents the indigenous masses from Mindanao and the
Cordilleras,onlytwoofthepartysfivenomineeshailedfromthoseareas.Finally,thepartyhadnomineeswhodid
notappeartobelongtoa"marginalizedclass,"beingabusinessman,lawyerandrealestatedeveloper.

12.Resolution67datedNovember7,2012inSPPNo.12204(PLM)

In cancelling the registration of AAMA,68 the COMELEC held that the sectors it represents, namely, employees,
either skilled or ordinary labor, professionals directly engaged in mining activities or occupation incidental thereto
andnongovernmentgroupsadvocatingadvancementofresponsibleminingfornationalprogress,isaspecifically
defined group which may not be allowed registration under the partylist system. In addition, AAMA failed to
establishthatitsnomineesactuallyrepresentandbelongtosaidsectors,thattheyhaveactivelyparticipatedinthe
activitiesofAAMA,thattheytrulyadheretoitsadvocacies,andarebonafidemembersoftheparty.

13.Resolution69datedNovember7,2012inSPPNo.12272(PLM)

The COMELEC cancelled the registration of SMART70 after finding that its nominees are disqualified from
representingthesectorswhichthepartyrepresents,i.e.,workers,peasants,youth,students,women,professionals
andthosebelongingtosectorssuchasdomestichelpers,vendors,driversandconstructionworkers,since:first,the
partyclaimstorepresenttheyouthsector,yetfourofitsfivenomineesaremorethan30yearsofagewhileitsfifth
nomineewouldbemorethan30yearsofageonMay13,2013second,thepartyclaimstorepresentthewomen
sector,yetfouroutofitsfivenomineesaremaleandthird,itsnomineesarecomposedofbusinessmen,adoctor,

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anexecutivechefandacomputerprogrammer,whoarethusnotmarginalized.Also,theCOMELECobservedthat
thepartysactivitiesdonotspecificallycatertotheinterestandneedsofthesectorswhichitrepresents.Lastly,the
lackofrestrictionsintheclassofpersonswhomayjoinSMARTcastsdoubtastowhetheramajorityitsmembers
areindeedmarginalizedandunderrepresented.

14.Resolution71datedNovember7,2012inSPPNo.12173(PLM)

TheCOMELECheldthattheregistrationandaccreditationin2010ofABP72asapartylistgroupwasdefective.The
partywasinitiallyaccreditedbytheCOMELECin2009asaregionalpoliticalparty.InNovember2009,itonlyfileda
ManifestationofIntenttoparticipateintheMay2010elections,insteadofapetitionforregistrationunderSection5
of RA 7941. Acting on the recommendation of its Law Department, the COMELEC accredited ABP as a partylist
grouponJanuary15,2010.TheCOMELECthenruledthatABPcouldnotbeaccreditedfortheMay2013Elections
as a partylist group sans the filing of a petition for registration. Also, the COMELEC held that ABP does not
represent any sector. While it claimed during the summary evidentiary hearing that it represents construction
workers and professionals, its constitution and bylaws indicate that its membership is composed of men and
womeninRegionV.Lastly,noneofABPsnomineesareemployedintheconstructionindustry.

15.Resolution73datedNovember7,2012inSPPCaseNo.12210(PLM)

BAYANI74claimstorepresent"themarginalizedandunderrepresentedprofessionalsectorcomprisedofmillionsof
jobless and underemployed professionals such as the registered nurses, midwives, engineers, lawyers, certified
public accountants, among others."75 Its registration and accreditation were cancelled by the COMELEC on the
ground of its failure to prove a track record of trying to uplift the marginalized and underrepresented sector of
professionals. In addition, the partys second nominee,76 being a businessman, was declared unqualified to
representthesectorofprofessionals.

16.Resolution77datedNovember7,2012inSPPCaseNo.12252(PLM)

The registration and accreditation of AANI78 were cancelled on several grounds. First, the party has failed to
establishatrackrecordofenhancingthelivesofthemarginalizedandunderrepresentedfarmerswhichitclaimsto
represent.Itsactivitiesthatincludereliefoperationsandconsultativemeetingsdidnotappeartoprimarilybenefitthe
saidsector.Second,morethanmajorityofthepartysnomineesarenotfarmers,contrarytotheseventhguidelinein
Ang Bagong Bayani that a partys nominees must belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sector to be
represented.

17.Resolution79datedNovember7,2012inSPPCaseNo.12292(PLM)

TheregistrationandaccreditationofAIPRA,80whichclaimstorepresentandadvancetheinterestsofindigenous
peoples,werecancelledonthegroundofitsfailuretoprovethatitsfivenomineesare"indeedindigenouspeople
haveactivelyparticipatedintheundertakingsofAIPRAtrulyadheretoitsadvocaciesandmostofall,thatthesaid
nomineesareitsbonafidemembers."81

18.Resolution82datedNovember7,2012inSPPCaseNo.12202(PLM)

TheCOMELECcancelledtheregistrationandaccreditationofCOCOFED83onseveralgrounds.First,thepartyis
alreadyaffiliatedwithanumberofcoconutagencies,bothprivateandgovernment.COCOFEDadmitsthatitsitsin
the board of the United Coconut Association of the Philippines (UCAP), the Philippine Coconut Research and
DevelopmentFoundation(PCRDF),CoconutInvestmentCo.(CIC),CocofedMarketingCorporation(CMC)andthe
QuezonCoconutPlantersSavingsandLoanBank(QCPSLB).Suchcircumstancenegatestheclaimthatitisstill
marginalized.Second,apartylistgroupmustnotbeanadjunctof,oraprojectorganizedoranentityfundedbythe
government. Contrary to this guideline, COCOFED openly admits that it is assisted by the Philippine Coconut
Authority (PCA) in various farmeroriented projects. Third, COCOFEDs nominees are not members of the
marginalizedsectorofcoconutfarmersandproducers,whichthepartyclaimstorepresent.

19.Resolution84datedNovember7,2012inSPPNo.12238(PLM)

ABANG LINGKODs85 registration was cancelled for its failure to establish a track record of continuously
representingmarginalizedandunderrepresentedpeasantfarmers.Further,thepartyfailedtoshowthatitsmembers
actually belong to the sector which it claims to represent. As regards the qualification of ABANG LINGKODs
nominees,therewasafailuretoshowthattheyarethemselvesmarginalizedandunderrepresented,thattheyhave
actively participated in programs for the advancement of peasant farmers, and that they truly adhere to the
advocaciesofABANGLINGKOD.

20.Resolution86datedNovember14,2012inSPPCaseNo.12158(PLM)

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TheregistrationandaccreditationofABROAD87werecancelledonseveralgrounds.First,thepartywasaccredited
asaregionalmultisectoralpartytorepresentthesectorsoflabor,overseasworkers,professionals,urbanpoorand
peasants. However, the documents submitted by the party indicate that it only advances the welfare of the labor,
overseas workers and professionals sectors, and fails to champion the causes of the urban poor and peasants
sectors.Inaddition,whilethepartywasregisteredwaybackinSeptember2009,thedocumentspresentedtoprove
its track record only show its activities beginning January 15, 2011. The COMELEC held, "(w)hat transpired from
September4,2009toDecember2010isapuzzletous.ABROADcouldhavealreadycarriedoutitspurposesand
platform of government in this period of time to promote the interests of its members, but it did not."88 Third,
ABROADsnomineesdonotfallunderanyofthesectorswhichthepartyseekstorepresent.

21.Resolution89datedNovember28,2012inSPPCaseNo.12228(PLM)

The COMELEC cancelled the registration and accreditation of BINHI90 on the following grounds: (1) the partys
component organization, the Cabanatuan City Seed Growers MultiPurpose Cooperative (CCSGMPC), being a
cooperative duly registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), cannot be considered as a
marginalized or underrepresented sectoral organization as it already receives ample assistance, attention and
protection from the State through the CDA (2) being a cooperative, the party receives assistance from the
governmentthroughtheDepartmentofAgriculture,inviolationofthefifthguidelineinAngBagongBayaniand(3)
whileitmayappearfromthedocumentssubmittedduringthesummaryevidentiaryhearingthatBINHI/CCSGMPC
indeedpromotestheinterestsandconcernsofpeasants,farmersandfarmtillers,thereisnoproof,however,that
thegroup,asawhole,ismarginalizedandunderrepresented.

22.Resolution91datedNovember28,2012inSPPCaseNo.12136(PLM)

The registration and accreditation of BUTIL92 were cancelled on two grounds. First, in the Judicial Affidavit
submittedbyitsSecretaryGeneraltotheComelec,itisstatedthatthepartyrepresents"membersoftheagriculture
andcooperativesector."FortheCOMELEC,BUTILfailedtoestablishthatthe"agriculturalandcooperativesectors"
are marginalized and underrepresented. Second, the partys nominees neither appear to belong to the sectors
whichtheyseektorepresent,nortohaveactivelyparticipatedintheundertakingsoftheparty.

23.Resolution93datedDecember3,2012inSPPNo.12194(PLM)

1st KABAGIS94 was found by the COMELEC to have ceased to exist after the 2010 elections. The documents
whichitsubmittedtoproveitscontinuedexistenceweresubstantiallythesameasthoseitpresentedtosupportits
petition for registration in 2009. Furthermore, 1st KABAGIS appeared to have "recycled the documentation of its
activities in 2009 to deliberately mislead the Commission to believe that it has existed continuously."95 For the
COMELEC, these circumstances constitute sufficient grounds for the cancellation of the partys registration, as
provided in Section 6 (6) and (7) of RA 7941 on a partys declaration of untruthful statements in the petition and
failuretoexistforatleastoneyear.Finally,theCOMELECtooknotethatwhile1stKABAGISintendstorepresent
thelabor,fisherfolksandtheurbanpoorindigenousculturalcommunitiessectors,noneofitsfivenomineesbelong
toanyofthesesectors.

24.Resolution96datedDecember4,2012inSPPNo.12198(PLM)

The COMELEC cancelled 1UTAKs97 accreditation, holding that: First, the party does not factually and truly
represent a marginalized sector considering that drivers and operators, which 1UTAK seeks to both represent,
havediametricallyopposinginterests.Theadvocacyofdriverspertainstowagesandbenefitswhileoperatorsare
mainly concerned with their profits. Second, the partys nominees do not belong to any marginalized and
underrepresented sector. The party did not even include among its nominees a representative from the drivers
sector.

25.Resolution98datedDecember4,2012inSPPNo.12157(PLM)andSPPNo.12191(PLM)

IncancellingtheregistrationofSENIORCITIZENS,99theCOMELECexplainedthat,first,itsnomineesduringthe
May2010electionshadagreedonatermsharingagreement,whichcircumventedSection7,ArticleVIofthe1987
Constitution that mandates a threeyear term for members of the House of Representatives. The termsharing
agreementwasalsodeclaredcontrarytopublicpolicysinceagiventermofpublicofficecannotbemadesubjectto
any agreement of the parties it is not a commodity that can be shared, apportioned or be made subject of any
private agreement. The Commission further cited Section 7, Rule 4 of COMELEC Resolution No. 9366, and
emphasizedthataviolationorfailuretocomplywithlaws,rulesandregulationsrelatingtoelectionsis,pursuantto
Section6(5)ofRA7941,agroundforthecancellationofapartysregistration.

26.Resolution100datedDecember5,2012inSPPNo.11002

The COMELEC En Banc affirmed the COMELEC Second Divisions resolution to grant the registration and
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accreditationofPBB101asanNCRPoliticalParty,butprohibiteditfromparticipatinginthe2013partylistelections
basedonthefollowinggrounds:(1)thepartydoesnotrepresentanymarginalizedandunderrepresentedsector,as
it is composed of businessmen, civil society groups, politicians and ordinary citizens advocating genuine people
empowerment,socialjustice,andenvironmentalprotectionandutilizationforsustainabledevelopment(2)itfailed
to apply for registration as a partylist group and (3) it failed to establish its track record as an organization that
seekstoupliftthelivesofthemarginalizedandunderrepresented.

TheCOMELECEnBancsauthorityunderResolutionNo.9513toconductanautomaticreviewoftheCOMELEC
divisions resolutions favoring new registrants also resulted in the COMELEC En Bancs issuance of several
resolutions.ItreversedtherulingsoftheCommissionsdivisionsthroughtheissuanceofthefollowing:

1.Resolution102datedNovember23,2012inSPPNo.12099(PLM)

ASINs103petitionforregistrationwasdeniedbytheCOMELECEnBanconthefollowinggrounds:first,the"artists"
sector, which is among the sectors which ASIN seeks to represent, is not considered marginalized and
underrepresented under RA 7941 and relevant jurisprudence second, ASIN failed to prove its track record as an
organization,therebeingnosufficientevidencetoshowthatithadperformedactsthattendtoadvancetheinterest
ofthesectorswhichitseekstorepresentandthird,ASINfailedtoshowthatitsnomineesarequalifiedunderthe
provisionsofRA7941andtheguidelineslaiddowninAngBagongBayani.

2. Omnibus Resolution104 dated November 27, 2012, which covers SPP No. 12041 (PLM) and SPP No. 12011
(PLM)

TheCOMELECEnBancdeniedtheregistrationofManilaTeachersandALAEH.

In denying Manila Teachers105 petition, the COMELEC En Banc reasoned that a nonstock savings and loan
association cannot be considered a marginalized and underrepresented sector under the partylist system of
representation, for being neither a part of the "working class," "service class," "economically deprived," social
outcasts,""vulnerable"and"workimpaired."106Furthermore,theCOMELECheldthatanonstocksavingsandloan
association is mandated to engage, exclusively, in the legitimate business of a nonstock savings and loan
association thus, the very foundation of its organization would be forfeited should it pursue its partylist
campaign.107 Even granting that Manila Teachers may seek registration under the partylist system as a group
representing public school teachers, the fact that its first and second nominees are not teachers by profession
adverselyaffectsthepartysapplication.

The denial of ALAEHs108 petition was based on its failure to show that its members, particularly businessmen,
sports enthusiasts, donors and hobbyists, belong to an identifiable group of persons which the law considers as
marginalized.Further,theCOMELECEnBancruledthatthegroupsnomineesdidnotappeartobequalified,as
they were individuals doing financially well in their respective businesses that do not contribute to the welfare of
Filipinoathletesandsportsenthusiasts.109

3.Resolution110datedNovember27,2012inSPPNo.12057(PLM)

TheCOMELECEnBancdenied1AAAPs111petitiononthegroundofthefailureofthepartysnomineestoqualify.
WhilethegroupseeksregistrationasaregionalpoliticalpartyunderRegionXI,itsthirdandfourthnominees112are
notresidentsofthesaidregion.FortheCOMELECEnBanc,suchcircumstancedisqualifiesthemasnominees,for
"it would be difficult for the said nominees to represent the interest of 1AAAPs supposed constituency who are
residentsandvotersofRegionXI."113Inaddition,thegroupfailedtosatisfythesecondguidelineinAngBagong
Bayani,withtheComelecEnBanctakingnotethatfour114ofitsfivenomineesdonotbelongtoanymarginalized
andunderrepresentedsector.

4.Resolution115datedNovember27,2012inSPPNo.12104(PL)

AKIN116 claims to be an organization of health workers and social workers from urban poor communities. The
denialofitspetitionisfoundedonthegroupsfailuretoshowthatitsnomineesbelongtotheurbanpoorsector.Its
first and second nominees117 are lawyers, its second nominee118 is a retired government employee, its fourth
nominee119isanaccountant/socialvolunteerworker,anditsfifthnominee120isasecretary.

5.Resolution121datedNovember29,2012inSPPNo.12011(PP)

AAB122appliedforregistrationasaregionalpoliticalpartyinRegionVIII,allegedlywith"constituenciescomposed
ofthemenandwomen(registeredvoters)ofRegionVIII,itsprovinces,cities,municipalitiesandallotherBisayans
fromtheotherpartsofthePhilippineswhoserootscanbetracedtotheBisayanRegionsofRegionVIIIxxx."123In

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denyingAABspetition,theCOMELECEnBanccitedthefollowinggrounds:first,therecordsdonotshowthatthe
grouprepresentsamarginalizedsectorofthesociety,otherthanbyitsclaimtohaveformedasectoralwing,the
AssociationofBisayanFarmersR8(ABFR8),registeredwiththeSecuritiesandExchangeCommission(SEC)on
May4,2012andaimingtopursuelegislationandprogramsforthebenefitoftheBisayanfarmersinRegionVIII
second, AABs alleged constituencies in Region VIII are not underrepresented because they already have their
districtrepresentativesinCongressthird,grantingthatABFR8isalegitimatesectoralgroupofAAB,ithasbeenin
existenceonlysinceMay4,2012,puttingintoquestionitstrackrecordofrepresentingpeasantsandfarmersand
fourth, its nominees are neither farmers nor peasants three are lawyers, and the two others are company
employees.

6.Resolution124datedDecember4,2012inSPPCaseNos.12009(PP)and12165(PLM)

AlthoughtheCOMELECEnBancaffirmedAIs125registrationasaregionalpoliticalpartyinRegionVI,itdeniedthe
partysregistrationunderthepartylistsystemonseveralgrounds.First,thepartyfailedtoshowthatitrepresentsa
marginalizedandunderrepresentedsector,consideringthattheProvinceofIloiloalreadyhas"nolessthanfive(5)
incumbentdistrictrepresentativesinCongress."126Second,thepartymadeuntruthfulstatementsinthe

Memorandum it filed with the COMELEC, when it claimed that some of its nominees are members of its sectoral
wingsPatladCayosFarmersAssociation(PatladCayos)andAlyansangIndustriyangBigas(ANIB),composedof
farmersandNFAaccreditedretailers,respectively.TheCOMELECEnBanctooknotethatnoneofitsnomineesare
farmers and food retailers, judging from their occupations or professions as declared in the certificates of
acceptance to their nominations. Third, AIs fourth nominee127 has withdrawn his acceptance to his nomination,
whileitsfirst128andfifth129nomineeshavefiledtheircertificatesofcandidacyforlocalelectivepositionsinIloilo.

7.Resolution130datedDecember4,2012inSPPNo.12175(PL)

ALONA131 claims to be an aggrupation of citizen groups composed of homeowners associations, urban poor,
elderly organizations, young professionals, overseas Filipino workers, women, entrepreneurs, cooperatives,
fisherfolk,farmers,labor,transport,vendorsandyouthgroups.Inrulingagainstthepartyspetition,theCOMELEC
EnBanccited:first,thegroupsfailuretoestablishhowitcanrepresentallthesefourteen(14)sectorswhichhave
different,evenconflicting,causesandneedssecond,thesectorsofhomeownersassociations,entrepreneursand
cooperativesarenotmarginalizedandunderrepresentedandthird,threeofthepartysnominees,abusinessman
andtwolawyers,donotbelongtoanymarginalizedandunderrepresentedsector.

Amongthepetitioners,onlythepetitionsforregistrationofALAM,KALIKASAN,PPPandGUARDJANweredenied
byadivisionoftheCOMELECinthefirstinstance.ThedivisionsrulingswereelevatedtotheCOMELECEnBanc
byvirtueofmotionsforreconsideration,whichwereresolvedviathefollowingResolutions:

1.Resolution132datedNovember7,2012inSPP12127(PL)

TheCOMELECEnBancaffirmedtheCOMELECSecondDivisionsfindingthatALAM133failedtosufficientlyprove
itstrackrecordasanorganization,andtoshowthatitactuallyrepresentsandseekstoupliftthemarginalizedand
the underrepresented. Further, the COMELEC En Banc ruled that the myriad of sectors which ALAM seeks to
represent, i.e., community print journalists, news dealers, news sellers, newsboys, tribesmen who learned to love
the liberty of the press, Blaan tribesmen who cry for ancestral lands, urban poor or informal settlers, drivers and
smalltimeoperatorsoftransportunits,poorresidentsinurbanbarangays,andlaborandjurysystemadvocates,is
toobroadandunrelatedtooneanother.Althoughthereisnoprohibitionagainstmultisectoralrepresentationinthe
partylistsystem,aparty,organizationorcoalitionwhichseeksregistrationmustbecapableofservingfullyallthe
sectorswhichitseekstorepresent.

2.Resolution134datedNovember7,2012inSPPCaseNo.12061(PP)

KALIKASAN,135agroupwhichclaimstobeaproenvironmentpoliticalpartyrepresentingthesectorsofworkers,
informalsettlers,women,youth,elderly,fisherfolks,handicapped,overseasworkersandordinaryprofessionalswho
aremostvulnerabletotheeffectsofclimatechangeandenvironmentaldegradation,136wasdeniedregistration,on
thefollowinggrounds:(1)theprinciplesandobjectivesstatedinitsconstitutionandbylawsreflectanadvocacyfor
the protection of the environment rather than for the causes of the marginalized and underrepresented sectors it
seeks to represent (2) there is no proof that majority of its membership belong to the marginalized and
underrepresented(3)itseekstorepresentsectorswithconflictinginterestsand(4)itsnomineesdonotbelongto
anyofthesectorswhichthepartyclaimstorepresent.

3.Resolution137datedNovember14,2012inSPPNo.12145(PL)

GUARDJANs138petitionforregistrationwasdeniedonthegroundofitsfailuretoproveitsmembershipbaseand
solid track record. The group failed to present the activities that sufficiently benefited its intended constituency of
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guards,utilityhelpers,aiders,riders,drivers,domestichelpers,janitors,agentsandnannies.Itsnomineeswerealso
foundtobeunqualified,astheydonotbelongtoanyofthesectorswhichGUARDJANseekstorepresentrather,
theyaretheowner,consultantormanagerofagencieswhichemploysecurityguards.FortheCOMELECEnBanc,
suchcircumstancewillonlyresultinaconflictofinterestbetweentheownersormanagersofsecurityagencieson
onehand,andthesecurityguardsontheother.

4.Resolution139datedDecember5,2012inSPPNo.12073(PLM)

TheCOMELECEnBancaffirmedthefindingsoftheCOMELECFirstDivision,whichcitedinitsResolution140the
failure of PPP141 to show a constituency of marginalized and underrepresented sectors. The group claims to
representtheentirefourprovincesandfivecitiesofRegionXII,allalreadybelongingtoeightcongressionaldistricts,
andalreadyrepresentedbyeightdistrictcongressmen.Furthermore,thegrouphasfailedtoshowatrackrecordof
undertakingprogramsthatareaimedatpromotingthewelfareofthegrouporanysectorthatitclaimstorepresent.

TheissuancebytheCOMELECEnBancoftheforegoingresolutionspromptedthefilingofthepresentpetitions,
whichdelveprimarilyonthefollowingcontentions:

First,theCOMELECEnBanccommittedgraveabuseofdiscretion,amountingtolackorexcessofjurisdiction,in
issuingResolutionNo.9513.ThepetitionerschallengetheCOMELECEnBancsauthorityundertheResolutionto
conduct an automatic review of its divisions resolutions notwithstanding the absence of a motion for
reconsideration.Forthepetitioners,theCOMELECEnBanccannotdismisswiththeproceduralrequirementonthe
filingofmotionsforreconsiderationunderRule19ofthe1993COMELECRulesofProcedurebeforeitcanreviewa
decisionorresolutionrenderedbyanyofitsdivisionsinquasijudicialproceedings.

AsregardstheCOMELECsresolvetodetermine,aftersummaryevidentiaryhearings,thecontinuingcomplianceof
previouslyregistered and accredited partylist groups, the COMELEC En Banc denied the parties of their right to
due process and has violated the principle of res judicata that should have otherwise worked in the petitioners
favor.Further,theCOMELECsexerciseofitsquasijudicialpowers,whichtheyclaimtoincludethecancellationof
existing registration and accreditation, could not have been exercised at the first instance by the COMELEC En
Banc,butshouldhavebeenfirstdecidedbyadivisionoftheCommission.

Second,theCOMELECEnBanccommittedgraveabuseofdiscretion,amountingtolackorexcessofjurisdiction,in
refusingorcancellingthepetitionersregistrationandaccreditationunderthepartylistsystem.Thepetitionersassail
theCOMELECEnBancsappreciationoffactsandapplicationofpertinentlawsandjurisprudence,especiallythe
eightpoint guidelines in Ang Bagong Bayani, in determining their sectors, groups and nominees respective
qualifications.

Giventhecommonquestionsandthesimilarityintheissuesthatareraisedinthe53subjectpetitions,theCourthas
resolved, through its Resolutions of November 13, 2012, November 20, 2012, November 27, 2012, December 4,
2012, December 11, 2012 and February 19, 2013 to consolidate the petitions, and require the COMELEC to
commentthereon.

Withthepetitionersinclusionintheirrespectivepetitionsofprayersfortheissuanceoftemporaryrestrainingorder
and/or writ of preliminary injunction, the Court also ordered, via the aforementioned resolutions, the issuance of
StatusQuoAnteOrders(SQAOs)inallthepetitions.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), as counsel for the respondent COMELEC, filed its Consolidated
Commentsonthepetitions.InrefutingthepetitionersclaimofgraveabuseofdiscretionagainsttheCOMELEC,the
OSGsubmittedthefollowingarguments:142

First, the COMELEC has the power to review existing partylist groups or organizations' compliance with the
requirements provided by law and the guidelines set by jurisprudence on the partylist system. The OSG cites
Section 2, Article IXC of the 1987 Constitution which enumerates the powers and functions of the COMELEC,
givingemphasisonparagraph1thereofthatgivestheCommissionthepowertoenforceandadministeralllawsand
regulations relative to the conduct of an election, and paragraph 5 that cites the Commissions power to register
politicalparties,organizationsorcoalitions.

Second, the COMELECs review of the parties qualifications was a valid exercise by the COMELEC of its
administrativepowershence,theCOMELECEnBanccouldhave,evenatthefirstinstance,ruledonit.

Third, the requirements of due process were satisfied because the petitioners were given a fair and reasonable
opportunitytobeheard.TheCOMELECsresolvetosuspenditsownruleswassanctionedbylaw,asitwasaimed
foraspeedydispositionofmattersbeforetheCommission.

Furthermore, no petitioner had previously questioned the procedure that was adopted by the COMELEC on the
review of the parties registration instead, the groups voluntarily submitted to the Commissions jurisdiction and
activelyparticipatedinitsproceedings.
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Fourth,theCOMELECfaithfullyappliedthegroundsfordenialandcancellationofagroupsregistration,asprovided
bystatuteandprevailingjurisprudence.TheOSGspecificallycitesSections5to9ofRA7941andtheeightpoint
guidelinesinAngBagongBayani.

Fifth,theCOMELECsfindingsoffactineachpetitionerscasearesupportedbysubstantialevidencethus,arefinal
andnonreviewableasprovidedinSection5,Rule64ofthe1997RulesofCivilProcedure.

In prcis, the fiftythree (53) consolidated petitions concern two main issues: the procedural issue as to the
COMELECEnBancspowertoautomaticallyreviewadecisionofitsdivisionwithouttherequisitefilingofamotion
forreconsideration,andthesubstantiveissueastotheCOMELECsallegedgraveabuseofdiscretionindenyingor
cancellingtheregistrationand/oraccreditationunderthepartylistsystemofthepetitioners.

I signify my assent to the ponencias rulings on the procedural issue however, consistent with aforequoted
pronouncementoftheCourtinAngBagongBayani,143Isignifymystrongdissentonmajorpointsintheponencias
resolutionofthesubstantiveissue,includingitsdiscussionsonthenatureofthepartylistsystemanditsdisposition
on the qualifications of political parties which seek to participate under the partylist system of representation.
Furthermore,notwithstandingthenewstandardsthattheponencianowprovidesforpartylistgroups,theremandof
all53petitionstotheCOMELECisunnecessary.

ProceduralAspect

ThePowersandFunctionsofthe

COMELEC

Under the present Constitution, the COMELEC is recognized as the sole authority in the enforcement and
administration of election laws. This grant of power retraces its history in the 1935 Constitution. From then, the
powersandfunctionsoftheCOMELEChadcontinuouslybeenexpoundedtorespondtothecallofcontemporary
times.InMendozav.CommissiononElections,144theCourtbrieflynoted:

Historically,theCOMELEChasalwaysbeenanadministrativeagencywhosepowershavebeenincreasedfromthe
1935 Constitution to the present one, to reflect the countrys awareness of the need to provide greater regulation
andprotectiontoourelectoralprocessestoensuretheirintegrity.Inthe1935Constitution,thepowersandfunctions
oftheCOMEsLECweredefinedasfollows:

SECTION2.TheCommissiononElectionsshallhaveexclusivechargeoftheenforcementandadministrationofall
lawsrelativetotheconductofelectionsandshallexerciseallotherfunctionswhichmaybeconferreduponitbylaw.
Itshalldecide,savethoseinvolvingtherighttovote,alladministrativequestionsaffectingelections,includingthe
determinationofthenumberandlocationofpollingplaces,andtheappointmentofelectioninspectorsandofother
electionofficials.AlllawenforcementagenciesandinstrumentalitiesoftheGovernment,whensorequiredbythe
Commission,shallactasitsdeputiesforthepurposeofinsuringfree,orderly,andhonestelection.Thedecisions,
orders,andrulingsoftheCommissionshallbesubjecttoreviewbytheSupremeCourt.xxx

Theseevolvedintothefollowingpowersandfunctionsunderthe1973Constitution:

(1)Enforceandadministeralllawsrelativetotheconductofelections.

(2)Bethesolejudgeofallcontestsrelatingtotheelections,returns,andqualificationsofallmembersofthe
NationalAssemblyandelectiveprovincialandcityofficials.

(3) Decide, save those involving the right to vote, administrative questions affecting elections, including the
determination of the number and location of polling places, the appointment of election officials and
inspectors,andtheregistrationofvoters.

Thesepowershavebeenenhancedinscopeanddetailsunderthe1987Constitution,xxx145

Underthe1987Constitution,theintenttoreinforcetheauthorityoftheCOMELECisevidentinthegrantofseveral
otherpowersupontheCommission,specificallyunderSection2,ArticleIXCthereofwhichreads:

Section2.TheCommissiononElectionsshallexercisethefollowingpowersandfunctions:

1.Enforceandadministeralllawsandregulationsrelativetotheconductofanelection,plebiscite,initiative,
referendum,andrecall.

2.Exerciseexclusiveoriginaljurisdictionoverallcontestsrelatingtotheelections,returns,andqualifications
of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving

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elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay
officialsdecidedbytrialcourtsoflimitedjurisdiction.

Decisions, final orders, or rulings of the Commission on election contests involving elective municipal and
barangayofficesshallbefinal,executory,andnotappealable.

3.Decide,exceptthoseinvolvingtherighttovote,allquestionsaffectingelections,includingdeterminationof
thenumberandlocationofpollingplaces,appointmentofelectionofficialsandinspectors,andregistrationof
voters.

4. Deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the
Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free,
orderly,honest,peaceful,andcredibleelections.

5.Register,aftersufficientpublication,politicalparties,organizations,orcoalitionswhich,inadditiontoother
requirements, must present their platform or program of government and accredit citizens' arms of the
Commission on Elections. Religious denominations and sects shall not be registered. Those which seek to
achievetheirgoalsthroughviolenceorunlawfulmeans,orrefusetoupholdandadheretothisConstitution,or
whicharesupportedbyanyforeigngovernmentshalllikewiseberefusedregistration.

Financial contributions from foreign governments and their agencies to political parties, organizations,
coalitions,orcandidatesrelatedtoelections,constituteinterferenceinnationalaffairs,and,whenaccepted,
shallbeanadditionalgroundforthecancellationoftheirregistrationwiththeCommission,inadditiontoother
penaltiesthatmaybeprescribedbylaw.

6.File,uponaverifiedcomplaint,oronitsowninitiative,petitionsincourtforinclusionorexclusionofvoters
investigateand,whereappropriate,prosecutecasesofviolationsofelectionlaws,includingactsoromissions
constitutingelectionfrauds,offenses,andmalpractices.

7. Recommend to the Congress effective measures to minimize election spending, including limitation of
placeswherepropagandamaterialsshallbeposted,andtopreventandpenalizeallformsofelectionfrauds,
offenses,malpractices,andnuisancecandidacies.

8.RecommendtothePresidenttheremovalofanyofficeroremployeeithasdeputized,ortheimpositionof
anyotherdisciplinaryaction,forviolationordisregardof,ordisobedienceto,itsdirective,order,ordecision.

9. Submit to the President and the Congress, a comprehensive report on the conduct of each election,
plebiscite,initiative,referendum,orrecall.

Essentially, the COMELEC has general and specific powers. Section 2(1) of Article IXC partakes of the general
grantofthepowertotheCOMELECto"enforceandadministeralllawsandregulationsrelativetotheconductofan
election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall." The authority given to the COMELEC under this provision
encapsulatesalltheotherpowersgrantedtoitundertheConstitution.Theintentioninprovidingthisgeneralgrantof
power is to give the COMELEC a wide latitude in dealing with matters under its jurisdiction so as not to unduly
delimit the performance of its functions. Undoubtedly, the text and intent of this constitutional provision is to give
COMELEC all the necessary and incidental powers for it to achieve the objective of holding free, orderly, honest,
peaceful and credible elections.146 The rest of the enumeration in the mentioned provision constitutes the
COMELECsspecificpowers.

Astothenatureofthepowerexercised,theCOMELECspowerscanfurtherbeclassifiedintoadministrative,quasi
legislative,quasijudicial,and,inlimitedinstances,judicial.ThequasijudicialpoweroftheCommissionembraces
thepowertoresolvecontroversiesarisingintheenforcementofelectionlawsandtobethesolejudgeofallpre
proclamation controversies and of all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications. Its quasi
legislativepowerreferstotheissuanceofrulesandregulationstoimplementtheelectionlawsandtoexercisesuch
legislative functions as may expressly be delegated to it by Congress. Its administrative function refers to the
enforcementandadministrationofelectionlaws.147

In Baytan v. COMELEC,148 the Court had the occasion to pass upon the classification of the powers being
exercisedbytheCOMELEC,thus:

TheCOMELECsadministrativepowersarefoundinSection2(1),(3),(4),(5),(6),(7),(8),and(9)ofArticleIXC.
The1987ConstitutiondoesnotprescribehowtheCOMELECshouldexerciseitsadministrativepowers,whetheren
banc or in division. The Constitution merely vests the COMELECs administrative powers in the "Commission on
Elections,"whileprovidingthattheCOMELEC"maysitenbancorintwodivisions."Clearly,theCOMELECenbanc
can act directly on matters falling within its administrative powers. Indeed, this has been the practice of the
COMELECbothunderthe1973and1987Constitutions.

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Ontheotherhand,theCOMELECsquasijudicialpowersarefoundinSection2(2)ofArticleIXC,towit:

"Section2.TheCommissiononElectionsshallexercisethefollowingpowersandfunctions:

xxxx

(2)Exerciseexclusiveoriginaljurisdictionoverallcontestsrelatingtotheelections,returns,andqualificationsofall
electiveregional,provincial,andcityofficials,andappellatejurisdictionoverallcontestsinvolvingelectivemunicipal
officialsdecidedbytrialcourtsofgeneraljurisdiction,orinvolvingelectivebarangayofficialsdecidedbytrialcourts
oflimitedjurisdiction.149(Emphasissupplied)

ThedistinctiononthenatureofthepowerbeingexercisedbytheCOMELECiscrucialtotheprocedurewhichhas
to be observed so as to stamp an official action with validity. In the exercise of its adjudicatory or quasijudicial
powers,theConstitutionmandatestheCOMELECtohearanddecidecasesfirstbydivisionanduponmotionfor
reconsideration,bytheCOMELECEnBanc.150Section3ofArticleIXCstates:

Section 3. The Commission on Elections may sit en banc or in two divisions, and shall promulgate its rules of
procedure in order to expedite disposition of election cases, including preproclamation controversies. All such
electioncasesshallbeheardanddecidedindivision,providedthatmotionsforreconsiderationofdecisionsshallbe
decidedbytheCommissionenbanc.

Ontheotherhand,matterswithintheadministrativejurisdictionoftheCOMELECmaybeactedupondirectlybythe
COMELECEnBancwithouthavingtopassthroughanyofitsdivisions.151

TheIssuanceofResolutionNo.9513asanImplementofthePowertoRegisterPoliticalParties,Organizationsand
Coalitions

One of the specific powers granted to the COMELEC is the power to register political parties, organizations and
coalitionsarticulatedinSection2(5)ofArticleIXCoftheConstitution,thus:

(5) Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, or coalitions which, in addition to other
requirements,mustpresenttheirplatformorprogramofgovernmentandaccreditcitizens'armsoftheCommission
onElections.Religiousdenominationsandsectsshallnotberegistered.Thosewhichseektoachievetheirgoals
throughviolenceorunlawfulmeans,orrefusetoupholdandadheretothisConstitution,orwhicharesupportedby
anyforeigngovernmentshalllikewiseberefusedregistration.

xxxx

Theessenceofregistrationcannotbeoveremphasized.Registrationandtheformalrecognitionthataccompaniesit
arerequiredbecauseoftheConstitutionsconcernaboutthecharacteroftheorganizationsofficiallyparticipatingin
the elections.152 Specifically, the process of registration serves to filter the applicants for electoral seats and
segregatethequalifiedfromtheineligible.Thepurityofthisexerciseiscrucialtotheachievementoforderly,honest
andpeacefulelectionswhichtheConstitutionenvisions.

The power to register political parties, however, is not a mere clerical exercise. The COMELEC does not simply
register every party, organization or coalition that comes to its office and manifests its intent to participate in the
elections.Registrationentailsthepossessionofqualifications.Thepartyseekingregistrationmustfirstpresentits
qualificationsbeforeregistrationwillfollowasamatterofcourse.

Similar with all the specific powers of the COMELEC, the power to register political parties, organizations and
coalitionsmustbeunderstoodasanimplementbywhichitsgeneralpowertoenforceandadministerelectionlaws
is being realized. The exercise of this power must thus be construed in a manner that will aid the COMELEC in
fulfillingitsdutyofensuringthattheelectoralexerciseisheldexclusivetothosewhopossessthequalificationsset
bythelaw.

It is pursuant to this duty that the COMELEC found it imperative to promulgate Resolution No. 9513. The said
Resolution seeks to manage the registration of partylist groups, organizations and coalitions that are aspiring to
participateinthe2013NationalandLocalElections,withtheobjectiveofensuringthatonlythoseparties,groupsor
organizations with the requisite character consistent with the purpose of the partylist system are registered and
accreditedtoparticipateinthepartylistsystemofrepresentation.

Plainly,theresolutionauthorizedtheCOMELECEnBanctoautomaticallyreviewallpendingregistrationofpartylist
groups, organizations and coalitions and to set for summary evidentiary hearings all those that were previously
registered to determine continuing compliance. To effectively carry out the purpose of the Resolution, the
COMELECsuspendedRule19ofthe1993COMELECRulesofProcedure,specificallytherequirementforamotion
forreconsideration.

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In the implementation of Resolution No. 9513, a number of applicants for registration as partylist group,
organization or coalition were denied registration by the COMELEC En Banc, while several others that were
previously registered and/or accredited were stripped of their status as registered and/or accredited partylist
groups,organizationsorcoalitions.

Given the circumstances, I agree with the majority that the action of the COMELEC En Banc was wellwithin its
authority.

Theargumentsofthepetitionersproceedfromafeebleunderstandingofthenatureofthepowersbeingexercised
by the COMELEC in which the procedure to be observed depends. Indeed, in a quasijudicial proceeding, the
COMELEC En Banc does not have the authority to assume jurisdiction without the filing of a motion for
reconsideration.Thefilingofamotionforreconsiderationpresupposesthatthecasehadbeenheard,passedupon
anddisposedbytheCOMELECDivisionbeforethesameissubjectedtoreviewoftheCOMELECEnBanc.

InDolePhilippinesInc.v.Esteva,153theCourtdefinedquasijudicialpower,towit:

Quasijudicialoradministrativeadjudicatorypowerontheotherhandisthepoweroftheadministrativeagencyto
adjudicate the rights of persons before it. It is the power to hear and determine questions of fact to which the
legislativepolicyistoapplyandtodecideinaccordancewiththestandardslaiddownbythelawitselfinenforcing
and administering the same law. The administrative body exercises its quasijudicial power when it performs in a
judicialmanneranactwhichisessentiallyofanexecutiveoradministrativenature,wherethepowertoactinsuch
manner is incidental to or reasonably necessary for the performance of the executive or administrative duty
entrusted to it. In carrying out their quasijudicial functions the administrative officers or bodies are required to
investigatefactsorascertaintheexistenceoffacts,holdhearings,weighevidence,anddrawconclusionsfromthem
as basis for their official action and exercise of discretion in a judicial nature. Since rights of specific persons are
affected, it is elementary that in the proper exercise of quasijudicial power due process must be observed in the
conductoftheproceedings.154

Tobeclear,theCOMELECexercisesquasijudicialpowersindecidingelectioncontestswhere,inthecourseofthe
exercise of its jurisdiction, it holds hearings and exercises discretion of a judicial nature it receives evidence,
ascertainsthefactsfromthepartiessubmissions,determinesthelawandthelegalrightsoftheparties,andonthe
basisofallthese,decidesonthemeritsofthecaseandrendersjudgment.155

However,theregistrationofpoliticalparties,organizationsandcoalitionsstatedinSection2(5)ofArticleIXCofthe
Constitutioninvolvestheexerciseofadministrativepower.TheCourthasearlierdeclaredinBaytanthatSections2
(1), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8) and (9) of Article IXC pertain to the administrative powers of the COMELEC.156 It
reiteratedthispronouncementinBautistav.COMELEC157whereitfurtherdeliberatedonthedistinctionsbetween
theadministrativeandquasijudicialpowersoftheCOMELEC.Andrecently,inMagdalov.COMELEC,158itmadea
categoricalpronouncementthatthepoweroftheCOMELECtoregisterpoliticalpartiesandascertaintheeligibilityof
groupstoparticipateintheelectionsispurelyadministrativeincharacter.159

DistinguishingthenatureofthepowerbeingexercisedbytheCOMELECisrelevantbecauseofthedifferentsetof
rulesthatappliestoeach.Forinstance,inCanicosav.COMELEC,160theCourtstressedthatmattersfallingunder
the administrative jurisdiction of the COMELEC may be acted upon directly by the COMELEC En Banc. On the
otherhand,Section3,ArticleIXCoftheConstitutionunderscorestherequirementforamotionforreconsideration
beforetheCOMELECEnBancmaytakeactioninquasijudicialproceedings.

TheCOMELECsdeterminationastowhetherapartyisapoliticalpartyentitledtoregistrationisanexerciseofits
constitutionalpowerofadministeringthelawsrelativetotheconductofelections.161Thesameprincipleappliesin
the registration of partylist groups, organizations and coalitions. In the process of registration, the COMELEC
determineswhethertheapplicantpossessesallthequalificationsrequiredunderthelaw.Therearenocontending
partiesoractualcontroversy.Itismerelytheapplicantprovinghisqualificationstoparticipateintheelections.

Theforegoingratiocination,however,doesnotsuggestthattheCOMELECEnBanccanforthwithactonpending
petitionsforregistrationandsubjectpreviouslyregisteredpartylistgroups,organizationsandcoalitionstosummary
evidentiaryhearingstodeterminecontinuingcompliancesimplybecauseitisadministrativeinnature.Indeed,itmay
doso,butonlywithrespecttothelattergroup.

Idistinguishbetween(1)neworpendingpetitionsforregistration(referredtoasthefirstgroup),and(2)previously
registeredand/oraccreditedpartylistgroups,organizationsandcoalitions(referredtoasthesecondgroup).

Asregardsthefirstgroup,theCOMELECEnBanccannotdirectlyactonnewpetitionsforregistrationasthereisa
specificproceduregoverningtheperformanceofthisfunction.Itbearsnotingthatpursuanttotheauthorityvestedin
theCOMELECtopromulgaterulesofprocedureinordertoexpeditethedispositionofcases,162itdraftedthe1993
COMELECRulesofProcedurewhichwillgovernpleadings,practiceandprocedurebeforetheCommission.Under

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Section 32 of the said Rules, the registration of political parties or organizations is classified under Special
Proceedings, together with annulment of permanent list of voters and accreditation of citizens arms of the
Commission.Inrelationtothis,Section3ofRule3states:

Section3.TheCommissionSittinginDivisionsTheCommissionshallsitintwo(2)Divisionstohearanddecide
protestsorpetitionsinordinaryactions,specialactions,specialcases,provisionalremedies,contempt,andspecial
proceedingsexceptinaccreditationofcitizensarmoftheCommission.(Emphasisours)

The same rule applies to the registration of partylist groups, organizations or coalitions. Thus, petitions for
registrationofpartylistgroups,organizationsandcoalitionsarefirstheardbytheCOMELECDivisionbeforethey
areelevatedtotheEnBanconmotionforreconsideration.Itisthisrequirementforamotionforreconsiderationof
theresolutionsoftheCOMELECDivisiongrantingnewpetitionsforregistrationthattheCOMELECsuspendedin
Resolution No. 9513. In doing so, the COMELEC resorted to Section 4, Rule 1 of the 1993 COMELEC Rules of
Procedurewhichreads:

Section4.SuspensionoftheRules.Intheinterestofjusticeandinordertoobtainspeedydispositionofallmatters
pendingbeforetheCommission,theserulesoranyportionthereofmaybesuspendedbytheCommission.

Surely,thesuspensionoftherulewillservethegreaterinterestofjusticeandpublicgoodsincetheobjectiveisto
purgethelistofregistrantsofthosewhoarenotqualifiedtoparticipateintheelectionsofpartylistrepresentativesin
Congress. Ultimately, it will help secure the electoral seats to the intended beneficiaries of RA 7941 and, at the
sametime,guardagainstflybynightgroupsandorganizationsthatareseekingfortheopportunetimetosnatcha
chance.Byvirtueofthesuspensionoftherequirementformotionforreconsideration,theCOMELECEnBancmay
thenautomaticallyreviewpendingpetitionsforregistrationanddetermineifthequalificationsunderthelawaretruly
met. It is a measure that was pursued in order that the COMELEC may fulfill its duty to ensure the purity of
elections.And,astherulesofprocedurearedesignedtofacilitatetheCOMELECsperformanceofitsduties,itmust
neverbeastumblingblockinachievingtheverypurposeofitscreation.

Withrespecttothesecondgroup,theCOMELECEnBancmaydirectlyordertheconductofsummaryevidentiary
hearings to determine continuing compliance considering that there is no specific procedure on this matter. The
petitionerscannotinvokeSection3,Rule3ofthe1993COMELECRulesofProceduresincethisprovisionrelates
onlytonewpetitionsforregistration.Absentaspecialruleorprocedure,theCOMELECEnBancmaydirectlyactor
performanotherwiseadministrativefunction,consistentwithourpronouncementinCanicosa.

The authority of the COMELEC En Banc to subject previouslyregistered and/or accredited partylist groups,
organizations and coalitions to summary evidentiary hearing emanates from its general power to enforce and
administeralllawsandregulationsrelativetotheconductofanelection163anddutytoensure"free,orderly,honest,
peacefulandcredibleelections."164Partandparcelofthisdutyisthemaintenanceofalistofqualifiedcandidates.
CorrelativetothisdutyoftheCOMELECisthedutyofthecandidateor,inthiscase,theregisteredpartylistgroups,
organizationsorcoalitionstomaintaintheirqualifications.

Consistent with the principle that the right to hold public office is a privilege, it is incumbent upon aspiring
participantsinthepartylistsystemofrepresentationtosatisfactorilyshowthattheyhavetherequiredqualifications
statedinthelawandprevailingjurisprudence.Specifically,apartylistgroupororganizationapplyingforregistration
inthefirstinstancemustpresentsufficientevidencetoestablishitsqualifications.Itisonlyuponproofofpossession
ofqualificationsthatregistrationfollows.

The process, however, does not end with registration. Partylist groups and organizations that are previously
allowedregistrationand/oraccreditationaredutyboundtomaintaintheirqualifications.

InAmoresv.HouseofRepresentativesElectoralTribunal,165theCourtemphasized:

Qualifications for public office are continuing requirements and must be possessed not only at the time of
appointment or election or assumption of office but during the officer's entire tenure. Once any of the required
qualificationsislost,histitlemaybeseasonablychallenged.166

Itcanbegatheredfromtheforegoingthatthefactthatacandidatewhowasallowedtoparticipateintheelections
and hold office does not give him a vested right to retain his position notwithstanding loss of qualification. The
electiveofficialmustmaintainhisqualificationslesthelosestherighttotheofficeheisholding.

Further, the fact that a candidate was previously allowed to run or hold public office does not exempt him from
establishing his qualifications once again in case he bids for reelection. He must maintain and attest to his
qualificationseverytimeheismindedtojointheelectoralrace.Thus,heisrequiredtofileacertificateofcandidacy
evenifheisanincumbentelectiveofficialorpreviouslyacandidateintheimmediatelyprecedingelections.

Similar to individual candidates, registered partylist groups, organizations and coalitions must also establish their
continuing compliance with the requirements of the law which are specific to those running under the partylist
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systemofrepresentation.Registrationdoesnotvestthemtheperpetualrighttoparticipateintheelection.Thebasis
oftherighttoparticipateintheelectionsremainstobethepossessionofqualifications.ResolutionNo.9513isa
formalrecognitionoftheCOMELECsdutytoensurethatonlythosewhoarequalifiedmustbeallowedtorunas
partylistrepresentative.Itcannotbedefeatedbyaclaimofpreviousregistration.

Therefore, it is my view that the COMELEC cannot be estopped from cancelling existing registration and/or
accreditation in case the concerned partylist group or organization failed to maintain its qualifications. Being the
authoritywhichpermitsregistrationand/oraccreditation,italsohasthepowertocancelthesameintheeventthat
thebasisofthegrantnolongerexists.

InapplicabilityoftheDoctrineofResJudicata

Similarly,theCOMELECcannotbeprecludedfromreviewingpendingregistrationandexistingregistrationand/or
accreditationofpartylistgroups,organizationsandcoalitionsonthegroundofresjudicata.Ithasbeenrepeatedly
cited in a long line of jurisprudence that the doctrine of res judicata applies only to judicial or quasijudicial
proceedings,nottotheexerciseofadministrativepowers.167

Moreover,theapplicationofthedoctrineofresjudicatarequirestheconcurrenceoffour(4)elements,viz.:(1)the
formerjudgmentorordermustbefinal(2)itmustbeajudgmentororderonthemerits,thatis,itwasrenderedafter
aconsiderationoftheevidenceorstipulationssubmittedbythepartiesduringthetrialofthecase(3)itmusthave
beenrenderedbyacourthavingjurisdictionoverthesubjectmatterandthepartiesand(4)theremustbe,between
thefirstandsecondactions,identityofparties,subjectmatterandcausesofaction.168

Here, the resolutions of the COMELEC Division, allowing the registration of the applicant partylist groups and
organizationsdonotpartakeofafinaljudgmentororder.Afinaljudgmentororderisonethatfinallydisposesofa
case,leavingnothingmoretobedonebytheCourtinrespectthereto,e.g.anadjudicationonthemeritswhich,on
thebasisoftheevidencepresentedatthetrial,declarescategoricallywhattherightsandobligationsoftheparties
areandwhichpartyisright.Oncerendered,thetaskoftheCourtisended,asfarasdecidingthecontroversyor
determiningtherightsandliabilitiesofthelitigantsisconcerned.169

The resolutions of the COMELEC Division cannot be considered an adjudication on the merits since they do not
involve a determination of the rights and liabilities of the parties based on the ultimate facts disclosed in the
pleadings or in the issues presented during the trial.170 They are simply recognition by the COMELEC that the
applicantpartylistororganizationpossessesthequalificationsforregistration.Theydonotinvolvethesettlementof
conflicting claims it is merely an initiatory procedure for the conduct of elections. On the other hand, previous
registrationand/oraccreditationonlyatteststothefactthattheconcernedpartylistgroup,organizationorcoalition
satisfactorily proved its qualifications to run as partylist representative in the immediately preceding elections. It
does not, however, create a vested right in favor of the registered partylist group, organization or coalition to
participateinthesucceedingelections.

TheresolutionsoftheCOMELECDivisioncannotalsobecomefinalastoexemptthepartylistgroupororganization
fromprovinghisqualificationsinthesucceedingelections.Asinindividualcandidate,apartylistgroup,organization
orcoalitiondesiringtoparticipateintheelectionsmustpossesstherequiredqualificationseverytimeitmanifestsits
intenttoparticipateintheelections.Itmustproveandattesttoitspossessionoftherequiredqualificationsevery
timeitbidsforelection.

Theinapplicabilityofthedoctrineofresjudicataisevenmademoreapparentbythefactthatthegroup,organization
or coalition which was denied registration may still apply for registration in succeeding elections and even be
allowedregistrationprovidedthatthequalificationsaremet.

The same holds true with previously registered and/or accredited partylist group, organization or coalition which
wasstrippedofitsregistrationand/oraccreditation.

Proceduraldueprocesswasproperly

observed.

There is even no merit in the petitioners claim that their right to procedural due process was violated by the
COMELECsautomaticreviewandconductofsummaryevidentiaryhearingsunderResolutionNo.9513.

Asregardsthefirstgroup,IhaveexplainedwhyIdeemtheCOMELECssuspensionofitsownrulesonmotionsfor
reconsiderationjustified,givenitsdutytoensurethatvotescastbytheelectorateinthepartylistelectionswillonly
countforqualifiedpartylistgroups,intheendthatthesystemsidealswillberealized.

Equallyimportant,thesettledruleinadministrativeproceedingsisthatafairandreasonableopportunitytoexplain
onessidesatisfiestherequirementsofdueprocess.Itsessenceisembodiedinthebasicrequirementsofnotice

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andtherealopportunitytobeheard.171

Consistentwiththeforegoing,Section6ofRA7941onlycommandstheminimumrequirementsofduenoticeand
hearing to satisfy procedural due process in the refusal and/or cancellation of a party, organization or coalitions
registrationunderthepartylistsystem.Itreads:

Section6.Refusaland/orCancellationofRegistration.TheCOMELECmay,motupropriooruponverifiedcomplaint
ofanyinterestedparty,refuseorcancel,afterduenoticeandhearing,theregistrationofanynational,regionalor
sectoralparty,organizationorcoalitiononanyofthefollowinggrounds:

xxxx(Emphasisours)

The petitioners then cannot validly claim that they were denied of their right to procedural process. We shall not
disregardtheproceedingsthatensuedbeforetheCOMELECsdivisions,beforewhomthegroupsweregivendue
noticeandtheampleopportunitytopresentandsubstantiatetheirpleaforregistration.TheCOMELECEnBancs
resolution to later review the resolutions of its divisions did not render insignificant such due process already
accordedtothegroups,especiallyasweconsiderthattheEnBancdecidedonthebasisoftheevidencesubmitted
bythegroupsbeforethedivisions,onlythatitarrivedatfactualfindingsandconclusionsthatdifferedfromthoseof
thelatter.

Thesecondgroupsrighttoproceduralprocesswasalsounimpaired,notwithstandingtheCOMELECsconductof
thesummaryevidentiaryhearingsforthepurposeofdeterminingthepartiescontinuingcompliancewithruleson
partylist groups. The notice requirement was satisfied by the COMELEC through its issuance of the Order dated
August2,2012172,whichnotifiedthepartylistgroupsoftheCommissionsresolvetoconductsummaryevidentiary
hearings,thedatesthereof,andthepurposeforwhichthehearingsshallbeconducted.Thespecificmattersthat
areexpectedfromthembytheCommissionarealsoidentifiedintheOrder,asitprovides:

Tosimplifytheproceedings,thepartylistgroupsororganizationsthrucounsel/sshallsubmitthefollowing:

1. The names of witness/es who shall be the Chairperson, President or Secretary General of the partylist
groups,organizationorcoalition

2.JudicialAffidavit/softhewitness/estobesubmittedatpriortothescheduledhearingand

3. Other documents to prove their continuing compliance with the requirements of R.A. No. 7941 and the
guidelinesintheAngBagongBayanicase.173(Emphasissupplied)

Thereisthennomeritinmostpetitionersclaimthattheywerenotinformedofthegroundsforwhichtheirexisting
registrationand/oraccreditationshallbetested,consideringthattheparametersbywhichthepartiesqualifications
weretobeassessedbytheCOMELECwereexplainedintheOrder.

That the parties were duly notified is further supported by their actual participation in the scheduled hearings and
theirsubmissionofevidencetheydeemedsufficientwhich,inturn,satisfiedtherequirementontheopportunitytobe
heard.

SubstantiveAspect

The common contention raised in the consolidated petitions is that the COMELEC erred in assessing their
qualificationswhicheventuallyledtothedenialoftheirpetitionsforregistrationandcancellationoftheirregistration
and/oraccreditation.

Adeliberationonthepurposeandcontemplationoftherelevantlawsandprevailingjurisprudenceisimperative.

ThePartyListSystemof

Representation

Contrarytotheviewofthemajority,itismystaunchpositionthatthepartylistsystem,beingacomplementofthe
socialjusticeprovisionsintheConstitution,isprimarilyintendedtobenefitthemarginalizedandunderrepresented
the ideals of social justice permeates every provision in the Constitution, including Section 5(2), Article VI on the
partylistsystem.

Thepartylistsystemisasocialjusticetooldesignednotonlytogivemorelawtothegreatmassesofourpeople
whohavelessinlife,butalsotoenablethemtobecomeveritablelawmakersthemselves,empoweredtoparticipate
directlyintheenactmentoflawsdesignedtobenefitthem.174Itisnotsimplyamechanismforelectoralreform.To
simplyregarditasamereprocedureforreformingthealreadyworkingandexistingelectoralsystemisasuperficial
reading of RA 7941 and the Constitution, from which the law breathed life. The idea is that by promoting the

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advancementoftheunderprivilegedandallowingthemanopportunitytogrow,theycanrisetobecomepartnersof
theStateinpursuinggreatercauses.

Theidealsofsocialjusticecannotbemoreemphaticallyunderscoredinthe1987Constitution.Thestrongdesireto
incorporateandutilizesocialjusticeasoneofthepillarsofthepresentConstitutionwasbroughtforthbytheintent
toperpetuallysafeguarddemocracyagainstsocialinjustices,desecrationofhumanrightsanddisrespectofthelaws
which characterized the dark pages of our history. It is reminiscent of the unified and selfless movement of the
peopleinEDSAwho,minusculeinpowerandresources,bravedthestreetsandreclaimedtheirfreedomfromthe
leash of dictatorship. The gallantry and patriotism of the masses and their nonnegotiable demand to reclaim
democracyaretheinspirationsinthedraftingofourConstitution.

The ambition of the framers of the Constitution for a state which recognizes social justice at the forefront of its
policies brought them to propose a separate article on social justice and human rights. Initially, the proposed
provisiondefinedsocialjusticeasfollows:

SOCIALJUSTICE

SECTION1.SocialJustice,asasocial,economic,political,moralimperative,shallbetheprimaryconsiderationof
the State in the pursuit of national development. To this end, Congress shall give the highest priority to the
formulation and implementation of measures designed to reduce economic and political inequalities found among
citizens,andtopromotethematerialstructuralconditionswhichpromoteandenhancehumandignity,protectthe
inalienablerightsofpersonsandsectorstohealth,welfareandsecurity,andputthematerialwealthandpowerof
thecommunityatthedisposalofthecommongood.

SECTION 2. Towards these ends, the State shall regulate the acquisition, ownership, use and disposition of
propertyanditsfruits,promotetheestablishmentofselfreliant,sociopoliticalandeconomicstructuresdetermined
bythepeoplethemselves,protectlabor,rationalizetheuseanddispositionofland,andensurethesatisfactionof
thebasicmaterialneedsofall.175(Emphasissupplied)

In her sponsorship speech, Commissioner Nieva delved into the primacy of the promotion of social justice in the
idealsthattheConstitutionwillcarry.Sheexplained:

OurCommitteehopesthatsocialjusticewillbethecenterpieceofthe1986Constitution.Therationaleforthisisthat
social justice provides the material and social infrastructure for the realization of basic human rights the
enhancementofhumandignityandeffectiveparticipationindemocraticprocesses.Rights,dignityandparticipation
remainillusorywithoutsocialjustice.

OurFebruary1986Revolutionwasnotmerelyagainstthedictatorshipnorwasitmerelyafightfortherestorationof
humanrightsrather,thispopularrevolutionwasalsoaclamorforamoreequitableshareofthenation'sresources
and power, a clamor which reverberated in the many public hearings which the Constitutional Commission
conductedthroughoutthecountry.

If our 1986 Constitution would enshrine the people's aspirations as dramatically expressed in the revolution and
ensure the stability, peace and progress of our nation, it must provide for social justice in a stronger and more
comprehensivemannerthandidthepreviousConstitutions.

xxxx

InSections1and2,theprovisionsmandatetheStatetogivesocialjusticethehighestprioritytopromoteequalityin
thesocial,economicandpoliticallifeofthenationthroughtheredistributionofourresources,wealthandpowerfor
thegreatergood.176

Furtherinthedeliberations,CommissionerBennagenremarkedontheaspectsofsocialjustice,viz:

MR.BENNAGEN:xxxx

Wedidnotfailtoincorporateaspectsofattitudinalchange,aswellasstructuralchange,andthesearefairlyevident
in the first two sections. As indicated in Section 1, we did emphasize that social justice should be a social,
economic,politicalandmoralimperative.Themoralcomponentisimportantbecausewefeelthatajusticeprovision
shouldbeonthesideofthepoor,thedisadvantaged,thesocalleddeprivedandtheoppressed.Thisisapointthat
has been raised a number of times especially by social scientists. Specifically, I would like to mention Dr. Mahar
Mangahas who, in his extensive studies on social justice, feels that the State itself has been a major source of
injusticeandthat,therefore,theStateshouldbeabletocorrectthatandmustassumeamoralstanceinrelationto
thepoor,thedeprivedandtheoppressed,amoralstancethatwefeelshouldalsopermeatethebureaucracy,the
technocracyandeventually,withthechangesinstructures,alsothewholeofourPhilippinesociety.177(Emphasis
ours)

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PursuanttotheendsdiscussedbytheframersoftheConstitution,theycameupwithArticleXIIIwhichspecifically
dealswithSocialJusticeandHumanRights.Section1,ArticleXIIIoftheConstitutioncarriesthepositivecommand
totheCongresstoupholdsocialjustice.Itreads:

Section1.TheCongressshallgivehighestprioritytotheenactmentofmeasuresthatprotectandenhancetheright
ofallthepeopletohumandignity,reducesocial,economicandpoliticalinequitiesbyequitablydiffusingwealthand
politicalpowerforthecommongood.

xxxx

OneofthemodesbywhichtheConstitutionseekstoachievesocialjusticeisthroughtheintroductionoftheparty
listsystem.Sections5(1)and(2),ArticleVIthereofprovide:

Section5.(1)TheHouseofRepresentativesshallbecomposedofnotmorethantwohundredandfiftymembers,
unlessotherwisefixedbylaw,whoshallbeelectedfromlegislativedistrictsapportionedamongtheprovinces,cities,
andtheMetropolitanManilaareainaccordancewiththenumberoftheirrespectiveinhabitants,andonthebasisof
auniformandprogressiveratio,andthosewho,asprovidedbylaw,shallbeelectedthroughapartylistsystemof
registerednational,regional,andsectoralpartiesororganizations.

(2)Thepartylistrepresentativesshallconstitutetwentypercentumofthetotalnumberofrepresentativesincluding
thoseunderthepartylist.ForthreeconsecutivetermsaftertheratificationofthisConstitution,onehalfoftheseats
allocated to partylist representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor,
peasant,urbanpoor,indigenousculturalcommunities,women,youth,andsuchothersectorsasmaybeprovided
bylaw,exceptthereligioussector.(Emphasisours)

Consideringthattheprovisionsonpartylistsystemofrepresentationarenotselfexecuting,theCongressenacted
RA 7941. The said law defined the parameters of the partylist system, the procedural guidelines and the
qualificationsofthoseintendingtoparticipateintheexercise.InenactingRA7941,thelegislaturedidnotmeanto
departfromtheimpetuswhichimpelledthemembersoftheConstitutionalCommissiontoprovideforthisschemeof
representation social justice. The underlying principle remains to be the reduction of political inequality by
equitably diffusing wealth and political power. Certainly, there could be no other intended beneficiaries for this
provisionthanthepowerlessandunderprivileged.Itcouldnothavebeenintendedforthosewhoalreadyhavethe
powerandresourceswhomaybelesserinnumberbutareincommandofthemachineryofthegovernment.

AssoferventlydeclaredinthecaseofAngBagongBayani,thepartylistsystemofisasocialjusticemechanism,
designedtodistributepoliticalpower.Inthesaidcase,theCourtheld:

Thepartylistsystemisasocialjusticetooldesignednotonlytogivemorelawtothegreatmassesofourpeople
whohavelessinlife,butalsotoenablethemtobecomeveritablelawmakersthemselves,empoweredtoparticipate
directly in the enactment of laws designed to benefit them. It intends to make the marginalized and the
underrepresented not merely passive recipients of the State's benevolence, but active participants in the
mainstreamofrepresentativedemocracy.178

Theobjectivetoholdthepartylistsystemforthebenefitofthemarginalizedandunderrepresentedisexpressedin
clearlanguageofSection2ofRA7941.Itreads:

Section 2. Declaration of policy. The State shall promote proportional representation in the election of
representatives to the House of Representatives through a partylist system of registered national, regional and
sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized
andunderrepresentedsectors,organizationsandparties,andwholackwelldefinedpoliticalconstituenciesbutwho
couldcontributetotheformulationandenactmentofappropriatelegislationthatwillbenefitthenationasawhole,to
becomemembersoftheHouseofRepresentatives.Towardsthisend,theStateshalldevelopandguaranteeafull,
free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group
interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the
legislature,andshallprovidethesimplestschemepossible.(Emphasisours)

A reading of Section 2 shows that the participation of registered national, regional and sectoral parties,
organizationsandcoalitionsinthepartylistelectionsarequalifiedbythree(3)limitingcharacteristics:(1)theymust
consistofFilipinocitizensbelongingtothemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors,organizationsorcoalitions
(2)wholackwelldefinedpoliticalconstituencies,(3)butwhocouldcontributetotheformulationandenactmentof
appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole. The term "marginalized and underrepresented"
effectivelylimitsthepartylistsystemtosectorswhichdirectlyneedsupportandrepresentation.Thelawcouldnot
havedeemedtobenefiteventhosewhoarealreadyrepresentedintheHouseofRepresentativeslestitresultstoa
widergapbetweenthepowerfulandtheunderprivileged.Inempoweringthepowerless,thelawmustnecessarilytilt
itspartialityinfavorofthemarginalizedandunderrepresentedifgenuinesocialjusticemustbeachieved.

The favor of the law towards the marginalized and underrepresented, which was first articulated by former Chief

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JusticeArtemioPanganibaninAngBagongBayani,waslateraffirmedandreiteratedbynolessthananotherformer
Chief Justice of this Court, Reynato S. Puno, in his erudite separate opinion in BANAT v. COMELEC.179 He
forcefullyarticulated:

Historyhasbornewitnesstothestruggleofthefacelessmassestofindtheirvoice,evenastheyarerelegatedto
the sidelines as genuine functional representation systemically evades them. It is by reason of this underlying
premisethatthepartylistsystemwasespousedandembeddedintheConstitution,anditiswithinthiscontextthatI
registermydissenttotheentryofmajorpoliticalpartiestothepartylistsystem.

xxxx

x x x With all due respect, I cannot join this submission. We stand on solid grounds when we interpret the
Constitutiontogiveutmostdeferencetothedemocraticsympathies,idealsandaspirationsofthepeople.Morethan
the deliberations in the Constitutional Commission, these are expressed in the text of the Constitution which the
peopleratified.Indeed,itistheintentofthesovereignpeoplethatmattersininterpretingtheConstitution.xxx

xxxx

Everybody agrees that the best way to interpret the Constitution is to harmonize the whole instrument, its every
section and clause. We should strive to make every word of the fundamental law operative and avoid rendering
somewordsidleandnugatory.TheharmonizationofArticleVI,Section5withrelatedconstitutionalprovisionswill
better reveal the intent of the people as regards the partylist system. Thus, under Section 7 of the Transitory
Provisions,thePresidentwaspermittedtofillbyappointmenttheseatsreservedforsectoralrepresentationunder
the partylist system from a list of nominees submitted by the respective sectors. This was the result of historical
precedents that saw how the elected Members of the interim Batasang Pambansa and the regular Batasang
Pambansatriedtotorpedosectoralrepresentationanddelaytheseatingofsectoralrepresentativesontheground
that they could not rise to the same levelled status of dignity as those elected by the people. To avoid this bias
againstsectoralrepresentatives,thePresidentwasgivenalltheleewayto"breaknewgroundandpreciselyplant
the seeds for sectoral representation so that the sectoral representatives will take roots and be part and parcel
exactlyoftheprocessofdraftingthelawwhichwillstipulateandprovidefortheconceptofsectoralrepresentation."
Similarly,limitingthepartylistsystemtothemarginalizedandexcludingthemajorpoliticalpartiesfromparticipating
intheelectionoftheirrepresentativesisalignedwiththeconstitutionalmandateto"reducesocial,economic,and
political inequalities, and remove cultural inequalities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the
commongood"therightofthepeopleandtheirorganizationstoeffectiveandreasonableparticipationatalllevels
ofsocial,political,andeconomicdecisionmakingtherightofwomentoopportunitiesthatwillenhancetheirwelfare
andenablethemtorealizetheirfullpotentialintheserviceofthenationtherightoflabortoparticipateinpolicyand
decisionmakingprocessesaffectingtheirrightsandbenefitsinkeepingwithitsroleasaprimarysocialeconomic
force the right of teachers to professional advancement the rights of indigenous cultural communities to the
consideration of their cultures, traditions and institutions in the formulation of national plans and policies, and the
indispensableroleoftheprivatesectorinthenationaleconomy.

xxxx

Insum,theevilsthatfacedourmarginalizedandunderrepresentedpeopleatthetimeoftheframingofthe1987
Constitution still haunt them today. It is through the partylist system that the Constitution sought to address this
systemicdilemma.InratifyingtheConstitution,ourpeoplerecognizedhowtheinterestsofourpoorandpowerless
sectoral groups can be frustrated by the traditional political parties who have the machinery and chicanery to
dominate our political institutions. If we allow major political parties to participate in the partylist system electoral
process,wewillsurelysuffocatethevoiceofthemarginalized,frustratetheirsovereigntyandbetraythedemocratic
spiritoftheConstitution.Thatopinionwillserveasthegraveyardofthepartylistsystem.

The intent of the Constitution to keep the partylist system exclusive to the marginalized and underrepresented
sectorsisthencrystalclear.Toholdotherwiseistofrustratethespiritofthelawandthesacredintentiontohold
inviolablethesafeguardsofsocialjusticeembeddedintheConstitution.

Inthesameline,RA7941mustnotbeinterpretedasmerelyamodeforelectoralreform.Itcouldnothavebeenthat
too simplistic. Far from being merely an electoral reform, the partylist system is one concrete expression of the
primacyofsocialjusticeintheConstitution.ItiswelltorememberthatRA7941wasonlyimplementingthespecific
mandateoftheConstitutioninSection5,ArticleVI.Itshouldnotbedisengagedfromthepurposeofitsenactment.
Thepurposeofthementionedprovisionwasnotsimplytoreformtheelectoralsystembuttoinitiatetheequitable
distributionofpoliticalpower.Itaimstoempowerthelargerportionofthepopulacewhosulkinpovertyandinjustice
bygivingthemachancetoparticipateinlegislationandadvancetheircauses.

TheparametersunderRA7941werealsofurtherelaboratedbytheCourtinAngBagongBayani,whichoutlinedthe
eightpoint guidelines for screening partylist participants. Succinctly, the guidelines pertain to the qualifications of
the(1)sector,(2)partylistgroup,organizationorcoalition,and(3)nominee.Thesekeyconsiderationsdetermine
theeligibilityofthepartylistgroup,organizationorcoalitiontoparticipateinthepartylistsystemofrepresentation.

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Thus,forpurposesofregistrationandcontinuingcompliance,three(3)basicquestionsmustbeaddressed:

(1)Isthesectorsoughttoberepresentedmarginalizedandunderrepresented?

(2)Istheparty,organizationorcoalitionqualifiedtorepresentthemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsector?

(3) Are the nominees qualified to represent the marginalized and underrepresented party, organization or
coalition?

In seriatim, I shall expound on what I deem should be the key considerations for qualifying as a partylist group,
organizationorcoalition.

Thesectormustbemarginalizedandunderrepresented.

Section2ofRA7941underscoredthepolicyoftheStateinenactingthelaw.Tersely,thestateaimstopromote
proportionalrepresentationbymeansofaFilipinostylepartylistsystem,whichwillenabletheelectiontotheHouse
ofRepresentativesofFilipinocitizens,

1)whobelongtothemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors,organizationsandpartiesand

2)wholackwelldefinedconstituenciesbut

3)whocouldcontributetotheformulationandenactmentofappropriatelegislationthatwillbenefitthenationasa
whole.180

RA7941givesemphasisontherequirementthattheparty,organizationorcoalitionmustrepresentamarginalized
andunderrepresentedsector.Amarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectorisagroupofindividualswho,byreason
ofstatusorcondition,aredrawntowardsthebottomofthesocialstrata.Remotefromthecoreofinstitutionalpower,
their necessities are often neglected and relegated to the least of the governments priorities. They endure
inadequacies in provisions and social services and are oftentimes victims of economic, social and political
inequalities.

Section 5 of RA 7941 enumerates the sectors that are subsumed under the term "marginalized and
underrepresented"andmayregisterasapartylistgroup,organizationorcoalition.Itstates:

SEC.5.Registration.Anyorganizedgroupofpersonsmayregisterasaparty,organizationorcoalitionforpurposes
of the partylist system by filing with the COMELEC not later than ninety (90) days before the election a petition
verifiedbyitspresidentorsecretarystatingitsdesiretoparticipateinthepartylistsystemasanational,regionalor
sectoral party or organization or a coalition of such parties or organizations, attaching thereto its constitution,
bylaws,platformorprogramofgovernment,listofofficers,coalitionagreementandotherrelevantinformationasthe
COMELECmayrequire:Provided,Thatthesectorsshallincludelaborpeasant,fisherfolk,urbanpoor,indigenous
cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals.
(Emphasisours)

Based on the provision, there are at least twelve (12) sectors that are considered marginalized and
underrepresented: labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped,
women,youth,veterans,overseasworkers,andprofessionals.Theenumerationis,however,notexclusive.During
thedraftingofourConstitution,themembersoftheCommissionexpressedreluctancetoprovideanenumerationof
themarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectorsbecauseoftheirapprehensionthatthelongertheenumeration,the
more limiting the law becomes.181 Instead of an enumeration, then Commissioner Jaime Tadeo suggested the
criteriabywhichthedeterminationofwhichsectorsaremarginalizedcanbebased,viz:

1.Thenumberofpeoplebelongingtothesector

2. The extent of marginalization, exploitation and deprivation of social and economic rights suffered by the
sector

3.Theabsenceofrepresentationinthegovernment,particularlyinthelegislature,throughtheyears

4. The sectors decisive role in production and in bringing about the basic social services needed by the
people.182

TheConstitutionalCommissionsawitfittoprovideasetofstandardswhichwillapproximatethesectorsthatthe
Constitutionregardsasmarginalizedandunderrepresentedandevadedadefiniteenumeration.Thereasonisthata
specific enumeration is antithetical to the purpose of the partylist system. The partylist system of representation
endeavorstoempowertheunderprivilegedsectors,taptheirinnatepotentialsandhonethemtobecomeproductive
and selfsustaining segments of the society. Sooner, they are expected to graduate from their status as

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marginalized and underrepresented. During the process, some formerly selfsufficient sectors may drift to the
bottom and regress to become the new marginalized sectors. The resilience in the enumeration of the sectors
accommodatesthiseventuality.

QualificationsofthePartyList

Group,OrganizationorCoalition

Amongtheeight(8)pointsmentionedintheguidelinesforscreeningpartylistparticipantsinAngBagongBayani,
five(5)pertaintothequalificationsofthepartylistgroup,organizationorcoalition.Thefirstpointintheenumeration
reads:

First, the political party, sector, organization or coalition must represent the marginalized and underrepresented
groups identified in Section 5 of RA 7941. In other words, it must show through its constitution, articles of
incorporation, by laws, history, platform of government and track record that it represents and seeks to uplift
marginalized and underrepresented sectors. Verily, majority of its membership should belong to the marginalized
andunderrepresented.Anditmustdemonstratethatinaconflictofinterests,ithaschosenorislikelytochoosethe
interestofsuchsectors.183

Certainly,ittakesmorethanamereclaimordesiretorepresentthemarginalizedandunderrepresentedtoqualify
asapartylistgroup.Theremustbeproof,credibleandconvincing,todemonstratethegroupsadvocacytoalleviate
theconditionofthesector.

Therigidrequirementforthepresentationofevidenceshowingthepartysrelationtothecausesofthesectorgoes
totheuniquenessofthepartylistsystemofrepresentation.Inthepartylistsystemofrepresentation,thecandidates
areparties,organizationsandcoalitionsandnotindividuals.Andwhileanindividualcandidateseekstorepresenta
district or particular constituency, a partylist group vying for seats in the House of Representatives must aim to
represent a sector. It is thus important to ascertain that the partylist group, organization or coalition reflects the
ideals of the sector in its constitution and bylaws. It must have an outline of concrete measures it wishes to
undertakeinitsplatformofgovernment.Moreover,itstrackrecordmustspeakofitsfirmadvocacytowardsuplifting
themarginalizedandunderrepresentedbyundertakingactivitiesorprojectsdirectlyaddressingtheconcernsofthe
sector.

It is likewise imperative for the partylist group to show that it effectively represents the marginalized and
underrepresented.Whileapartylistgroupisallowedtorepresentvarioussectors,itmustprove,however,thatitis
abletoaddressthemultifariousinterestsandconcernsofallthesectorsitrepresents.Thatamultisectoralpartylist
group undertakes projects and activities that only address the interests of some of the sectors, neglecting the
concerns of the other marginalized and underrepresented sectors it supposedly represents, is nugatory to the
objectiveofgivingameaningfulandeffectiverepresentationtothemarginalizedandunderrepresented.

Equallyimportantisthatthemajorityofthemembershipofthepartylistgroup,organizationorcoalitionbelongto
the marginalized and underrepresented sector. This means that a majority of the members of the sector must
actually possess the attribute which makes the sector marginalized. This is so because the primary reason why
partylistgroupsareevenallowedtoparticipateintheelectionsofthemembersoftheHouseofRepresentatives,
whoarenormallyelectedbydistrict,istogiveacollectivevoicetothemembersofthesectorswhoareoftentimes
unheardorneglected.Thisintentionisputtonaughtifatleastthemajorityofthemembersofthepartylistdonot
belong to the same class or sector. Thus, it is incumbent upon the partylist applicant to present all the evidence
necessary to establish this fact. Without a convincing proof of legitimate membership of a majority of the
marginalized, the COMELEC has no reason to believe otherwise and may thus deny a petition for registration or
cancelanexistingregistration.

The second guideline in Ang Bagong Bayani underscores the policy of the state to hold the partylist system of
representationexclusivetothemarginalizedandunderrepresented,adistinguishingfeaturewhichsetsoursystem
apartfromsystemsofpartylistrepresentationinotherjurisdictions.Theguidelinestates:

Second,whileevenmajorpoliticalpartiesareexpresslyallowedbyRA7941andtheConstitutiontoparticipatein
thepartylistsystem,theymustcomplywiththedeclaredstatutorypolicyofenabling"Filipinocitizensbelongingto
marginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors...tobeelectedtotheHouseofRepresentatives."xxx184

ThesecondguidelinewasanoffshootofthedeclarationofpolicyinRA7941.Specifically,Section2ofthestatute
emphasized the states policy of promoting proportional representation in the election of representatives to the
House of Representatives through a partylist system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or
organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to the marginalized and
underrepresentedsectors,organizationsandparties,xxxtobecomemembersoftheHouseofRepresentatives.As
itisexclusivelyforthemarginalizedandunderrepresented,itisaninflexiblerequirementthatthegroupapplyingfor
registrationmustrepresentasector.TherationalebehindthisqualificationwashighlightedinAngBagongBayani,
thus:
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It is ironic, therefore, that the marginalized and underrepresented in our midst are the majority who wallow in
poverty, destitution and infirmity. It was for them that the partylist system was enacted to give them not only
genuinehope,butgenuinepowertogivethemtheopportunitytobeelectedandtorepresentthespecificconcerns
oftheirconstituenciesandsimplytogivethemadirectvoiceinCongressandinthelargeraffairsoftheState.Inits
noblestsense,thepartylistsystemtrulyempowersthemassesandushersanewhopeforgenuinechange.Verily,
it invites those marginalized and underrepresented in the past the farm hands, the fisher folk, the urban poor,
eventhoseintheundergroundmovementtocomeoutandparticipate,asindeedmanyofthemcameoutand
participated during the last elections. The State cannot now disappoint and frustrate them by disabling and
desecratingthissocialjusticevehicle.185

RA 7941 also provides that a party desiring to register and participate in the partylist elections must represent a
marginalizedandunderrepresentedsector.Whilethelawdidnotrestrictthesectorsthatmaybesubsumedunder
the term "marginalized and underrepresented", it must be construed in relation to the sectors enumerated in RA
7941, the enabling law of Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, to wit: labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor,
indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and
professionals. Based on the foregoing, a mere association of individuals espousing shared "beliefs" and
"advocacies"cannotqualifyasamarginalizedandunderrepresentedsector.

The term "marginalized and underrepresented" is descriptive of the sector that may join the partylist elections. A
sectorpertainstoa"sociological,economicorpoliticalsubdivisionofthesociety"186 which consists of individuals
identified by the activity, status or condition, or attribute that specifically pertains to them. It is identified by a
commoncharacteristicpertainingtotheindividualscomposingthesame.

Ontheotherhand,anassociationofindividualsespousingacommonbelieforadvocacyisaptlycalledagroup,not
a sector. Specifically, advocacy groups consist of individuals engaged in the "act of pleading for, supporting, or
recommendingactiveespousal"187ofacause.Contrarytoasectorwhichisidentifiedbyacommoncharacteristic
of the members, advocacy groups are identified by the causes that they promote. The members coalesced to
pursuecausesorfulfilpatrioticendsthatdonotspecificallypertaintothem,buteventothosewhoarenotpartof
theircircle.

Certainly,ittakesfarmorethanbeliefsandadvocaciesbeforeagroupofindividualscanconstituteasector.There
areunderlyingsociologicalandeconomicconsiderationsintheenumerationofthesectorsintheConstitutionand
RA 7941. These considerations must be strictly observed lest we deviate from the objectives of RA 7941 of
providing a meaningful and effective representation to the marginalized and underrepresented. To relegate the
contemplation of the law of what is a "marginalized and underrepresented sector" to a mere association of
individuals espousing a shared belief or advocacy, is to disregard the essence of the partylist system of
representationandtheintentofthelawtoholdthesystemexclusiveforthemarginalizedandunderrepresented.

Consistentwiththepurposeofthelaw,politicalpartiesmayapplyforregistrationand/oraccreditationasapartylist
provided that they are organized along sectoral lines.188 This pronouncement in Ang Bagong Bayani was
expoundedinBANATbyreferringtotheexchangebetweenthemembersoftheConstitutionalCommission,thus:

MR.MONSOD.MadamPresident,Ijustwanttosaythatwesuggestedorproposedthepartylistsystembecause
we wanted to open up the political system to a pluralistic society through a multiparty system. x x x We are for
openingupthesystem,andwewouldlikeverymuchforthesectorstobethere.Thatiswhyoneofthewaystodo
that is to put a ceiling on the number of representatives from any single party that can sit within the 50 allocated
underthepartylistsystem.xxx.

xxx

MR.MONSOD.MadamPresident,thecandidacyforthe198seatsisnotlimitedtopoliticalparties.Myquestionis
this:ArewegoingtoclassifyforexampleChristianDemocratsandSocialDemocratsaspoliticalparties?Canthey
rununderthepartylistconceptormusttheybeunderthedistrictlegislationsideofitonly?

MR. VILLACORTA. In reply to that query, I think these parties that the Commissioner mentioned can field
candidates for the Senate as well as for the House of Representatives. Likewise, they can also field sectoral
candidates for the 20 percent or 30 percent, whichever is adopted, of the seats that we are allocating under the
partylistsystem.

MR.MONSOD.Inotherwords,theChristianDemocratscanfielddistrictcandidatesandcanalsoparticipateinthe
partylistsystem?

MR.VILLACORTA.Whynot?Whentheycometothepartylistsystem,theywillbefieldingonlysectoralcandidates.

MR.MONSOD.MayIbeclarifiedonthat?CanUNIDOparticipateinthepartylistsystem?

MR.VILLACORTA.Yes,whynot?Foraslongastheyfieldcandidateswhocomefromthedifferentmarginalized
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sectorsthatweshalldesignateinthisConstitution.

MR. MONSOD. Suppose Senator Taada wants to run under BAYAN group and says that he represents the
farmers,wouldhequalify?

MR.VILLACORTA.No,SenatorTaadawouldnotqualify.

MR. MONSOD. But UNIDO can field candidates under the party list system and say Juan dela Cruz is a farmer.
Whowouldpassonwhetherheisafarmerornot?

MR.TADEO.KayCommissionerMonsod,gustokolamanglinawinito.Politicalparties,particularlyminoritypolitical
parties,arenotprohibitedtoparticipateinthepartylistelectioniftheycanprovethattheyarealsoorganizedalong
sectorallines.

MR.MONSOD.WhattheCommissionerissayingisthatallpoliticalpartiescanparticipatebecauseitisprecisely
thecontentionofpoliticalpartiesthattheyrepresentthebroadbaseofcitizensandthatallsectorsarerepresented
inthem.WouldtheCommissioneragree?

MR.TADEO.Angpuntolamangnamin,pagpinayaganmoangUNIDOnaisangpoliticalparty,itwilldominatethe
partylistatmawawalangsaysaydinyungsector.Lalamuninmismongpoliticalpartiesangpartylistsystem.Gusto
kolamangbigyanngdiinang"reserve."Hindiitoreserveseatsamarginalizedsectors.Kungtitingnannatinitong
198seats,reserveddinitosapoliticalparties.

MR.MONSOD.Hindiporeservediyonkasianybodycanrunthere.ButmyquestiontoCommissionerVillacortaand
probablyalsotoCommissionerTadeoisthatunderthissystem,wouldUNIDObebannedfromrunningunderthe
partylistsystem?

MR. VILLACORTA. No, as I said, UNIDO may field sectoral candidates. On that condition alone, UNIDO may be
allowedtoregisterforthepartylistsystem.

MR.MONSOD.MayIinquirefromCommissionerTadeoifhesharesthatanswer?

MR.TADEO.Thesame.

MR.VILLACORTA.PuwedepoangUNIDO,perosasectorallines.189(Emphasissupplied)

InhiseruditeseparateopinioninBANAT,formerChiefJusticeReynatoS.Punoexpressedhisapprovalofkeeping
the partylist system of representation exclusive to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors. To further
safeguardthesanctityofthepurposeofthelaw,heconveyedhisvehementobjectiontotheparticipationofmajor
political parties in the partylist system of representation because of the likelihood that they will easily trump the
organizationsofthemarginalized.Heopined:

Similarly,limitingthepartylistsystemtothemarginalizedandexcludingthemajorpoliticalpartiesfromparticipating
intheelectionoftheirrepresentativesisalignedwiththeconstitutionalmandateto"reducesocial,economic,and
political inequalities, and remove cultural inequalities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the
commongood"therightofthepeopleandtheirorganizationstoeffectiveandreasonableparticipationatalllevels
ofsocial,political,andeconomicdecisionmakingtherightofwomentoopportunitiesthatwillenhancetheirwelfare
andenablethemtorealizetheirfullpotentialintheserviceofthenationtherightoflabortoparticipateinpolicyand
decisionmakingprocessesaffectingtheirrightsandbenefitsinkeepingwithitsroleasaprimarysocialeconomic
force the right of teachers to professional advancement the rights of indigenous cultural communities to the
consideration of their cultures, traditions and institutions in the formulation of national plans and policies, and the
indispensableroleoftheprivatesectorinthenationaleconomy.

xxxx

Thereisnogainsayingthefactthatthepartylistpartiesarenomatchtoourtraditionalpoliticalpartiesinthepolitical
arena.Thisisborneoutinthepartylistelectionsheldin2001wheremajorpoliticalpartieswereinitiallyallowedto
campaignandbevotedfor.TheresultsconfirmedthefearexpressedbysomecommissionersintheConstitutional
Commissionthatmajorpoliticalpartieswouldfigureinthedisproportionatedistributionofvotes:ofthe162parties
whichparticipated,thesevenmajorpoliticalpartiesmadeittothetop50.190(Citationsomitted)

Byavoteof87,theCourtdecidedinBANATtoreverttoitsrulinginthe2000caseVeteransFederationPartyv.
Comelec191thatmajorpoliticalpartiesarebarredfromparticipatinginthepartylistelections,directlyorindirectly.

ConsistentwithourpronouncementinBANAT,Imaintainthatmajorpoliticalpartieshaveadvantagesoverminority
political parties and sectoral parties in the partylist elections. By their broad constituency and full resources, it is
easierforthesemajorpoliticalpartiestoobtaintherequiredpercentageofvotesforpartylistseats,acircumstance

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which,inturn,onlyweakenstheminoritypartieschancetobeelected.

I,however,agreewiththeviewofthemajoritythatitisunjustifiedtoabsolutelydisqualifyfromthepartylistsystem
themajorpoliticalpartiessolelybyreasonoftheirclassificationassuch.Nonetheless,theprivilegetobeaccorded
tothemshallnotbewithoutreasonablerestrictions.Politicalpartiesshallonlybeallowedtoparticipateintheparty
list system if they do not field candidates in the election of legislative district representatives. The justification
thereforisreasonable.Thepartylistsystemwasadoptedbythestatepurposelytoenablepartieswhich,bytheir
limitedresourcesandcitizensbaseperdistrict,finddifficultyinplacingrepresentativesinCongress.Majorpolitical
partiesthatfieldcandidatesfordistrictrepresentativescandosowithease,giventhattheysatisfythestandardsset
byRepublicActNo.7166,asamendedbyRepublicActNo.9369,fortheirclassification,towit:(a)theestablished
recordofthesaidparties,coalitionofgroupsthatnowcomposethem,takingintoaccount,amongotherthings,their
showinginpastelections(b)thenumberofincumbentelectiveofficialsbelongingtothemninety(90)daysbefore
theelection(c)theiridentifiablepoliticalorganizationsandstrengthsasevidencedbytheirorganizedchapters(d)
theabilitytofillacompleteslateofcandidatesfromthemunicipalleveltothepositionofthePresidentand(e)other
analogouscircumstancesthatmaydeterminetheirrelativeorganizationsandstrengths.AstheCourtexplainedin
AngBagongBayani:

Thepurposeofthepartylistprovisionistoopenupthesystem,inordertoenhancechanceofsectoralgroupsand
organizationstogainrepresentationintheHouseofRepresentativesthroughthesimplestschemepossible.Logic
showsthatthesystemhasbeenopenedtothosewhohavenevergottenafootholdwithinitthosewhocannot
otherwisewininregularelectionsandwhothereforeneedthe"simplestschemepossible"todoso.Conversely,it
wouldbeillogicaltoopenthesystemtothosewhohavelongbeenwithinitthoseprivilegedsectorsthathavelong
dominatedthecongressionaldistrictelections.

The import of the open partylist system may be more vividly understood when compared to a student dormitory
"open house," which by its nature allows outsiders to enter the facilities. Obviously, the "open house" is for the
benefit of outsiders only, not the dormers themselves who can enter the dormitory even without such special
privilege. In the same vein, the open partylist system is only for the "outsiders" who cannot get elected through
regular elections otherwise it is not for the nonmarginalized or overrepresented who already fill the ranks of
Congress.192

The contemplated limitation against the major political parties who wish to participate may then allay the fear
contemplatedbythejustificationgiveninBANATforthedisqualification.

Nonetheless,aguidingprincipleremainsthesame:thepartylistsystemmustbeheldexclusiveforthemarginalized
andunderrepresented.Regardlessofthestructureororganizationofthegroup,itisimperativethatitrepresentsa
marginalizedandunderrepresentedsector.Thus,itismysubmissionthatpoliticalpartieswhichseektoparticipate
inthepartylistsystemmustobservetworules:(1)theymustbeorganizedalongsectorallinesand(2)theymust
notfieldincandidatesfordistrictrepresentatives.

The importance of the requirement for representation of marginalized and underrepresented sector cannot be
overemphasized. The very essence of the partylist system of representation is to give representation to the
voicelesssectorsofthesociety.Itisthecharacteristicwhichdistinguishespartylistrepresentativesfromtheregular
districtrepresentativesinCongress.

Thatapartylistgroupmustrepresentamarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectoristheonlyhurdlewhichkeeps
allotherorganizationsfromjoiningthepartylistelections.Ifthislonefilterwehaveagainstflybynightorganizations
willbejunked,thentheCOMELECwillbeflockedwithpetitionsforregistrationfromorganizationscreatedtopursue
selfishendsandnottothebenefitofthevoicelessandneglectedsectorsofthesociety.

Themovetoopenthepartylistsystemfreeforallwillcreateadangerousprecedentasitwillopenthedoorseven
to illegitimate organizations. Organizations aspiring to join the partylist election can simply skirt the law and
organizethemselvesasapoliticalpartytotakeadvantageofthemoreleniententrance.Theorganizationneedonly
toregisterasapoliticalpartytodispensewiththestringentrequirementofrepresentingasector.Itwillautomatically
beoffthehookfromthedangerofbeingdisqualifiedonthegroundthatitisnotrepresentingamarginalizedand
underrepresented sector. Other organizations, even those organized as sectoral parties, may follow through and
mayevendisrobethemselvesassectoralpartiesandopttobecomepoliticalpartiesinsteadbecauseitistheeasier
way to be allowed participation in the partylist elections. Thus, once again, the causes of the marginalized and
underrepresentedarelaggedbehind.

Thesecondrequirementforpoliticalpartiesisthattheymustnotfieldincandidatesfordistrictrepresentatives.The
reason is that the partylist system is solely for the marginalized and underrepresented. Certainly, political parties
whichareabletofieldincandidatesfortheregularseatsintheHouseofRepresentativescannotbeclassifiedas
such.

ThethirdguidelineinAngBagongBayaniexpressestheproscriptionagainsttheregistrationofreligiousgroupsas
partylistgroups.Theideaisthatthegovernmentactsforsecularpurposesandinwaysthathaveprimarilysecular

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effects.193 Despite the prohibition, members of a religious group may be nominated as representative of a
marginalizedandunderrepresentedsector.Theprohibitionisdirectedonlyagainstreligioussectorsregisteringasa
politicalparty194becausethegovernmentcannothaveapartnerinlegislationwhomaybedrivenbythedictatesof
faithwhichmaynotbecapableofrationalevaluation.

The fourth and fifth guidelines in Ang Bagong Bayani pertain to disqualifying circumstances which can justify the
denialofthepetitionforregistrationofparty,organizationorcoalition,thus:

Fourth, a party or an organization must not be disqualified under Section 6 of RA 7941, which enumerates the
groundsfordisqualificationasfollows:

"(1)Itisareligioussectordenomination,organizationorassociationorganizedforreligiouspurposes

(2)Itadvocatesviolenceorunlawfulmeanstoseekitsgoal

(3)Itisaforeignpartyororganization

(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation, organization,
whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan
electionpurposes

(5)Itviolatesorfailstocomplywithlaws,rulesorregulationsrelatingtoelections

(6)Itdeclaresuntruthfulstatementsinitspetition

(7)Ithasceasedtoexistforatleastone(1)yearor

(8)Itfailstoparticipateinthelasttwo(2)precedingelectionsorfailstoobtainatleasttwopercentum(2%)of
thevotescastunderthepartylistsysteminthetwo(2)precedingelectionsfortheconstituencyinwhichit
hasregistered."

xxxx

Fifth,thepartyororganizationmustnotbeanadjunctof,oraprojectorganizedoranentityfundedorassistedby,
thegovernment.Bytheverynatureofthepartylistsystem,thepartyororganizationmustbeagroupofcitizens,
organizedbycitizensandoperatedbycitizens.xxx195

Tobeeligibleforregistration,theparty,organizationorcoalitionmustprovethatitpossessesallthequalifications
andnoneofthedisqualificationsstatedinthelaw.ThegroundsfordisqualificationstatedinSection6ofRA7941
pertaintoacts,statusorconditionswhichrendertheapplicantgroupanunsuitablepartnerofthestateinalleviating
the conditions of the marginalized and underrepresented. These disqualifying circumstances are drawn to further
implementthestatepolicyofpreservingthepartylistsystemexclusivelyfortheintendedbeneficiariesofRA7941.

On the other hand, the disqualification mentioned in the fifth guideline connotes that the partylist group must
maintain its independence from the government so that it may be able to pursue its causes without undue
interference or any other extraneous considerations. Verily, the group is expected to organize and operate on its
own.Itmustderiveitslifefromitsownresourcesandmustnotoweanypartofitscreationtothegovernmentorany
ofitsinstrumentalities.Bymaintainingitsindependence,thegroupcreatesashieldthatnoinfluenceorsemblance
ofinfluencecanpenetrateandobstructthegroupfromachievingitspurposes.Intheend,thepartylistgroupisable
to effectively represent the causes of the marginalized and underrepresented, particularly in the formulation of
legislationintendedforthebenefitofthesectors.

QualificationsoftheNominees

Thesixth,seventhandeighthguidelinesinAngBagongBayanibearonthequalificationsofthenominees,viz:

Sixth,thepartymustnotonlycomplywiththerequirementsofthelawitsnomineesmustlikewisedoso.Section9
ofRA7941readsasfollows:

SEC.9.QualificationsofPartyListNominees.Nopersonshallbenominatedaspartylistrepresentativeunless
heisanaturalborncitizenofthePhilippines,aregisteredvoter,aresidentofthePhilippinesforaperiodofnotless
thanone(1)yearimmediatelyprecedingthedayoftheelection,abletoreadandwrite,abonafidememberofthe
partyororganizationwhichheseekstorepresentforatleastninety(90)daysprecedingthedayoftheelection,and
isatleasttwentyfive(25)yearsofageonthedayoftheelection.

Incaseofanomineeoftheyouthsector,hemustatleastbetwentyfive(25)butnotmorethanthirty(30)yearsof
ageonthedayoftheelection.Anyyouthsectoralrepresentativewhoattainstheageofthirty(30)duringhisterm

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shallbeallowedtocontinueinofficeuntiltheexpirationofhisterm."

Seventh,notonlythecandidatepartyororganizationmustrepresentmarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors
so also must its nominees. To repeat, under Section 2 of RA 7941, the nominees must be Filipino citizens "who
belongtomarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors,organizationsandparties."Surely,theinterestsoftheyouth
cannotbefullyrepresentedbyaretireeneithercanthoseoftheurbanpoorortheworkingclass,byanindustrialist.
To allow otherwise is to betray the State policy to give genuine representation to the marginalized and
underrepresented.

Eighth, as previously discussed, while lacking a welldefined political constituency, the nominee must likewise be
abletocontributetotheformulationandenactmentofappropriatelegislationthatwillbenefitthenationasawhole.x
xx196

Except for a few, the basic qualifications of the nominee are practically the same as those required of individual
candidates for election to the House of Representatives. He must be: (a) a naturalborn citizen (b) a registered
voter(c)aresidentofthePhilippinesforaperiodofnotlessthanone(1)yearimmediatelyprecedingthedayofthe
election(d)abletoreadandwrite(e)bonafidememberofthepartyororganizationwhichheseekstorepresent
for at least ninety (90) days before the day of election (f) at least twenty five (25) years of age on the day of
election(g)incaseofanomineefortheyouthsector,hemustatleastbetwentyfive(25)butnotmorethanthirty
(30)yearsofageonthedayofelection.Owingtothepeculiarityofthepartylistsystemofrepresentation,itisnot
requiredthatthenomineebearesidentoraregisteredvoterofaparticulardistrictsinceitisthepartylistgroupthat
isvotedforandnottheappointednominees.Hemust,however,beabonafidememberofthepartylistgroupat
leastninety(90)daysbeforetheelections.

Thenomineemustbeabonafidememberofthemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsector

Insomeofthepetitions,theCOMELECdeniedregistrationtotheparty,organizationorcoalitiononthegroundthat
thenomineedoesnotbelongtothesectorhewishestorepresent.Thequandarystemsfromtheinterpretationof
whoareconsideredasone"belongingtothemarginalizedandunderrepresented."TheCOMELECsupposedthat
beforeapersonmaybeconsideredasone"belongingtothemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsector,"hemust
actually share with the rest of the membership that common characteristic or attribute which makes the sector
marginalizedandunderrepresented.

Theconstructionseemedlogicalbuttobeconsistentwiththeletterofthelaw,itmustbeharmonizedwithSection9
ofRA7941,thespecificprovisiondealingwiththequalificationsofthenominee.Inthementionedprovision,aside
fromthequalificationssimilarlyrequiredofcandidatesseekingtorepresenttheirrespectivedistricts,thenomineeis
requiredtobeabonafidememberoftheparty,astatusheacquireswhenheentersintothemembershipofthe
organizationforatleastninety(90)daysbeforetheelection.Fromthepointintimewhenthepersonacquiresthe
statusofbeingabonafidemember,hebecomesone"belongingtothemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsector."

Itismyviewthattheforegoinginterpretationaccommodatestwo(2)typesofnominees:

1. One who actually shares the attribute or characteristic which makes the sector marginalized or
underrepresented(thefirsttype)

2. An advocate or one who is genuinely and actively promoting the causes of the sector he wishes to
represent(thesecondtype).

Thefirsttypeofnomineeisonewhosharesacommonphysicalattributeorstatuswiththerestofthemembership.
That he possesses this common characteristic of marginalization is what entitles him to nomination as
representativeofthegroup.Thisisbecauseofthereasonablepresumptionthatthosewhohaveexperiencedthe
inadequaciesinthesectoraretheoneswhocantrulyrepresentthesame.However,thereareinstanceswhenthis
strict construction becomes impracticable, if not altogether impossible. For instance, a representation from the
organizationofskilledworkersworkingabroadisdifficulttocomplywithwithoutthenomineebeingexcludedfrom
theliteraldefinitionofwhobelongstothesector.Thestrictinterpretationalsodiscouragesgrowth,asinthenominee
fromtheurbansector,sincethemomentherisesfromhisstatusassuch,hebecomesdisqualifiedtorepresentthe
party.

The second type of nominee addresses the gap. An advocate or one who is publicly known to be pursuing the
causesofthesectorisequallycapableoffulfillingtheobjectiveofprovidingagenuineandeffectiverepresentation
for the marginalized and underrepresented. He is one who, notwithstanding social status, has always shown
genuine concern for those who have less in life. Unlike the first type of nominee who shares a common
characteristicwiththemembersofthegroup,theadvocateshareswiththemacommonaspirationandleadsthem
towardsachievingthatend.Heservesasacatalystthatstirsmovementsothatthemembersofthesectormaybe
encouraged to pursue their welfare. And though not bound with the group by something physical, he is one with
theminspiritandheart.Heisknownforhisgenuinecommitmentandselflessdedicationtothecausesofthesector
andhistrackrecordboldlyspeaksofhisadvocacy.

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At the outset, it may seem that the foregoing ratiocination translates to a more lenient entry for those aspiring to
becomeanominee.However,thestandardofscrutinyshouldnotchangeandnomineesshallstillbesubjecttothe
evaluation by the COMELEC of their qualifications. They bear the burden of proof to establish by concrete and
credible evidence that they are truly representative of the causes of the sector. They must present proof of the
historyoftheiradvocacyandtheactivitiestheyundertookforthepromotionofthewelfareofthesector.Theymust
beabletodemonstrate,throughtheirtrackrecord,theirvigorousinvolvementtothecausesofthesector.

Thelawputsaheavyburdenonthenomineetoprovehisadvocacythroughhistrackrecord.Tobeclear,thetrack
recordisnotamererecitalofhisvisionsfortheorganizationandthetrivialactivitiesheconductedundertheguise
of promoting the causes of the sector. He must actually and actively be espousing the interests of the sector by
undertakingactivitiesdirectlyaddressingitsconcerns.

InLokin,Jr.v.COMELEC,197theCourtenumeratedthelistofevidencewhichthepartylistgroupanditsnominees
maypresenttoestablishtheirqualifications,towit:

ThepartylistgroupandthenomineesmustsubmitdocumentaryevidenceinconsonancewiththeConstitution,R.A.
7941 and other laws to duly prove that the nominees truly belong to the marginalized and underrepresented
sector/s,thesectoralparty,organization,politicalpartyorcoalitiontheyseektorepresent,whichmayincludebut
notlimitedtothefollowing:

a. Track record of the partylist group/organization showing active participation of the nominee/s in the
undertakings of the partylist group/organization for the advancement of the marginalized and
underrepresentedsector/s,thesectoralparty,organization,politicalpartyorcoalitiontheyseektorepresent

b. Proofs that the nominee/s truly adheres to the advocacies of the partylist group/organizations (prior
declarations,speeches,writtenarticles,andsuchotherpositiveactionsonthepartofthenominee/sshowing
his/heradherencetotheadvocaciesofthepartylistgroup/organizations)

c.Certificationthatthenominee/sis/areabonafidememberofthepartylistgroup/organizationforatleast
ninety(90)dayspriortotheelectionand

d.Incaseofapartylistgroup/organizationseekingrepresentationofthemarginalizedandunderrepresented
sector/s,proofthatthenominee/sisnotonlyanadvocateofthepartylist/organizationbutis/arealsoabona
fidemember/sofsaidmarginalizedandunderrepresentedsector.198

Regardless of whether the nominee falls under the first or second type, proof of his track record is required. The
requirement is even more stringent for the second type of nominee as he must convincingly show, through past
activities and undertakings, his sincere regard for the causes of the sector. The history of his advocacy and the
reputationheearnedforthesamewillbeconsideredinthedeterminationofhisqualification.

Admittedly, the foregoing clarification partakes of a new guideline which the COMELEC failed to take into
considerationwhenitconductedautomaticreviewofthepetitionsforregistrationandsummaryevidentiaryhearings
pursuanttoResolutionNo.9513.

Disqualificationofthenomineeanditseffects

Inanumberofresolutions,theCOMELECdisqualifiedsomepartylistgroupsonthegroundthatoneorsomeofits
nomineesaredisqualified.Apparently,theCOMELECisoftheimpressionthatthegroup,uponfilingtheirpetition
forregistration,mustsubmitnamesofatleastfive(5)nomineeswhomustallbequalified.Intheinstanceswhen
some of the nominees were found to be suffering from any disqualification, the COMELEC deemed the party to
havecommittedaviolationofelectionlaws,rulesandregulationsanddenieditspetitionforregistration.

IagreewiththemajoritythattheconstructionmadebytheCOMELECismisplaced.

ItistheCOMELECssuppositionthatwhenthepartylistgroupincludedadisqualifiednomineeinthelistofnames
submitted to the COMELEC, it is deemed to have committed the violation stated in Section 6 (5)199 of RA 7941.
This feeble deduction, however, is not within the contemplation of the law. The mentioned provision does not
suggestthatallkindsofviolationscanbesubsumedunderSection6(5)andjustifythedisqualificationofthegroup.
Towarrantsuchaseriouspenalty,theviolationmustbedemonstrativeofgrossandwillfuldisregardofthelawsor
publicpolicy.ItmustbetakentorefertoelectionoffensesenumeratedunderSections261and262,ArticleXXIIof
theOmnibusElectionCodeoranyotheractsoromissionsthatareinconsistentwiththeidealsoffairandorderly
elections. It does not intend to cover even innocuous mistakes or incomplete compliance with procedural
requirements.

Accordingly,itisamistakeonthepartoftheCOMELECtosupposethatfailuretocomplywithSection8ofRA7941
iswithinthecontemplationofSection6(5)thereof.Section8reads:

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Section8.NominationofPartyListRepresentatives.Eachregisteredparty,organizationorcoalitionshallsubmitto
the COMELEC not later than fortyfive (45) days before the election a list of names, not less than five (5), from
whichpartylistrepresentativesshallbechosenincaseitobtainstherequirednumberofvotes.

xxxx

Thelanguageofthelawisclearandunambiguousitmustbegivenitsplainandliteralmeaning.Areadingofthe
provisionwillshowthatitissimplyaproceduralrequirementrelatingtotheregistrationofgroups,organizationsand
coalitionsunderthepartylistsystemofrepresentation.Plainly,itrequirestheapplicantunderthepartylistsystem
to submit a list of nominees, not less than five, at least fortyfive (45) days before the election. The groups
compliancewiththisrequirementisdeterminativeoftheactionoftheCOMELEC.Incaseoffailuretocomply,the
COMELEC may refuse to act on the petition for registration. If the applicant, on the other hand, tendered an
incompletecompliance,asinsubmittingalistoflessthanfive(5)nominees,theCOMELECmayaskittocomplyor
simplyregardthesameasawaiver.Innowaycanthemeresubmissionofthelistbeconstruedasaguaranteeor
attestation on the part of the group that all of the nominees shall be qualified especially that the assessment of
qualificationsisadutypertainingsolelytotheCOMELEC.Inthesameway,theprovisiondidnotintendtoholdthe
group liable for violation of election laws for such a shortcoming and to mete out the same with the penalty of
disqualification.Suchanabsurdconclusioncouldnothavebeentheintentionofthelaw.

Indeed, there are instances when one or some of the nominees are disqualified to represent the group but this
shouldnotautomaticallyresulttothedisqualificationofthelatter.Toholdotherwiseistoaccordthenomineesthe
same significance which the law holds for the partylist groups of the marginalized and underrepresented. It is
worthytoemphasizethattheformationofpartylistgroupsorganizedbythemarginalizedandunderrepresentedand
theirparticipationintheprocessoflegislationistheessenceofthepartylistsystemofrepresentation.Consistent
with the purpose of the law, it is still the fact that the partylist group satisfied the qualifications of the law that is
materialtoconsider.Thatoneorsomeofitschosenagentsfailedtosatisfythequalificationsforthepositionshould
not unreasonably upset the existence of an otherwise legitimate partylist group. The disqualification of the
nomineesmustsimplyberegardedasfailuretoqualifyforanofficeorposition.Itshouldnot,inanyway,blemish
thequalificationsofthepartylistgroupitselfwithdefect.

The point is that the partylist group must thus be treated separate and distinct from its nominees such that
qualificationsofthelattermustnotbeconsideredpartandparcelofthequalificationsoftheformer.Thefeaturesof
thepartylistsystemofrepresentationarereflectiveoftheintentionofthelawtotreatthemseverally.

Tobeginwith,theelectoratevotesforthepartylistgroupororganizationitself,notfortheindividualnominees.200
Thenomineesdonotfileacertificateofcandidacynordotheylaunchapersonalcampaignforthemselves.201Itis
thepartylistgroupthatrunsascandidateanditisthenameofthegroupthatisindicatedintheballot.Thelistof
nominees submitted to the COMELEC becomes relevant only when the partylist group garners the required
percentage of votes that will entitle it to a seat in Congress. At any rate, the partylist group does not cease in
existenceevenwhenitlosestheelectoralrace.And,shoulditdecidetomakeanotherelectoralbid,itisnotrequired
tokeepitspreviouslistofnomineesandcansubmitanentirelynewsetofnames.

Further,thereareseparateprinciplesandprovisionsoflawpertainingtothequalificationsanddisqualificationsof
thepartylistgroupandthenominees.ThequalificationsofthepartylistgroupareoutlinedinAngBagongBayani
whilethegroundsfortheremoval/cancellationofregistrationareenumeratedinSection6ofRA7941.

Ontheotherhand,Section9ofthelawgovernsthequalificationsofthenominees.Astotheirdisqualification,itcan
be premised on the ground that they are not considered as one "belonging to the marginalized and
underrepresentedsector"orthattheylackoneorsomeofthequalifications.Theymayalsobedisqualifiedunder
Section 15202 and Section 8203 of RA 7941, particularly under the second paragraph thereof. Even after the
COMELECsdetermination,interestedpartiesmaystillquestionthequalificationsofthenomineesthroughapetition
tocancelordenyduecoursetothenominationorpetitionfordisqualificationunderSections1204and2,205Rule5
oftheCOMELECResolutionNo.9366,respectively.

It is worth emphasizing that the selection of nominees depends upon the choice of the members of the partylist
group. It is a matter which cannot be legislated and is solely dependent upon the will of the party.206 More often
than not, the choice of nominees is grounded on trust and confidence, not on the vague or abstract concepts of
qualifications under the law. The method or process by which the members of the partylist group choose their
nomineesisamatterinternaltothem.NosetofrulesorguidelinescanbeimposeduponthembytheCourtorthe
COMELECinselectingtheirrepresentativeslestwebechargedofunnecessarilydisruptingademocraticprocess.

Regrettably, the COMELEC did intrude in the partylist groups freedom to choose their nominees when it
disqualifiedsomeofthemonthegroundthattheirnomineesaredisqualified.WhiletheCOMELEChastheauthority
todeterminethequalificationsofthenominees,thedisqualificationofthegroupitselfduetothefailuretoqualifyof
oneorsomeofthenomineesistooharshapenalty.ThenexusbetweentheCOMELECsoutrightdisqualificationof
the group due to the disqualification of the nominees and the avowed objective of RA 7941 of encouraging the

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developmentofa"full,freeandopenpartylistsystem"isextremelyhardtodecipher.

Inotherwords,theCourtcannotcountenancetheactionoftheCOMELECindisqualifyingthepartylistgroupdueto
thedisqualificationofoneorsomeofthenominees.Thereissimplynojustifiablegroundtosupportthisaction.Itis
unthinkablehowtheCOMELECcouldhaveconceivedthethoughtthatthefateofthepartylistgroupdependson
thequalificationsofthenominees,whoaremereagentsofthegroup,especiallythattheagencybetweenthemis
stillsubjecttotheconditionthatthegroupobtainstherequiredpercentageofvotestobeentitledtoaseatinthe
HouseofRepresentatives.Untilthisconditionisrealized,whatthenomineeshaveisamereexpectancy.

It may also be helpful to mention that in Veterans Federation Party v. Commission on Elections,207 the Court
emphasized the threeseat limit rule, which holds that each qualified party, regardless of the number of votes it
actuallyobtained,isentitledonlytoamaximumofthree(3)seats.208TheruleisareiterationofSection11(b)209of
RA7941.RelatingtheprincipletoSection8,itbecomesmoreapparentthattheactionoftheCOMELECwasmade
withgraveabuseofdiscretion.ItbearsnotingthatwhileSection8requiresthesubmissionofthenamesofatleast
five (5) nominees, Section 11 states that only three (3) of them can actually occupy seats in the House of
Representativesshouldthevotestheygathersufficetomeettherequiredpercentage.Thetwo(2)othernominees
in the list are not really expecting to get a seat in Congress even when the partylist group of which they are
membersprevailedintheelections.Ifatall,theycanonlysubstituteincumbentrepresentatives,ifforanyreason,
theyvacatetheoffice.Therefore,iftherighttoofficeofthree(3)ofthenomineesisbasedonamereexpectancy
whilewiththeothertwo(2)thenominationisdependentontheoccurrenceofatleasttwo(2)futureanduncertain
events, it is with more reason that the disqualification of one or some of the nominees should not affect the
qualificationsofthepartylistgroup.

I have also observed that in some of the consolidated petitions, the partylist group submitted a list of nominees,
withlessthanfive(5)namesstatedinSection8ofRA7941.Insomeotherpetitions,onlysomeoutofthenumber
of nominees submitted by the partylist group qualified. Again, Section 8 must be construed as a procedural
requirementrelativetoregistrationofgroupsaspiringtoparticipateinthepartylistsystemofrepresentation.Incase
offailuretocomply,asinnonsubmissionofalistofnominees,theCOMELECmaydenyduecoursetothepetition.
Incaseofincompletecompliance,aswhenthepartylistgroupsubmittedlessthan5names,itismyviewthatthe
COMELEC must ask the group to comply with the admonition that failure to do so will amount to the waiver to
submit5names.Theimplicationisthatifthepartylistgroupsubmittedonlyonequalifiednomineeanditgarnersa
numberofvotessufficienttogiveittwo(2)seats,itforfeitstherighttohaveasecondrepresentativeinCongress.
Therefore, for as long as the partylist group has one (1) qualified nominee, it must be allowed registration and
participationintheelection.Thesituationisdifferentwhenthepartylistgroupsubmittedalistofnomineesbutnone
qualified and, upon being asked to submit a new list of names, still failed to appoint at least one (1) qualified
nominee. In this case, the party can now reasonably be denied registration as it cannot, without at least one
qualified nominee, fulfill the objective of the law for genuine and effective representation for the marginalized and
underrepresented,ataskwhichthelawimposesonthequalifiednomineebyparticipatinginthe"formulationand
enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole."210 More importantly, the partylist
groups inability to field in qualified nominees casts doubt on whether the group is truly representative of the
marginalizedandunderrepresented.Consideringthatthemajorityofthegroupmustbelongtothemarginalizedand
underrepresented,itshouldnothaveanytroubleappointingaqualifiednominee.

Rulingoneachofthepetitions

As opposed to the vote of the majority, I deem it unnecessary to remand ALL the petitions to the COMELEC,
completelydisregardingtheground/sforthecancellationordenialofthepartylistgroupsregistration,andevenon
the supposition that the ponencia had substantially modified the guidelines that are set forth in the Ang Bagong
Bayani.

I vote, instead, to REMAND only the petitions of the partylist groups whose remaining ground for denial or
cancellationofregistrationinvolvesthenewguidelineonthequalificationsofapartysnominees.WhileIagreeon
modifyingthequalificationsofmajorpoliticalparties,noremandisjustifiedonthisgroundsincenoneofthe52211
petitionersisamajorpoliticalparty.Onallotherissues,thestandardofgraveabuseofdiscretionshallalreadybe
appliedbytheCourt.

For an extraordinary writ of certiorari to be justified, the tribunal or administrative body must have issued the
assaileddecision,orderorresolutionwithgraveabuseofdiscretion.212InMitrav.CommissiononElections,213the
Courtrecognizedthatalongwiththelimitedfocusthatattendspetitionsforcertiorariisthecondition,underSection
5,Rule64oftheRulesofCourt,thatfindingsoffactoftheCOMELEC,whensupportedbysubstantialevidence,
shall be final and nonreviewable. Substantial evidence is that degree of evidence that a reasonable mind might
acceptassufficienttosupportaconclusion.214

Guided by the foregoing principles, I vote to DISMISS the petitions for failure to substantiate grave abuse of
discretion,andtoAFFIRMTHECOMELECsDENIALORCANCELLATIONOFREGISTRATION,ofthefollowing
partylist groups: GREENFORCE, KALIKASAN, UNIMAD, AAMA, APEC, 1CARE, ALAEH, 1BROPGBI,
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1GANAP/GUARDIANS, ASIN, Manila Teachers, KAKUSA, BANTAY, GUARDJAN, PACYAW, ARC, SMART,
ALAM,ABANGLINGKOD,AKMAPTM,BAYANI,FIRM24K,KAP,COCOFED,AANI,ABROAD,AG,ALONA,
AGRI, 1ST KABAGIS, ARAL, BINHI, SENIOR CITIZENS, Atong Paglaum, ANAD, PBB, PPP, 1AAAP, ABP,
AAB,AKBandAI.

TheCOMELECsconclusiononthesaidgroupsfailuretoqualify,insofarasthegroundspertainedtothesectors
which they seek to represent and/or their capacity to represent their intended sector finds support in established
facts,lawandjurisprudence.

ON THE OTHER HAND, I find grave abuse of discretion on the part of the COMELEC in ruling on the
disqualificationof1UTAK,PASANGMASDA,BUTIL,ATandARAROonthesupposedfailureofthesepartiesto
substantiate their eligibility as a group, specifically on questions pertaining to their track record and the sectors
whichtheyseektorepresent.

Although as a general rule, the Court does not review in a certiorari case the COMELECs appreciation and
evaluation of evidence presented to it, in exceptional cases, as when the COMELECs action on the appreciation
andevaluationofevidenceoverstepsthelimitsofdiscretiontothepointofbeinggrosslyunreasonable,theCourtis
notonlyobliged,buthastheconstitutionaldutytointervene.Whengraveabuseofdiscretionispresent,resulting
errorsarisingfromthegraveabusemutatefromerrorofjudgmenttooneofjurisdiction.215Tothisexceptionfalls
theCOMELECsdisqualificationof1UTAK,PASANGMASDA,BUTIL,ATandARARO.

1UTAKandPASANGMASDA

1UTAKisasectoralorganizationcomposedofvarioustransportdriversandoperatorsassociationsnationwidewith
acommongoalofpromotingtheinterestandwelfareofpublicutilitydriversandoperators.216Ontheotherhand,
PASANGMASDAisasectoralpoliticalpartythatmainlyrepresentsthemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors
ofjeepneyandtricycledriversandoperatorsacrosstheNationalCapitalRegion.217Contrarytotheconclusionthat
wasinferredbytheCOMELECfromthecommoncircumstancethat1UTAKandPASANGMASDArepresentthe
sectorsofbothpublicutilitydriversandoperators,itisnotasufficientgroundtocanceltheirrespectiveregistration
aspartylistgroup.

To a great extent, the supposed conflict in the respective interests of public utility drivers and operators is more
apparentthanreal.Itistruethatthereisavarianceintheeconomicinterestsofpublicutilitydriversandoperators
theformerisconcernedwithwageswhilethelatterisconcernedwithprofits.However,whattheCOMELECfailedto
consideristhatthetwosectorshavesubstantialcongruentconcernsandinterests.

Tomymind,theinterestsofpublicutilitydriversandoperatorsarealignedwitheachotherinseveralinstances.To
nameafew:first,theeffectsoffluctuationinthepricesofpetroleumproductssecond,theirbenefitfrompetitionsfor
fareincrease/reductionandthird,theimplicationsofgovernmentpoliciesaffectingthetransportationsectorsuchas
trafficrulesandpublictransportregulation.Intheseinstances,itismutuallybeneficialfordriversandoperatorsof
publicutilityvehiclestoworktogetherinordertoeffectivelylobbytheirinterests.Certainly,theinterrelatedconcerns
andinterestsofpublicutilitydriversandoperatorsfaroutweighthesupposedvarianceintheirrespectiveeconomic
interests.

Accordingly,myviewisthattheCOMELECEnBancgravelyabuseditsdiscretionincancellingtheregistrationof1
UTAKandPASANGMASDAaspartylistgroupsonthegroundofthesectorswhichtheyaimtorepresent.

BUTIL

Similarly, the COMELEC gravely abused its discetion when it cancelled the registration of BUTIL on the alleged
groundthatthepartyfailedtoprovethatthe"agricultureandcooperativesectors,"whichthepartyrepresents,are
marginalizedandunderrepresented218

Inarrivingatthesaidconclusion,theCOMELECnotedthattheSecretaryGeneralofBUTIL,WilfredoA.Antimano
affirmed in his judicial affidavit that BUTIL is an organization "representing members of the agriculture and
cooperativesectors."Fromthisdeclaration,theCOMELECruledthatsincetheagricultureandcooperativesectors
arenotenumeratedinRA7941,itisincumbentuponBUTILtoestablishthefactthatthesectorsitisrepresenting
aremarginalizedandunderrepresented.Sincethepartyfailedtodischargethisburden,theCOMELECcancelled
the partys I stress, however, that in determining whether the group represents a marginalized and
underrepresentedsector,alloftheevidencesubmittedbythepartyshouldbedulyconsideredbytheCommission.
Thus,AntimanosstatementinhisjudicialaffidavitthatBUTILrepresentsthe"agricultureandcooperativesectors"
shouldbereadinconjunctionwiththeotherdocumentssubmittedbytheparty,includingtheoraltestimonythatwas
givenbythepartyswitness.Significantly,duringtheclarificatoryhearingconductedbytheCommissionEnBancon
August23,2012,Antimanoexplained:

CHAIRMANBRILLANTES:

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Isalang.Gustokolangmalaman,sinohoangmgamyembronyo?

MR.ANTIMANO:

Ang myembro po ng aming partido ay mga magsasaka, maliliit na magsasaka at maliliit na mangignigsda sa
kanayunan.

xxxx

CHAIRMANBRILLANTES:

Angtanongkohoeh,gustokolangmalaman,smallfarmersanginyongnirerepresent?

MR.ANTIMANO:

Opo.

CHAIRMANBRILLANTES:

Smallfishermen,kasamahobayun?

MR.ANTIMANO:

Opo.

CHAIRMANBRILLANTES:

Patimaliliitnamangingisda?

MR.ANTIMANO:

Opo,sakanayunan.Meronpokasingmaliliitnamangingisdasakaragatanperoyungsaamin,yunpongmaliliitna
mangingisdananagaalagangmaliliitna219

It can be reasonably gathered from the foregoing that Antimanos reference to the "agriculture and cooperative
sector" pertains to small farmers and fishermen. Likewise, on the basis of the evidence on record, the term
"cooperative"inAntimanosaffidavitshouldbetakentorefertoagriculturalcooperativeswhich,bytheirnature,are
stillcomprisedofagriculturalworkers.

Timeandagain,theCourthasrecognizedsmallagriculturalworkersasmarginalizedandunderrepresented.Based
ontherecords,BUTILappearstofullyadheretoandworktowardstheircause.Ialsogivedueconsiderationtothe
factthatsincethepartylistsystemwasfirstimplementedin1998,thepartyhadbeenabletoobtainthenecessary
votesforatleastoneseatintheHouseofRepresentatives.Thisaffirmsthepartysconstituencythatmaydeservea
continuedrepresentationinCongress.

AT

ATisanincumbentpartylistgroupthatclaimstorepresentsix(6)marginalizedsectorslabor,urbanpoor,elderly,
women, youth and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).220 In disqualifying AT, the COMELEC found that its
incumbentrepresentative,CongresswomanDarylGraceJ.Abayon,failedtoauthorhousemeasuresthatwilluplift
thewelfareofallthesectorsitclaimstorepresent.221

In so ruling, however, the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in failing to appreciate that effective
representation of sectors is not confined to the passage of bills that directly identify or name all of the sectors it
seekstorepresent.InthecaseofAT,thereisevidencethatitadoptedandcosponsoredHouseBillsthatadvanced
theinterests,notonlyofthesectorsitrepresents,butevenothermarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors.222AT
also established with sufficiency an exceptional track record that demonstrates its genuine desire to uplift the
welfareofallofthesectorsitrepresents.223Itisbroadenoughtocoverlegislationwhich,whiledirectlyidentifying
onlysomeofthesectorsasmainbeneficiaries,alsobenefitstherestofthesectorsitseekstorepresent.

ARARO

ARARO is a partylist group that seeks to represent peasants and the urban poor. It was disqualified by the
COMELEConthegroundthatthesetwosectorsinvolveconflictinginterests,forinstance,inthematteroflanduse.

However, I do not see, and the COMELEC failed to show, how the issue of land use can be conflicting between
thesesectors.Peasantsgenerallybelongtotheclassofmarginalfarmers,fisherfolkandlaborersintheruralareas.
On the other hand, the urban poor, as the term connotes, are those in the urban areas. While they may have
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differentinterestsandconcerns,thesearenotnecessarilydivergent.

I also do not adhere to the COMELECs conclusion that ARAROs alliances with other sectoral organizations
"muddle"thesectorsitrepresents.224Thesearemerealliances,i.e.,ties.ItdoesnotnecessarilyfollowthatARARO,
becauseoftheseties,willalsorepresenttheinterestsofthesesectors.AslongasARARO'splatformcontinually
focuses on the enhancement of the welfare of the peasants and the urban poor, there can be an effective
representationintheirbehalf.

Onthegroundofgraveabuseofdiscretion,IthenvotetonullifytheCOMELECscancellationoftheregistrationof
1UTAK,PASANGMASDA,BUTIL,ATandARAROonthegroundofthesepartiessupposedfailuretoprovetheir
eligibilitytorepresenttheirintendedsectors.

The COMELEC also committed grave abuse of discretion in ruling on the outright cancellation of the five parties
registration on the ground of the supposed failure of their nominees to qualify. I have fully explained that the
qualification of a partylist group shall be treated separate and distinct, and shall not necessarily result from the
qualificationofitsnominees.

Inanycase,myvotetonullifytheaforementionedactionsoftheCOMELECshallnotbeconstruedtoautomatically
restore the five parties registration and accreditation, which would otherwise allow their participation in the May
2013 elections. As has been discussed, each party must still be able to field in qualified nominees, as it is only
throughthemthatthepartymayperformitslegislativefunctionintheeventthatitgarnerstherequiredpercentage
of votes for a seat in the House of Representatives. With this circumstance, and considering a new guideline on
nomineesqualifications,IthenfindthenecessityofremandingtheirpetitionstotheCOMELEC.

ALIM,AIPRA,AKIN,A
BLESSEDPartyListand
AKOBAHAY

ThedenialoftheregistrationofAKIN,andthecancellationoftheregistrationofALIM,AIPRA,ABLESSEDParty
List and AKOBAHAY were based solely on the alleged failure of their respective nominees to prove that they
factuallybelongtothemarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectorthattheirpartiesseektorepresent.Ireiteratethat
apartylistgroupmustbetreatedseparateanddistinctfromitsnomineestheoutrightdisqualificationofthegroups
onthesaidgroundisnotwarranted.TheCOMELECsrulingtothecontraryisanactexhibitiveofgraveabuseof
discretion.

Accordingly, I deem it appropriate to nullify the COMELECs resolve to deny AKINs registration and cancel the
registration of ALIM, AIPRA, A BLESSED PartyList and AKOBAHAY. Nonetheless, as in the case of 1UTAK,
PASANG MASDA, BUTIL, AT and ARARO, this does not necessarily restore or grant their registration under the
partylistsystem.

Isubmitthatinviewofmystandregardingthequalificationsofnominees,specificallyonthetwotypesofqualified
nominees,itisonlyproperthatthepetitionsthatinvolvethegroundofdisqualificationofthenomineesberemanded
totheCOMELECtoaffordittheopportunitytorevisititsrulings.Insodoing,theCOMELECmaybeabletoassess
the facts and the records, while being guided by the clarification on the matter. It must be emphasized, however,
thatnotallofthepetitionsnecessitatesaremandconsideringthatfromtherecords,onlyten(10)outofthefifty
three(53)consolidatedpetitionssolelyinvolvedthedisqualificationofthepartysnominees.Thebulkofthepetitions
consist of cancellation or denial of registration on the ground (1) that the partylist group does not represent a
marginalized and underrepresented sector, or (2) that the group itself, on the basis of the pertinent guidelines
enumerated in Ang Bagong Bayani, failed to qualify. If the ground for the denial or cancellation of registration is
disqualificationonthebasisofsectororgroup,itisafutileexercisetodelveintothequalificationsofthenominees
sincenotwithstandingtheoutcometherein,thepartylistgroupremainsdisqualified.Itiswelltorememberthatthe
lawprovidesfordifferentsetsofqualificationsforthepartylistgroupandthenominees.Thelaw,whilerequiringthat
thepartylistgroupmusthavequalifiednomineestorepresentit,treatstheformerasseparateanddistinctfromthe
latter,nottotreatthemasequalsbuttogiveahigherregardtothepartylistgroupitself.Thus,intheeventthatthe
nomineesofthepartylistgroupfailtoqualify,thepartylistgroupmaystillbeaffordedthechancetofillinqualified
nominees to represent it. The reverse, however, is not true. The lack of qualifications, or the possession of
disqualifyingcircumstancesbythegroup,impingesonthelegitimacyortheexistenceofthepartylistgroupitself.
Absentaqualifiedpartylistgroup,thefactthatthenomineesthataresupposedtorepresentitarequalifieddoesnot
holdanysignificance.

Eventhoughtheponenciamodifiesthequalificationsforallnationalorregionalparties/organizations,ITSTILLIS
NOTNECESSARYTOREMANDALLTHEPETITIONS.Itbearsstressingthatofthe52petitioners,onlyelevenare
nationalorregionalparties/organizations.Therestofthepetitioners,asindicatedintheirrespectiveManifestations
of

Intentand/orpetitions,areorganizedassectoralpartiesororganizations.

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Thepartylistgroupsthatareorganizedasnationalparties/organizationsare:

1.AllianceforNationalismandDemocracy(ANAD)225

2.BantayPartyList(BANTAY)226

3.AllanceofBicolnonParty(ABP)227

Ontheotherhand,thefollowingareregionalparties/organizations:

1.AkoBicolPoliticalParty(AKB)228

2.AksyonMagsasakaPartidoTinigngMasa(AKMAPTM)229

3.AkoanBisaya(AAB)230

4.KalikasanPartyList(KALIKASAN)231

5.1AllianceAdvocatingAutonomyParty(1AAAP)232

6.AbyanIlonggoParty(AI)233

7.PartidongBayanandBida(PBB)234

8.PilipinasParasaPinoy(PPP)235

Accordingly,evengrantingcredencetotheponenciasratiocination,itdoesnotfollowthataremandofallthecases
isjustifiedaswehavepointedouttheponenciahasbeenabletoexplainthenecessityofaremandofonlyeleven
petitions for further proceedings in the COMELEC, in addition to the ten petitions that I have recommended for
remand.

WHEREFORE,inlightoftheforegoingdisquisitions,Ivoteto:

1.PARTLYGRANTthepetitionsinG.R.No.204410,G.R.No.204153,G.R.No.204356,G.R.No.204174,
G.R. No. 204367, G.R. No. 204341, G.R. No. 204125, G.R. No. 203976, G.R. No. 204263 and G.R. No.
204364.TheassailedResolutionsoftheCommissiononElections(COMELEC)EnBancinSPPNo.12198
(PLM),SPPNo.12277(PLM),SPPNo.12136(PLM),SPPNo.12232(PLM),SPPNo.12104(PL),SPP
No.12269(PLM),SPPNo.12292(PLM),SPPNo.12288(PLM),SPPNo.12257(PLM)andSPPNo.12
180(PLM)shallbeNULLIFIEDinsofarasthesedeclaredtheoutrightdisqualificationoftheparties1UTAK,
PASANG MASDA, BUTIL, AT, AKIN, ALIM, AIPRA, ARARO, A Blessed Party List and AKOBAHAY,
respectively, NULLIFIED insofar as these declared the outright disqualification of the parties 1UTAK,
PASANG MASDA, BUTIL, AT, AKIN, ALIM, AIPRA, ARARO, A Blessed Party List and AKOBAHAY,
respectively,andtheircasesshallbeREMANDEDtotheCOMELEC,whichshallbeDIRECTEDto:(a)allow
the partylist groups to present further proof that their nominees are actually qualified in light of the new
guidelineonthequalificationofnominees,(b)evaluatewhetherthenomineesarequalifiedtorepresentthe
group,and(c)grantordenyregistrationdependingonitsdetermination

2.DISMISSthepetitionsinG.R.No.204139,G.R.No.204370,G.R.No.204379,G.R.No.204394,G.R.No.
204402,G.R.No.204426,G.R.No.204435,G.R.No.204455,G.R.No.204485,G.R.No.204490,G.R.No.
204436,G.R.No.204484,G.R.No.203766,G.R.Nos.20381819,G.R.No.203922,G.R.No.203936,G.R.
No.203958,G.R.No.203960,G.R.No.203981,G.R.No.204002,G.R.No.204094,G.R.No.204100,G.R.
No.204122,G.R.No.204126,G.R.No.204141,G.R.No.204158,G.R.No.204216,G.R.No.204220,G.R.
No. 204236, G.R. No. 204238, 204239, G.R. No. 204240, G.R. No. 204318, G.R. No. 204321, G.R. No.
204323,G.R.No.204358,G.R.No.204359,G.R.No.204374,G.R.No.204408,G.R.No.204421,G.R.No.
204425,G.R.No.204428andG.R.No.204486.

BIENVENIDOL.REYES
AssociateJustice

Footnotes

1AngBagongBayaniOFWLaborPartyvs.CommissiononElections,412Phil.308(2001).

2ResolutionsdatedNovember13,2012,November20,2012,December4,2012,December11,2012and

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February19,2013.

3 "An Act Providing for the Election of PartyList Representatives Through the PartyList System, and
AppropriatingFundsTherefor"

4RulesandRegulationsGoverningThe:1)FilingofPetitionsforRegistration2)FilingofManifestationsof
Intent to Participate 3) Submission of Names of Nominees and 4) Filing of Disqualification Cases Against
NomineesorPartyListGroupsofOrganizationsParticipatingUnderthePartyListSystemofRepresentation
inConnectionwiththeMay13,2013NationalandLocalElections,andSubsequentElectionsThereafter.

5Supranote1.

6 First, the political party, sector, organization or coalitions must represent the marginalized and
underrepresented groups identified in Section 5 of RA 7941. In other words, it must show through its
constitution, articles of incorporation, bylaws, history, platform of government and track record that it
representsandseekstoupliftmarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors.Verily,majorityofitsmembership
shouldbelongtothemarginalizedandunderrepresented.xxx

Second, while even major political parties are expressly allowed by RA 7941 and the Constitution to
participate in the partylist system, they must comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling
"Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors x x x to be elected to the
House of Representatives." In other words, while they are not disqualified merely on the ground that
theyarepoliticalparties,theymustshow,however,thattheyrepresenttheinterestsofthemarginalized
andunderrepresented.xxx

xxxx

Third,xxxthereligioussectormaynotberepresentedinthepartylistsystem.

xxxx

Fourth,apartyoranorganizationmustnotbedisqualifiedunderSection6ofRA7941xxx

xxxx

Fifth,thepartyororganizationmustnotbeanadjunctof,oraprojectorganizedoranentityfundedor
assistedby,thegovernment.xxx

Sixth,thepartymustnotonlycomplywiththerequirementsofthelawitsnomineesmustlikewisedo
so.

xxxx

Seventh, not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and
underrepresentedsectorssoalsomustitsnominess.xxx

Eighth, x x x the nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of
appropriatelegislationthatwillbenefitthenationasawhole.xxx

7ConsolidatedCommentdatedDecember26,2012,p.54.

8OrderdatedAugust9,2012rollo(G.R.No.204323),pp.1619.

9Rollo(G.R.No.203818),pp.8387SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph and Christian Robert S. Lim
CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca,nopart.

10SPPNo.12154(PLM)andSPPNo.12177(PLM).

11Rollo(G.R.No.203818),p.86.

12 Rollo (G.R. No. 203981), pp. 4770 Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners
LucenitoN.Tagle,ArmandoC.Velasco,EliasR.YusophandChristianRobertS.Lim.CommissionerRene
V.Sarmientoalsovotedinfavor.CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatooknopart.

13SPPNo.12161(PLM).

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14Section9ofRA7941.xxxxIncaseofanomineeoftheyouthsector,hemustbetwentyfive(25)butnot
morethanthirty(30)yearsofageontheddayoftheelection.Anyyouthsectoralrepresentativewhoattains
theageofthirty(30)duringhistermshallbeallowedtocontinueinofficeuntiltheexpirationofhisterm.

15RodolfoP.Pancrudo,Jr.

16PabloLorenzoIII.

17VictorG..Noval.

18MelchorP.Maramara.

19SPPNo.12187(PLM).

20Rollo(G.R.No.203981),p.59.

21Id.at60.

22SPPNo.12188(PLM).

23Rollo(G.R.No.203981),p.61.

24SPPNo.12220(PLM).

25Rollo(G.R.No.203981),p.66.

26Rollo(G.R.No.204100),pp.5267SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.,CommissionersReneV.
Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph and Christina Robert S. Lim
CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca,nopart.

27SPPNo.12196(PLM).

28Rollo(G.R.No.204100),p.60.

29SPPNo.12223(PLM).

30Rollo(G.R.No.204100),p.62.

31Id.

32SPPNo.12257(PLM).

33Rollo(G.R.No.204100),p.65.

34 Rollo (G.R. No. 203960), pp. 6168. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners
LucenitoN.Tagle,ArmandoC.Velasco,EliasR.YusophandChristianRobertS.LimCommissionersRene
V.SarmientoandMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca,nopart.

35SPPNo.12260.

36Rollo(G.R.No.203922),pp.92101SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph and Christian Robert S. Lim
CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca,nopart.

37SPPNo.12201(PLM).

38 Rollo (G.R. No. 204174), pp. 158164 Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners
Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim
concurredCommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca,nopart.

39SPPNo.12232(PLM).

40Rollo(G.R.No.203976),pp.2137SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.,CommissionersReneV.
Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco and Christian Robert S. Lim Commissioner Elias R.

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Yusoph,alsovotedinfavor.CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca,nopart.

41SPPNo.12288(PLM).

42Id.at28.

43JoelC.Obar,JoseF.GamosandAlanG.Gonzales.

44Rollo(G.R.No.203958),pp.2648SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.,CommissionersReneV.
Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco and Christian Robert S. Lim Commissioner Elias R.
Yusooph,alsovotedinfavorCommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca,nopart.

45SPPNo.12279(PLM).

46SPPNo.12248(PLM).

47MargaritaDelosReyesCojuangco,DatuMichaelAbasKida,CatherineDomingoTrinidad,SaidamenOdin
Limgas.

48SPPNo.12263(PLM).

49SPPNo.12180(PLM).

50SPPNo.12229(PLM).

51Rollo(G.R.No.203958),p.39.

52SPPNo.12217(PLM).

53SPPNo.12277(PLM).

54SPPNo.12015(PLM).

55Rollo(G.R.No.203958),p.44.

56Rollo(G.R.No.204428),pp.3540SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.,CommissionersReneV.
Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle and Armando C. Velasco Commissioners Elias R. Yusoph and Christian
RobertS.LimconcurredCommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca,tooknopart.

57SPPNo.12256(PLM).

58Rollo(G.R.No.204428),p.36.

59Sec.2.Groundsforoppositiontoapetitionforregistration.TheCommissionmaydenyduecoursetothe
petitionmotupropriooruponverifiedoppositionofanyinterestedparty,afterduenoticeandhearing,onany
of the following grounds: x x x f. It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to
electionsxxx.
60Rollo(G.R.No.204094),pp.3040SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.,CommissionersReneV.
Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusoph and Christian Robert S. Lim Commissioner Maria Gracia
CieloM.Padaca,nopart.

61SPPNo.12185(PLM).

62Rollo(G.R.No.204094),p.34.

63Rollo(G.R.No.204239),pp.2542SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.,CommissionersReneV.
Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,EliasR.Yusoph,ChristianRobertS.LimCommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.
Padaca,nopart.

64SPPNo.12060(PLM).

65SPPNo.12254(PLM).

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8/25/2015 G.R. No. 203766
66SPPNo.12269(PLM).

67 Rollo (G.R. No. 204358), pp. 140148. Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners
LucenitoN.Tagle,ArmandoC.Velasco,EliasR.Yusoph,ChristianRobertS.LimandMariaGraciaCieloM.
PadacaCommissionerReneV.Sarmientoonofficialbusiness.

68SPPNo.12204(PLM).

69Rollo,(G.R.No.204359),pp.4250.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph and Christian Robert S. Lim
CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca,nopart.

70SPPNo.12272(PLM).

71Rollo(G.R.No.204238),pp.5458.SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V.Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,EliasR.YusophandChristianRobertS.LimCommissionersArmandoC.
VelascoandMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacaonofficialbusiness.
72SPPNo.12173(PLM).

73Rollo(G.R.No.204323),pp.4448SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.,CommissionersReneV.
Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,EliasR.Yusoph,ChristianRobertS.LimandMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca.

74SPPNo.12210(PLM).

75Rollo(G.R.No.204323),pp.4445.

76AlvinV.Abejuela.

77Rollo(G.R.No.204321),pp.4351SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.,CommissionersReneV.
Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,EliasR.Yusoph,ChristianRobertS.LimandMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca.

78SPPNo.12252(PLM).

79Rollo(G..R.No.204125),pp.4448SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V.Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,EliasR.YusophandChristianRobertS.LimCommissionerMariaGracia
CieloM.Padaca,nopart.

80SPPNo.12292(PLM).

81Rollo(G..R.No.204125),p.47.

82 Rollo (G.R. No. 204216), pp. 2328 Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr., Rene V. Sarmiento,
LucenitoN.Tagle,EliasR.Yusoph,ChristianRobertS.LimandMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca.

83SPPNo.12202(PLM).

84 Rollo (G.R. No. 204220), pp. 3944 Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr., Rene V. Sarmiento,
LucenitoN.Tagle,EliasR.YusophandChristianRobertS.Lim.

85SPPNo.12238(PLM).

86 Rollo (G.R. No. 204158), pp. 5964 Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr., Rene V. Sarmiento,
Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph, Christian Robert S. Lim Commissioner Maria
GraciaCieloM.Padaca,nopart.

87SPPNo.12158(PLM).

88Rollo(G.R.No.204158),p.62.

89Rollo(G.R.No.204374),pp.3641SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph and Christian Robert S. Lim
CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca,nopart.

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90SPPNo.12238(PLM).

91Rollo(G.R.No.204356),pp.5664SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph and Christian Robert S. Lim, with
MariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatakingnopart.

92SPPNo.12136(PLM).

93Rollo(G.R.204486),pp.4247SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.,ReneV.Sarmiento,Lucenito
N.Tagle,ArmandoC.Velasco,EliasR,YusophandChristianRobertS.LimMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca,
nopart.
94SPPNo.12194(PLM).

95Rollo(G.R.204486),p.46.

96Rollo(G.R.No.204410),pp.6367SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.,CommissionersReneV.
Sarmiento,ArmandoC.VelascoandChristianRobertS.Lim,withCommisionersLucenitoN.TagleandElias
R.Yusophdissenting,andCommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padacatakingnopart.

97SPPNo.12198(PLM).

98 Rollo (G.R. No. 204421), pp. 4350 Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Commissioners Rene V.
Sarmiento,ChristianRobertS.LimandMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca,withCommisionersLucenitoN.Tagle,
ArmandoC.Velasco,andEliasR.Yusophdissenting.

99SPPNo.12157(PLM)andSPPNo.12191(PLM).

100Rollo(G.R.No.204484),pp.4245SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.,CommissionersReneV.
Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando c. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph, Christian Robert S. lim and Maria
GraciaCieloM.Padaca.

101SPPNo.11002.

102Rollo(G.R.No.204379),pp.2635SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with
CommissionersLucenitoN.TagleandEliasR.Yusoph,dissenting.

103SPPNo.12099(PLM).

104 Rollo (G.R. No. 204426), pp. 127144 Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners
ReneV.Sarmiento,ArmandoC.Velasco(concurredexceptforSPPNo.12011ALAEH),ChristianRobert
S. Lim (concurred with reservation on issue of jurisdiction) and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with
CommissionersLucenitoN.TagleandEliasR.Yusoph,dissenting.

105SPPNo.12238(PLM).

106Rollo(G.R.No.204426),p.143.

107Idat133.

108SPPNo.12011(PLM).

109Rollo(G.R.No.204426),pp.134135.

110Rollo(G.R.No.204435),pp.4755SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with
CommissionersLucenitoN.TagleandEliasR.Yusoph,dissenting.

111SPPNo.12057(PLM).

112Atty.EddieU.TamondongandHerculanoC.Co,Jr.

113Rollo(G.R.No.204435),p.53.

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114 1st Nominee, Atty. Pantaleon D. Alvarez, is a lawyer, business, former DOTC Secretary and
Congressman2ndNominee,EmmanuelD.Cifra,isageneralmanager/president3rdNominee,Atty.Eddie
U.Tamondong,isalawyer4thNominee,HerculanoC.Co.,Jr.,isabusinessman.

115Rollo(G.R.No.204367),pp.3035SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with
CommissionersLucenitoN.TagleandEliasR.Yusoph,dissenting.

116SPPNo.12104(PL).

117CamelitaP.CrisologoandBenjaminA.Moraleda,Jr.

118CorazonAlmaG.DeLeon.

119ImeldaS.Quirante.

120FlordelizaP.Penalosa.

121Rollo(G.R.No.204370),pp.3750SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with
CommissionersLucenitoN.TagleandEliasR.Yusoph,dissenting.

122SPPNo.12011(PLM).

123Rollo(G.R.No.204370),p.44,citingAABsPetitiondatedFebruary8,2012.

124Rollo(G.R.No.204379),pp.4557SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Christian Robert S. Lim and Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca, with
CommissionersLucenitoN.TagleandEliasR.Yusoph,dissenting.

125SPPNo.12009(PP).

126Rollo(G.R.No.204379),p.53.

127LyndeenJohnD.Deloria

128RolexT.Suplico.

129FrancisG.Lavilla.

130Rollo(G.R.No.204485),pp.4249SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V.Sarmiento,ArmandoC.Velasco,andChristianRobertS.LimwithCommissionersLucenitoN.Tagleand
EliasR.Yusoph,dissentingCommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca,nopart.

131SPPNo.12175(PL).

132 Rollo (G.R. No. 204139), pp. 505512 Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners
Rene V. Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle and Armando C. Velasco Commissioners Elias R. Yusoph and
Christian Robert S. Lim voted in favor, but were on official business at the time of signing Commissioner
MariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca,nopart.

133SPPNo.12127(PL).

134 Rollo (G.R. No. 204402), pp. 2233 Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr., Rene V. Sarmiento,
LucenitoN.Tagle,EliasR.YusophandChristianRobertS.Lim.

135SPPNo.12061(PP).

136Rollo(G.R.No.204402),p.35.

137 Rollo (G.R. No. 204394) Signed by Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. and Commissioners Rene V.
Sarmiento, Lucenito N. Tagle, Armando C. Velasco, Elias R. Yusoph and Christian Robert S. Lim
CommissionerMariaGraciaCieloM.Padaca,nopart.

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138SPPNo.12145(PL).

139Rollo(G.R.No.204490),pp.7178SignedbyChairmanSixtoS.Brillantes,Jr.andCommissionersRene
V.Sarmiento,LucenitoN.Tagle,ArmandoC.Velasco,EliasR.YusophandChristianRobertS.LimMaria
GraciaCieloM.Padaca,nopart.

140Id.at.6170.

141SPPNo.12073(PLM).

142CommentdatedDecember26,2012,pp.3536.

143Supranote1.

144G.R.No.188308,October15,2009,603SCRA692.

145Id.at709710.

146Pangandamanv.COMELEC,377Phil.297,312(1999).

147 Dissenting Opinion of J. Pardo, AkbayanYouth v. COMELEC, 407 Phil. 618, 669, citing Digman v.
COMELEC,120SCRA650(1983).

148444Phil.812(2003).

149 Id. at 824825, citing Commission on Elections v. Silva, Jr., 286 SCRA 177 (1998) Pimentel vs.
Commission on Elections, 289 SCRA 586 (1998) Commission on Elections vs. Noynay, 292 SCRA 254
(1998)Domalantavs.CommissiononElections,334SCRA555(2000).

150Bautistav.COMELEC,460Phil.459,476(2003),citingCanicosav.COMELEC,347Phil.189(1997).

151Canicosav.COMELEC,347Phil.189,201(1997).

152LiberalPartyv.CommissiononElections,620SCRA393,431(2010).

153G.R.No.161115,November30,2006,509SCRA332.

154Id.at369370.

155 Mendoza v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 188308, October 15, 2009, 603 SCRA 692, 710, citing Presidential
AntiDollarSaltingTaskForcev.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.83578,March16,1989,171SCRA348Midland
Insurance Corporation v. IAC, No. L71905, August 13, 1986, 143 SCRA 458 Cario v. Commission on
Human Rights, G.R. No. 96681, December 2, 1991, 204 SCRA 483, on the activities encompassed by the
exerciseofquasijudicialpower.

156Supranote155,at824.

157Supranote.157

158G.R.No.190793,June19,2012.

159Id.,citingCiprianov.COMELEC,479Phil.677(2004).

160347Phil.189(1997).

161Santosv.COMELEC,191Phil.212,219(1981).

162Section3,ArticleIXCofthe1987Constitution.

163Section2(1),ArticleIXCofthe1987Constitution.

164Section2(3),ArticleIXCofthe1987Constitution.

165G.R.No.189600,June29,2010,622SCRA593.

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166Id.,citingFrivaldov.COMELEC,G.R.No.87193,June23,1989,174SCRA245,255.

167Montemayorv.Bundalian,453Phil.158,169(2003),citingDinsayvs.Cioco,264SCRA703(1996)

168Baricuatrov.Caballero,G.R.No.158643,June19,2007,525SCRA70,76.

169 Philippine Business Bank v. Chua, G.R. No. 178899, November 15, 2010, 634 SCRA 635, 648, citing
Denso(Phils.)Inc.v.IntermediateAppellateCourt,G.R.No.75000,February27,1987,148SCRA280.

170Supranote175.

171SeePhilippineGuardiansBrotherhood,Inc.(PGBI)v.COMELEC,G.R.No.190529,April29,2010.

172Rollo(G.R.No.204323),pp.1619.

173Id.at19.

174AngBagongBayaniOFWLaborPartyv.CommissiononElections,supranote1.

175RecordoftheConstitutionalCommissionNo.46,August2,1986.

176RecordoftheConstitutionalCommissionNo.46,August2,1986.

177Ibid.

178Supranote1at322.

179586Phil.210.

180Id.at333.

181Recordofthe1986ConstitutionalCommission,Vol.2.,July22,1986,RCCNo.36,p.85.

182Recordofthe1986ConstitutionalCommission,Vol.2.,July25,1986,RCCNo.39,p.255.

183AngBagongBayaniOFWLaborPartyv.CommissiononElections,supranote1at342.

184Ibid.

185Id.at336337.

186WebstersThirdNewInternationalDictionary(1986),p.2053.

187WordsandPhrases,PermanentEd.,Vol.2A,p.294.

188Recordofthe1986ConstitutionalCommission,Volume2,7251986,RCCNo.39,p.257.

189Id.at247248.

190ConcurringandDissentingOpinionofJ.Puno,BANATv.Comelec,supranote186at258259.

191396Phil.419(2000).

192Supranote1at337338.

193AngLadladLGBTPartyv.CommissiononElections,G.R.No.190582,April8,2010,618SCRA32,59.

194AngBagongBayaniOFWLaborPartyv.CommissiononElections,supranote1at343.

195Id.at343344.

196Id.at345.

197G.R.No.193808,June26,2012.

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198Ibid.

199 Section 6. Refusal and/or Cancellation of Registration. The COMELEC may motu proprio or upon
verified complaint of any interested party, refuse or cancel, after due notice and hearing, the registration of
anynational,regionalorsectoralparty,organizationorcoalitiononanyofthefollowinggrounds:

xxxx

5.Itviolatesorfailstocomplywithlaws,rulesandregulationsrelatingtoelections

xxxx

200Lokin,Jr.v.CommissiononElections,G.R.Nos.17943132and180443,June22,2010,621SCRA385,
409.
201RecordoftheSenate,ThirdRegularSession,October3,1994toDecember5,1994,VolumeII,Nos.23
45,p.143.

202 Section 15. Change of Affiliation Effect. Any elected partylist representative who changes his political
party or sectoral affiliation during his term of office shall forfeit his seat Provided, that if he changes his
political party or sectoral affiliation within six (6) months before an election, he shall not be eligible for
nominationaspartylistrepresentativeunderhisnewpartyororganization.

203Section8.NominationofPartylistRepresentatives.xxxx

Apersonmaybenominatedinone(1)listonly.Onlypersonswhohavegiventheirconsentinwriting
maybenamedinthelist.Thelistshallnotincludeanycandidateforanyelectiveofficeorapersonwho
haslosthisbidforanelectiveofficeintheimmediatelyprecedingelection.xxxx

204SEC.1.Petitiontodenyduecourseand/orcancellationGrounds.Averifiedpetitionseekingtodenydue
coursethenominationofnomineesofpartylistgroupsmaybefiledbyanypersonexclusivelyontheground
thatamaterialmisrepresentationhasbeencommittedinthequalificationofthenominees.
205SEC.2.Petitionfordisqualification,GroundAverifiedpetitionseekingthedisqualificationofnominees
ofpartylistgroupsmaybefiledbyanypersonwhenthenomineehasbeendeclaredbyfinaldecisionofa
competentcourtguiltyof,orfoundbytheCommissionofhaving:

a. Given money or other material consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public
officialsperformingelectoralfunctions

b.Committedactsofterrorismtoenhancehiscandidacy

c.Spentinthecampaignanamountinexcessofthatallowedbylaw

d.Solicited,receivedormadeanycontributionprohibitedunderSection89,95,96,97and104ofthe
OmnibusElectionCodeor

e. Violated any of Sections 83, 86 and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, subparagraph 6 of the
OmnibusElectionCode.

206RecordoftheSenate,ThirdRegularSession,October3,1994toDecember5,1994,VolumeII,Nos.23
45,p.157

207396Phil.419(2000).

208Id.at424.

209Section11.NumberofPartyListRepresentatives.

a.xxxx

b.Theparties,organizations,andcoalitionsreceivingatleasttwopercent(2%)ofthetotalvotescast
forthepartylistsystemshallbeentitledtooneseteach:Provided,Thatthosegarneringmorethantwo
percent (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their number of votes
Provided,finally,Thateachparty,organization,orcoalitionshallbeentitledtonotmorethanthree(3)

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seats.

210Section2,RA7941.

211The53consolidatedpetitionsinclude2petitionsfiledbySENIORCITIZENS.

212Maliniasv.CommissiononElections,439Phil.319(2002).

213G.R.No.191938,June2,2010,622SCRA744.

214Id.at766767.

215Id.at767.

216Rollo(G.R.No.204410),p.79.

217Rollo(G.R.No.204153),p.5.

218Rollo(G.R.No.204356),p.61.

219Id.at7779.

220Rollo(G.R.No.204174),p.173.

221Id.at160.

222Id.at544613.

223Id.at8391494.

224Rollo(G.R.No.203976),p.28.

225Rollo(G.R.No.204094),p.146.

226Rollo(G.R.No.204141),p.74.

227Rollo(G.R.No.204238),p.170.

228Rollo(G.R.Nos.20381819),p.119.

229Rollo(G.R.No.203936),p.73.

230Rollo(G.R.No.204370),p.92.

231Rollo(G.R.No.204402),p.72.

232Rollo(G.R.No.204435),p.91.

233Rollo(G.R.No.204436),p.186.

234Rollo(G.R.No.204484),p.60.

235Rollo(G.R.No.204490),p.79.

TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

CONCURRINGANDDISSENTINGOPINION

LEONEN,J.:

Iagreewiththeponenciainsubstance,butdissentinsofarasthereisnofindingofgraveabuseofdiscretiononthe
partoftheCOMELEC.

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Nationalpoliticalpartiesmayparticipateinpartylistelections,providedthattheyhavenocandidateforlegislative
districts.Theconstitutiondisqualifiespoliticalparties,whichhavecandidatesforlegislativedistricts,fromtheparty
list system.1 I also agree that they need not be organized sectorally and/or represent the "marginalized and
underrepresented".

WetakethisopportunitytotakeaharderlookatarticleVIsection5(1)and(2)inthelightofarticleIIsection1ofthe
Constitution. We now benefit from hindsight as we are all witness to the aftermath of the doctrines enunciated in
AngBagongBayaniOFWLaborPartyv.COMELEC2asqualifiedbyVeteransFederationPartyvCOMELEC3and
BarangayAssociationforNationalAdvancementandTransparencyvCOMELEC4.

Inmyview,theConstitutionalprovisionshavealwayscreatedspacefor"national,regionalandsectoralpartiesand
organizations"tojointhepartylistsystem.Itistextuallyclearthatnationalpoliticalpartiesorregionalorganizations
do not need to be organized on sectoral lines. Sectoral parties or organizations belong to a different category of
participantsinthepartylistsystem.

Moreover, there is no constitutional requirement that all those who participate in the party list system "must
represent the marginalized and underrepresented groups" as mentioned in Republic Act No. 79415. This law is
unconstitutionalinsofarasitmakesarequirementthatisnotsupportedbytheplaintextoftheConstitution.

There is also a constitutional difference between the political parties that support those who are candidates for
legislative districts and those that participate in the party list system. It is inconsistent for national political parties
whohavecandidatesforlegislativedistrictstoalsorunforpartylist.This,too,istheclearimplicationfromthetextof
articleVI,section5(1)oftheConstitution.

Theinsistenceonthecriteriaof"marginalizedandunderrepresented"6hascausedsomuchchaostothepointof
absurdityinourpartylistsystem.ItistooambiguoussoastoinviteinvidiousinterventiononthepartofCOMELEC,
endangeringthefundamentalrightstosuffrageofourpeople.HewingmorecloselywiththetextoftheConstitution
makesmoresenseunderthepresentcircumstances.

Besides,therewasnoclearmajorityinsupportoftheratiodecidendirelevanttoourpresentcasesinthecaseof
AngBagongBayanietal.v.COMELEC7andBANATv.COMELEC8.

IvoteforthegrantofthePetitionsandthenullificationofCOMELECResolutionNo.9513,s.August2,2012.This
will have the effect of reinstating the registration of thirty nine (39) existing party list groups that have already
registered for the 2010 elections especially those that have won seats in the current Congress. This will also
automaticallyremandthethirteen(13)casesofnewpartylistregistrantsforproperprocessingandevaluationbythe
CommissiononElections.

Textualanalysisoftherelevantprovisions

Differentkindofpoliticalpartyinthepartylistsystem

Thecoreprinciplethatdefinestherelationshipbetweenourgovernmentandthosethatitgovernsiscapturedinthe
constitutionalphrasethatoursisa"democraticandrepublicanstate".9Ademocraticandrepublicanstateisfounded
oneffectiverepresentation.Itisalsofoundedontheideathatitistheelectorate'schoicesthatmustbegivenfull
consideration.10Wemustalwaysbesensitiveinourcraftingofdoctrineslesttheguardiansofourelectoralsystem
beempoweredtosilencethosewhowishtooffertheirrepresentation.Wecannotreplacetheneededexperienceof
ourpeopletomatureascitizensinourelectorate.

WeshouldreadarticleVI,section5(1)and(2)inthelightoftheseoverarchingconsideration.

ArticleVI,section5(1)provides:

"(1) The House of Representative shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless
otherwisefixedbylaw,whoshallbeelectedfromlegislativedistrictsapportionedamongtheprovinces,cities,and
the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and those who, as
providedbylaw,shallbeelectedthroughapartylistsystemofregisterednational,regionalandsectoralpartiesor
organizations."(emphasisprovided)

TherearetwotypesofrepresentativesintheHouseofRepresentatives.Thoseinthefirstgroupare"electedfrom
legislative districts". Those in the second group are "elected through a party list system of registered national,
regionalandsectoralpartiesandorganizations."

Thedifferencesintermsofrepresentationareclear.

Thosewhoareelectedfromlegislativedistrictswillhavetheirnameintheballot.Theypresenttheirpersonsasthe

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potentialagentoftheirelectorate.ItistheirindividualqualificationsthatwillbeassessedbyCOMELEConthebasis
oftheConstitutionandrelevantstatutes.Shouldtherebedisqualificationitwouldbetheirpersonalcircumstances,
which will be reviewed, in the proper case, by the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). The
individualrepresentativecanlosesubsequentelectionsforvariousreasons,includingdissatisfactionfromthosethat
initiallyelectedhim/herintooffice.

Incidentally, those who present themselves for election by legislative districts may or may not be supported by a
registeredpoliticalparty.Thismaygivethemaddedpoliticaladvantagesintheelectoralexercise,whichincludesthe
goodwill,reputationandresourcesofthemajorpoliticalpartytheyaffiliatewith.However,itisnotthenatureofthe
politicalpartythatendorsesthemthatiscriticalinassessingthequalificationsordisqualificationsofthecandidate.

TheelecteddistrictrepresentativeintheHouseofRepresentativeisdirectlyaccountabletohis/herelectorate.The
political party s/he affiliates with only shares that political accountability but, only to a certain extent. Good
performanceisusuallyrewardedwithsubsequentelectiontoanotherterm.Itistheelectedrepresentative,notthe
political party that will get reelected. We can even take judicial notice that party affiliation may change in
subsequentelectionsforvariousreasons,withoutanyeffectonthequalificationoftheelectedrepresentative.

Thepoliticalpartythataffiliatesthosewhoparticipateinelectionsinlegislativedistrictsorganizeprimarilytohave
theircandidateswin.Thesepoliticalpartieshaveavowedprinciplesandplatformsofgovernment.11But,theywillbe
knownmorethroughthepersonalitiesandpopularityoftheircandidates.12Often,compromisesoccurinthepolitical
partysphilosophiesinordertoaccommodateaviablecandidate.

Thishasbeentheusualroleofpoliticalpartiesevenbeforethe1987Constitution.

Thepartylistsystemisanattempttointroduceanewsystemofpoliticsinourcountry,onewherevoterschoose
platformsandprinciplesprimarilyandcandidatenomineessecondarily.AsprovidedintheConstitution,thepartylist
systemsintentionsarebroaderthansimplyto"ensurethatthosewhoaremarginalizedandrepresentedbecome
lawmakersthemselves".13

Historically, our electoral exercises privileged the popular and, perhaps, pedigreed individual candidate over
platformsandpoliticalprograms.14Politicalpartieswereconvenientamalgamationofelectoralcandidatesfromthe
national to the local level that gravitated towards a few of its leaders who could marshall the resources to
supplement the electoral campaigns of their members.15 Most elections were choices between competing
personalities often with very little discernible differences in their interpretation and solutions for contemporary
issues.16Theelectoratechoseonthebasesofpersonalityandpopularityonlyafterthecandidateswereelectedto
public offices will they later find out the concrete political programs that the candidate will execute. Our history is
replete with instances where the programs that were executed lacked cohesion on the basis of principle.17 In a
sense,ourelectoralpoliticsalienatedandmarginalizedlargepartsofourpopulation.

Thepartylistsystemwasintroducedtochallengethestatusquo.Itcouldnothavebeenintendedtoenhanceand
further entrench the same system. It is the party or the organization that is elected. It is the party list group that
authorizes,hopefullythroughademocraticprocess,aprioritylistofitsnominees.Itisalsothepartylistgroupthat
can delist or remove their nominees, and hence replace him or her, should he or she act inconsistently with the
avowedprinciplesandplatformsofgovernanceoftheirorganization.Inshort,thepartylistsystemassistsgenuine
politicalpartiestoevolve.Genuinepoliticalpartiesenabletruerepresentation,andhence,providethepotentialfor
ustorealizea"democraticandrepublicanstate".

Today, we are witness to the possibility of some party list groups that have maintained organizational integrity to
pose candidates for higher offices, i.e. the Senate. We can take judicial notice that two of the candidates for the
2013senatorialelectionswhousedtorepresentpartylistgroupsintheHouseofRepresentativesdonothavethe
resourcesnorthepedigreeand,therefore,arenotofthesamemouldasmanyoftheusualpoliticianswhoviewfor
thatposition.ItisnoaccidentthatthepartylistsystemisonlyconfinedtotheHouseofRepresentatives.Itisthe
nurturing ground to mature genuine political parties and give them the experience and the ability to build
constituenciesforotherelectivepublicoffices.

In a sense, challenging the politics of personality by constitutionally entrenching the ability of political parties and
organizations to instill party discipline can redound to the benefit of those who have been marginalized and
underrepresentedinthepast.Itmakesitpossiblefornomineestobechosenonthebasisoftheirloyaltytoprinciple
andplatformratherthantheirfamilyaffiliation.Itencouragesmorecollectiveactionbythemembershipoftheparty
andhencewillreducethepossibilitythatthepartybecontrolledonlybyaselectfew.

Thus,itisnotonly"forthemarginalizedandunderrepresentedinourmidstwhowallowinpoverty,destitutionand
infirmity"18thatthepartylistsystemwasenacted.Rather,itwasforeveryoneinsofarasattemptingareforminour
politics.

But, based on our recent experiences, requiring "national, regional and sectoral parties and organizations" that
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participateinthepartylistsystemtoberepresentativesofthe"marginalizedandunderrepresentedsector"andbe
"marginalized and underrepresented themselves" is to engage in an ambiguous and dangerous fiction that
undermines the possibility for vibrant party politics in our country. This requirement, in fact, was the very
requirementthat"gutthesubstanceofthepartylistsystem".19

Worse,contrarytothetextoftheconstitution,itfailstoappreciatethetruecontextofthepartylistsystem.

Norequirementthatthepartyororganizationbe"marginalizedandunderrepresented"

Thedisqualificationoftwo"green"orecologicalparties20andtwo"rightwing"ideologicalgroups21(currentlypartof
thepartylistsectorinthepresentCongress)isbasedontheassessmentoftheCOMELECenbancthattheydonot
representa"marginalized"sectorandthatthenomineethemselvesdonotappeartobemarginalized.

ItisinconceivablethatthepartylistsystemframedinourConstitutionmakeitimpossibletoaccommodategreenor
ecologicalpartiesofvariouspoliticalpersuasions.

Environmental causes do not have as their constituency only those who are marginalized or underrepresented.
Neitherdotheyonlyhavefortheirconstituencythose"whowallowinpoverty,destitutionandinfirmity".22Intruth,all
ofus,regardlessofeconomicclass,areconstituentsofecologicaladvocacies.

Also,politicalpartiesorganizedalongideologicallinesthesocialistorevenrightwingpoliticalpartiesaregroups
motivatedbyatheirownnarrativesofourhistory,avisionofwhatsocietycanbeandhowitcangetthere.Thereis
no limit to the economic class that can be gripped by the cogency of their philosophies and the resulting political
platforms.AllowingthemspaceintheHouseofRepresentativesiftheyhavetheconstituencythatcanwinthema
seatwillenrichthedeliberationsinthatlegislativechamber.Havingthemvoiceoutopinionswhethertrueorfalse
should make the choices of our representatives richer. It will make the choices of our representatives more
democratic.

Ideologicallyorientedpartiesworkforthebenefitofthosewhoaremarginalizedandunderrepresented,buttheydo
not necessarily come mainly from that economic class. Just a glance at the history of strong political parties in
different jurisdictions will show that it will be the public intellectuals within these parties who will provide their
rationale and continually guide their membership in the interpretation of events and, thus, inform their movement
forward.

Political ideologies have people with kindred ideas as their constituents. They may care for the marginalized and
underrepresented,buttheyarenotthemselvesnorfortheireffectivityintheHouseofRepresentativesshouldwe
requirethattheycanonlycomefromthatclass.

Highlighting these groups in this opinion should not be mistaken as an endorsement of their platforms. Rather, it
shouldbeseenasclearexampleswhereinterestsandadvocacies,whichmaynotbewithinthemainfocusofthose
whorepresentlegislativedistricts,cryoutforrepresentation.Surely,itshouldbetheelectorate,nottheCOMELEC,
whichshoulddecidewhethertheirgroupsshouldparticipateinourlegislativedeliberations.Thatthesegroupscould
beexcludedevenbeforethevoteisnotwhatthepartylistsystemisallabout.

Thesetwoinstancesarisingfromtheconsolidatedpetitionsweareconsideringclearlyshowwhythetextofarticle
VI,section5(2)provides:

"(2)Thepartylistrepresentativeshallconstitutetwentypercentumofthetotalnumberofrepresentativesincluding
thoseunderthepartylist.ForthreeconsecutivetermsaftertheratificationofthisConstitution,onehalfoftheseats
allocatedtopartylistshallbefilled,asprovidedbylaw,byselectionorelectionfromthelabor,peasant,urbanpoor,
indigenous cultural communities, women, youth and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the
religioussectors."(emphasisprovided)

Whatisplainfromareadingofthetextisthatthequalificationastoreservedseatsisapplicableonlyforthe"three
consecutivetermsaftertheratification"oftheConstitution.Onlyonehalfoftheseatswithinthatperiodisreserved
to the "sectors" that were enumerated, clearly implying that there are other kinds of party list groups other than
thosewhoaresectoral.

To require that all the seats for party list representatives remain sectoral in one form or the other is clearly and
patentlyunconstitutional.Itisnotsupportedbythetext.Itsrationaleanditsactualeffectisnotinaccordwiththe
spiritoftheseprovisions.

RevisitingAngBagongBayanietalvCOMELEC

We are aware of the case of Ang Bagong Bayani v Comelec.23 In that case, the Court en banc declared that
politicalpartiesmayparticipateinthepartylistsystembutthatthesepoliticalpartiesmustbeorganizedsectorallyto
representthe"marginalizedandunderrepresented".

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Thereasoningoftheponenciaofthatcasederivedfromhisfundamentalprinciplethat:

"...The requisite character of these parties or organizations must be consistent with the purpose of the party list
system,aslaiddownintheConstitutionandRA7941."24

TheponenciathenproceededtoputtheinterpretationofastatuteatparwiththetextofarticleVI,section5(1)and
(2)theConstitution,thus:

"Theforegoingprovisiononthepartylistsystemisnotselfexecutory.Itis,infact,interspersedwithphraseslikein
accordance with law or as may be provided by law it was thus up to Congress to sculpt in granite the lofty
objectiveoftheConstitution."25

The 1987 Constitution is a complete document. Every provision should be read in the context of all the other
provisionssothatcontoursofconstitutionalpolicyaremadeclear.26ToclaimthattheframersoftheConstitutionleft
ittoCongresstocompletetheveryframeworkofthepartylistsystemistoquestionthefundamentalcharacterof
ourconstitution.Thephrases"inaccordancewithlaw"and"asmaybeprovidedbylaw"isnotaninvitationtothe
membersofCongresstocontinuetheworkoftheconstituentassemblythatcraftedtheConstitution.Constitutional
policyistobederivedfromthetextoftheconstitutioninthelightofitscontextinthedocumentandconsideringthe
contemporaryimpactofrelevantprecedents.

Fromconstitutionalpolicy,Congressthendetailstheworkingsofthepolicythroughlaw.TheConstitutionremains
thefundamentalandbasiclawwithamoredominantinterpretativepositionvisavisstatute.Ithasnoequalwithin
ournormativesystem.

ArticleVI,sections5(1)and(2)alreadyimplyacompleteConstitutionalframeworkforthepartylistsystem.

Congresscannotaddtheconceptof"proportionalrepresentation".Congresscannotpassalawsothatwereadin
thetextoftheConstitutiontherequirementthatevennationalandregionalpartiesororganizationsshouldlikewise
be sectoral. Certainly Congress cannot pass a law so that even the onehalf that was not reserved for sectoral
representativesevenduringthefirstthreeconsecutivetermsaftertheratificationoftheConstitutionshouldnowonly
becomposedofsectoralrepresentatives.

TherewerestrongcogentdissentingopinionscomingfromJusticesMendozaandVitugwhenAngBagongBayani
v. COMELEC was decided in 2001.27 Only six (6) justices concurred with the reasoning of the ponencia. Two
justicesvotedonlyintheresult.Five(5)justicesdissented.Four(4)ofthemjoiningthedissentingopinionofJustice
VicenteMendoza.Therewasnomajoritythereforeinupholdingthereasoningandratiodecidendiproposedbythe
ponenciainthatcase.Itwasadividedcourt,onewheretherewasamajoritytosustaintheresultbutnotenoughto
establishdoctrine.

ItwasevenamoredividedcourtwhenthesameissuesweretackledinthecaseofBANATv.COMELECin2009.28

Ostensibly, the rationale of the majority in BANAT was to prevent major political parties from dominating
organizationsofthemarginalized.CitingtheconcurringanddissentingopinionofthenChiefJusticePuno:

"....Thereisnogainsayingthefactthatthepartylistpartiesarenomatchtoourtraditionalpolitical

partiesinthepoliticalarena.Thisisborneoutinthepartylistelectionsheldin2001wheremajorpoliticalparties
were initially allowed to campaign and be voted for. The results confirmed the fear expressed by some
commissioners in the Constitutional Commission that major political parties would figure in the disproportionate
distributionofvotes:ofthe162partieswhichparticipated,thesevenmajorpoliticalpartiesmadeittothetop50."29

Thepremiseofcoursewastheargumentthatmajorpoliticalpartiesthatsupportcandidatesforlegislativedistricts
weretobeallowedtoparticipateinthepartylistsystem.ThisisnotthereadingproposedtodayoftheConstitution.
Furthermore, the opinion failed to foresee that even parties and organizations that claim to represent the
"marginalized"couldcrowdouteachotherfurtherweakeningthesystem.

Notonlydowevotetodaywithoutaprecedenthavingaclearvote,wealsodosowiththebenefitofhindsight.

"Marginalizedandunderrepresented"isambiguous

Thereisanotherreasonwhywecannotfullysubscribetotheconceptof"marginalizedandunderrepresented".Itis
tooambiguous.TherecanbenoconsistentjudiciallydiscerniblestandardfortheCOMELECtoapply.Itthusinvites
invidious intervention from COMELEC to undermine the right of suffrage of the groups that want to vie for
representation.Indirectly,italsoviolatestherightofsuffrageoftheelectorate.COMELECsubstituteditsjudgment
forthatoftheelectorate.Itthusactedarbitrarilyandbeyonditsjurisdiction.

InnoneoftheOrdersoftheCOMELECinquestionwasthereadefinitionofwhatitistobesociallymarginalized.No

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empirical studies have informed COMELECs determination as to which groups are "underrepresented" in
government.Infact,thereisnoindicationastowhatthecharacteristicsofanindividual'sorgroupsidentitywould
leadtheCOMELECenbanctoconsiderthattheywerea"sector".

To the COMELEC en banc, for instance, the following are not marginalized or underrepresented sectors:
"Bicolanos",30 "young professionals like drug counselors and lecturers",31 rural energy consumers,32 "peasants,
urban poor, workers and nationalistic individuals who have stakes in promoting security of the country against
insurgency criminality and their roots in economic poverty",33 "persons imprisoned without proof of guilt beyond
reasonabledoubt",34thosewhoadvocate"topubliclyoppose,denounceandcounter,communisminallitsformin
the Filipino society"35 "environmental enthusiasts intending to take are of, protect and save Mother Earth",36
"agricultural and cooperative sectors"37 "businessmen, civil society groups, politicians and ordinary citizens
advocatinggenuinepeopleempowerment,socialjustice,andenvironmentalprotectionandutilizationforsustainable
development"38"artists"39

"Bisayans"40Ilonggos.41

What is plain is that the COMELEC declared ex cathedra sans any standard what were the "marginalized and
underrepresentedsectors."This,inmyopinion,constitutesgraveabuseofdiscretiononthepartoftheCOMELEC.
Wearenowaskedtoconfirmtheiractions.WeareaskedtoaffirmthatCOMELECknewwhata"marginalizedand
underrepresentedsector"waswhentheysawone.

COMELECs process was a modern day inquisition reminiscent of the medieval hunt for heretics and witches, a
spectaclewhichmayinafewcasesweedouttheshamorganization.Butitwasaspectaclenonethelessfraught
withtoomanyvulnerabilitiesthatcannotbeconstitutionallyvalid.Itconstitutesgraveabuseofdiscretion.

As guardians of the text and values congealed in our Constitution, we should not lend our imprimatur to both the
basisandtheproceduredeployedbyCOMELECinthiscase.

After all, we have a due process clause still in place.42 Regardless of the nature of the power that COMELEC
deployedwhetheritwasadministrativeorquasijudicialthepartieswereentitledtohaveastandardthattheycould
apply in their situation so that they could properly discern whether their factual situation deserved registration or
disqualification.

Neither was it possible for COMELEC to come up with a standard. Even Rep. Act No. 7941 was ambiguously
worded.43Therewasnoworkabledefinitionof"marginalized","underrepresented"and"sector."44

NeitherwouldithavebeenpossibleforCongresstodefinetheseconcepts.Inthefirstplace,ourdecisionshavenot
given them guidance. In the second place, we could not give guidance because it is not in the Constitution and
couldnotbederivedfromitsprovisions.Thisisalsoapartfromtherealitythat"identity","sector","marginalized"and
"underrepresented"areheavilycontestedconceptsinthefieldsofsocialscienceandphilosophy.45

Thefallacyofrepresentationby"marginalizedandunderrepresented"groups

Itispossibleunderoursystemforapartylistgrouprepresentingindigenouspeoplestobeelectedbypeopleswho
donotbelongtotheirsectorbutfromavoterichlegislativedistrict.Thesameistruewithapartylistgroupallegedly
of security guards.46 They, too, can get elected without the consent of majority of all the security guards in this
countrybutsimplyfromtherequirednumberallowedbyourformulainBANATvCOMELEC.47

In practice, we have seen the possibility for these "marginalized and underrepresented" party list groups being
electedsimplybytherequiredvoteinsomelegislativedistricts.

This sham produces the failure in representation. It undermines the spirit of the party list system, violates the
principleofrepresentationinherentinademocraticandrepublicanstate,andweakensratherthanstrengthenthe
abilitiesofthe"marginalizedandunderrepresented"tobecomelawmakersthemselves.Constitutionalconstruction
cannot lose sight of how doctrines can cause realities that will undermine the very spirit of the text of our
Constitution.48

Allowingtheexistenceofstrongnationalandregionalpartiesororganizationsinthepartylistsystemhavebetter
chancesofrepresentingthevoicesofthe"marginalizedandunderrepresented.Itwillalsoallowviews,standpoints
andideologiessidelinedbythepragmaticpoliticsrequiredforpoliticalpartiesparticipatinginlegislativedistrictsto
berepresentedinthe

HouseofRepresentatives.Itwillalsoencouragetheconceptofbeingmultisectoralandthereforethestrengthening
ofpoliticalplatforms.

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ToallowthistohappenonlyrequiresthatwemaintainfullfealtytothetextualcontentofourConstitution.Itis"a
partylist system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations."49 Nothing more, nothing
less.

RequirementsforPartyListGroups

Preferably,partylistgroupsshouldrepresentthemarginalizedandunderrepresentedinoursociety.Preferably,they
may not be marginalized themselves but that they may also subscribe to political platforms that have the
improvementofthosewhoarepoliticallymarginalizedandeconomicallydestituteastheircatapultingpassion.But,
thiscannotbetheconstitutionalrequirementsthatwillguidelegislationandactionsonthepartoftheCommission
onElection.

Iproposeinsteadthefollowingbenchmarks:

First,thepartylistsystemincludesnational,regionalandsectoralpartiesandorganizations

Second,thereisnoneedtoshowthattheyrepresentthe"marginalizedandunderrepresented".However,theywill
havetoclearlyshowhowtheirplanswillimpactonthe"marginalizedandunderrepresented".Shouldthepartylist
groupprefertorepresentasector,thenourrulingsinAngBagongBayani50andBANAT51willapplytothem

Third, the parties or organizations that participate in the party list system must not also be a participant in the
election of representatives for the legislative districts. In other words, political parties that field candidates for
legislativedistrictscannotalsoparticipateinthepartylistsystem

Fourth,thepartiesororganizationsmusthavepoliticalplatformsguidedbyavisionofsociety,anunderstandingof
history,astatementoftheirphilosophiesandhowthistranslatesintorealisticpoliticalplatforms

Fifth,thepartiesororganizationsnotonlythenomineesmusthaveconcreteandverifiabletrackrecordofpolitical
participationshowingtheirtranslationoftheirpoliticalplatformsintoaction

Sixth,thepartiesororganizationsthatapplyforregistrationmustbeorganizedsolelyforthepurposeofparticipating
inelectoralexercises

Seventh,theymusthaveexistedforaconsiderableperiod,suchasthree(3)years,priortotheirregistration.Within
thatperiodtheyshouldbeabletoshowconcreteactivitiesthatareinlinewiththeirpoliticalplatforms

Eighth,theymusthavesuchnumbersintheiractualactivemembershiprostersoastobeabletomountacredible
campaignforpurposeofenticingtheiraudience(national,regionalorsectoral)fortheirelection

Ninth,asubstantialnumberofthesemembersmusthaveparticipatedinthepoliticalactivitiesoftheorganization

Tenth,thepartylistgroupmusthaveagoverningstructurethatisnotonlydemocraticallyelectedbutalsoonewhich
isnotdominatedbythenomineesthemselves

Eleventh,thenomineesofthepoliticalpartymustbeselectedthroughatransparentanddemocraticprocess

Twelfth,thesourceofthefundingandotherresourcesusedbythepartyororganizationmustbeclearandshould
notpointtoafewdominantcontributorsspecificallyofindividualswithfamiliesthatareorhaveparticipatedinthe
electionsforrepresentativesoflegislativedistricts

Thirteenth, the political party or party list organization must be able to win within the two elections subsequent to
theirregistration

Fourteenth,theymustnotespouseviolenceand

Fifteenth,thepartylistgroupisnotareligiousorganization.

DisqualificationofexistingregisteredpartylistgroupsJurisdictionoftheCOMELEC

With respect to existing registered party list groups, jurisdiction to disqualify is clearly reposed on the House of
RepresentativesElectoralTribunal(HRET).TheConstitutioninarticleVI,section17clearlyprovides:

"Sec.17.TheSenateandtheHouseofRepresentativesshalleachhaveaElectoralTribunalwhichshallbethesole
judgeofallcontestsrelatingtotheelection,returns,andqualificationsoftheirrespectiveMembers..."

AmorespecificprovisionintheConstitutionwithrespecttodisqualifyingregisteredpoliticalpartylistgroupsshould
prevailoverthemoregeneralpowersoftheCOMELECtoenforceandadministerelectionlaws.Besides,thatthe
HRETisthe"solejudge"clearlyshowsthattheconstitutionalintentionistoexcludealltherest.52

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WHEREFORE,inviewoftheforegoing,Ivoteto:

1. GRANTthePetitionsandNULLIFYCOMELECResolutionNo.9135andalltheCOMELECResolutions
raisedintheseconsolidatedcasesand
2. REMANDthecasestoCOMELECforproperproceedingsinlinewithourdecision.

MARVICMARIONVICTORF.LEONEN
AssociateJustice

Footnotes

1CONSTITUTION,Art.VI,Sec.5,par.(1).

2G.R.No.147589,June26,2001,359SCRA698.

3G.R.No.136781,October6,2000,342SCRA244.

4G.R.No.179271,April21,2009.586SCRA211.But,byavoteof8joiningtheopinionofPuno,C.J.the
courtupheldVeteransdisallowingpoliticalpartiesfromparticipatinginthepartylistelections.

5RepublicAct.No.7941(1995).

6Supranote2,seefirst,secondandsixthandseventhrequirements:

"First, the political party, sector, organization or coalitions must represent the marginalized and
underrepresentedgroupsidentifiedinSection5ofRA7941.Inotherwords,itmustshowthroughits
constitution,articlesofincorporation,bylaws,history,platformofgovernmentandtrackrecordthatit
represents and seeks to uplift marginalized and underrepresented sectors. Verily, majority of its
membershipshouldbelongtothemarginalizedandunderrepresented...

"Second,whileevenmajorpoliticalpartiesareexpresslyallowedbyRA7941andtheConstitutionto
participate in the party list system, they must comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling
Filipinocitizensbelongingtomarginalizedandunderrepresentedsectors...tobeelectedtotheHouse
ofRepresentatives.Inotherwords,whiletheyarenotdisqualifiedmerelyonthegroundthattheyare
political parties, they must show, however, that they represent the interests of the marginalized and
underrepresented..."

xxx

"Sixth,thepartyororganizationmustnotonlycomplywiththerequirementsofthelawitsnominees
mustlikewisedoso..."

"Seventh, not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and
underrepresentedsectorssoalsomustitsnominees..."

7Supranote2.

8Supranote4Infranote29.

9CONSTITUTION,Art.II,Sec.1.

10SeeMoyav.DelFiero,G.R.No.L46863,November18,1939,

11Seeforinstance,Lande,CarlH.,PartiesandPoliticsinthePhilippines,AsianSurvey,Vol.8,No.9(Sep
1968)pp725747orTeehankee,Julio,ElectoralPoliticsinthePhilippines,inElectoralPoliticsinSoutheast
Asia,AurelCroissant,ed.,FriedrichEbertStiftung,2002.

12 Id. Lo, Barnaby, Fame, Family Dominate Key Philippines Election, CBS News, May 10, 2010,
<http://www.cbsnews.com/8301503543_16220004523503543.html>(visitedMarch7,2013).

13SeeCONSTITUTION,Art.IX(C),Sec.6.

14Supranote11.

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15Id.

16Supranote12.

17Supranote11.

18Supranote2.

19SeeSupranote2.(Thiswastheostensiblejustificationfornotallowingall"national,regionalandsectoral
partiesandorganizations"asprovidedintheConstitutiontoparticipate).

20GREENFORCEinG.R.No.204239andKALIKASANinG.R.No.204402.

21ANADinG.R.No.204094andBANTAYinG.R.No.204141.

22Supranotes2&4.

23Supranote2.

24Id.,359SCRA698,717

25Id.,359SCRA698,718

26Chavezv.JBC,G.R.No.202242,July17,2012.

27Seesupranote2at733761.

28 See supra note 4. (Voting to disallow major political parties from participating directly or indirectly in the
partylistsystemwereeightjustices,namely:Puno,QuisumbingYnaresSantiago,AustriaMartinez,Corona,
ChicoNazario, Velasco, and Leonardode Castro. Voting to allow major political parties in the party list
systemweresevenjustices,namely:Carpio,CarpioMorales,Tinga,Nachura,Brion,Peralta,andBersamin).

29Id.,perPunoConcurringandDissentingopinionat258259.

30COMELECResolutiondatedOctober20,2012,SPPNo.12154(PLM)andSPPNo.12177(PLM),G.R.
No.203818(AkoBikolPoliticalParty,AKB).

31COMELECOmnibusResolutiondatedOctober11,2012,SPP12220(PLM),G.R.No.203981(UNIMAD).

32COMELECResolutiondatedOctober16,2012,SPP12260(PLM),G.R.No.203960(1CARE).

33COMELECResolutiondatedOctober24,2012,SPP12229(PLM),G.R.No.203958(BANTAY).

34COMELECResolutiondatedOctober24,2012,SPP12015(PLM),G.R.No.203958(KAKUSA).

35COMELECResolutiondatedNovember7,2012,SPP12185(PLM),G.R.No.204094(ANAD)

36COMELECResolutiondatedNovember7,2012,SPP12060(PLM),G.R.No.204239(GREENFORCE)

37COMELECResolutiondatedNovember28,2012,SPP12136(PLM),G.R.No.204356(BUTIL)

38COMELECResolutiondatedDecember5,2012,SPP11002,G.R.No.204484(PBB)

39COMELECResolutiondatedNovember23,2012,SPP12099,G.R.No.204379(ASIN)

40COMELECResolutiondatedNovember29,2012,SPP12011(PP),G.R.No.204370(AAB)

41COMELECResolutiondatedDecember4,2012,SPP12009(PP),G.R.No.204379(AI)

42SeeCONSTITUTION,Art.III,Sec.1.

43SeeRepublicActNo.7941(1995),Sec.23.

44SeeRepublicActNo.7941(1995),Sec.3.

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45Seeforinstance,IrisMarionYoung,JusticeandthePoliticsofDifference,(2011).

46ANGGALINGPINOY(AG)inG.R.No.204428.

47Supranote4.

48SeeforinstanceAssociationofSmallLandownersv.DAR,G.R.No.78742,July14,1989[perCruzJ.]on
allowingpaymentofjustcompensationincashandbonds:"...Wedonotmindadmittingthatacertaindegree
ofpragmatismhasinfluencedourdecisiononthisissue,butafterallthisCourtisnotacloisteredinstitution
removedfromtherealitiesanddemandsofsocietyoroblivioustotheneedforitsenhancement."

49CONSTITUTION,Art.VI,Sec.5,par.1.

50Supranote2.

51Supranote4.

52SeeAngarav.ElectoralCommission,G.R.No.L45081,July15,1936.

TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

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