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SC urged to postpone party list polls


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SC URGED TO POSTPONE PARTY LIST POLLS: 1 ANG BATAS, party list group principally representing the urban poor and the professionals, is asking the Supreme Court to postpone the elections for party list groups from May 2013 to October 2013, to coincide with the barangay elections.

In an urgent motion signed by lawyer Maribel Domado, general counsel of 1 ANG BATAS, the party list group also asked the Supreme Court to direct the Commission on Elections to include in its review the qualifications of all party list groups, including those already accredited and allowed to join the May 2013 polls, according to a new set of guidelines which the tribunal laid down in its decision promulgated on April 02, 2013 involving 52 party list groups.

In that decision, the Court ruled that party list groups no longer needed to represent only the marginalized and the underprivileged, saying that even other sectors can now be accredited and allowed to run in any party list elections, as long as their advocacies and programs are focused on the general well being of the citizenry.

POSTPONEMENT NECESSARY TO RATIONALIZE PARTY LIST SYSTEM: In its urgent motion seeking the postponement of the party list elections from May to October 2013, 1 ANG BATAS argued that the holding of the elections in October is made necessary by the new ruling of the Supreme Court.

This is so because postponing the party list polls is “a necessary step towards rationalizing the party list system of representation, as provided for by the 1987 Constitution and Republic Act 7941, because the qualifications of party list organizations shall already be determined according to a definite set of guidelines coming from this Honorable Court itself”.

1 ANG BATAS said the postponement will not derail the entirety of the May 13 elections, as the election for other positions can proceed as scheduled. The party list also argue that the postponement and the holding of the party list elections in October 2013 will not be an additional financial burden for the government since the barangay elections is going to be held in the month anyway.

EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE INVOKED: In seeking a review of the qualifications of all party lists groups, including those already accredited and already allowed to run in the May 2013 elections, 1 ANG BATAS argued that this “would in fact be fulfilling the Constitutional guarantee of equal protection, and would ensure that only the party list groups that have complied with the Honorable Supreme Court’s guidelines would be voted upon.”

“Therefore, Petitioner is respectfully praying that this case be immediately remanded to the Comelec likewise and for the poll body to be directed likewise to review its decision insofar as Petitioner is concerned, and determine if Petitioner is qualified to become a party list organization under the guidelines which this Honorable Court has issued in the case of the 52 other party list organizations,” 1 ANG BATAS added.
It also said: “This plea of Petitioner is anchored on the legal truth that when the Supreme Court lays down a rule, that rule should be followed in any and all cases involving the same set of facts, pursuant to the Constitutional equal protection clause…”

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