THE Commmission on Elections (Comelec) has recognized 144 party-list groups through Resolution 8744, Friday morning.

Some of those who were approved are 1-Ako Babaeng Astig Aasenso (1-ABAA), Abante Tribung Makabayan (ATM), Act Teachers, Adhikaing Alay ng Marino sa Sambayanan Inc. (Alon), Akbayan Citizens Action Party (Akbayan), Batang Iwas sa Droga Foundation Inc. (Bida), Bayan Muna, Gabriela, One Advocacy for Health Progress and Opportunity (1-Ahapo), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and Yes We Can Inc.

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Controversial group Ang Ladlad was included in the list as ordered by the Supreme Court (SC) in its recent ruling.

Earlier, the SC stopped the poll body, through a temporary restraining order (TRO), from implementing its November 11 and December 17, 2009 resolutions that rejected the gay group from participating in the party-list elections.

Ang Ladlad is a group of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs) who has been on the news lately for being denied by the Comelec, citing the group advocates "sexual immorality" and "immoral doctrines."

The poll body chose to deny other party-list organizations that failed to participate in the last two preceding elections or obtain at least two percent of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two preceding elections, the resolution cited.

Printing of ballots

Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said that with the approved party-list groups out, the ballot to be used for the 2010 elections would be shorter since they have earlier thought of these groups to reach 200.

"Were at 144, it might be shorter which is good... because it is a shorter ballot and that's what we'd like," said Larrazabal.

Printing of the ballots will begin on January 25 with the verification of the ballot face.

Only the acronyms of the groups will be printed on the ballot alphabetically together with its corresponding numbers that they can later on use for their campaigns.

The nominees of the organizations would also be made public so that the people can do a background check if they like, although the groups need not campaign their nominees.

"You're voting for the organization and not the nominee," reminded the Comelec official.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez added that as far as the commission en banc is concerned, the list is already final.

But just like Ang Ladlad, denied groups could still appeal their case to the SC.

The SC earlier assured that they will finish all election-related cases before the printing of the ballots.

Last elections, 93 party-list groups were allowed to run by the commission. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)