SC junks 1-Pacman's bid to obtain one more seat in Congress

THE Supreme Court (SC) junked on Tuesday the petition filed by One Patriotic Coalition of Marginalized Nationals (1-Pacman) assailing the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) decision to give them only two partylist seats in the House of Representatives.

In an en banc session, the magistrates affirmed the decision of Comelec, serving as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) last elections, to give 1-Pacman two partylist seats; one guaranteed seat and one additional seat out of the total 59 seats in Congress.

Having received only two seats, the partylist group filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus before the SC as it alleged that the Comelec-NBOC violated the pertinent provisions of the Republic Act 7941, or the Party-list System Act.

The petition also said the poll body violated the equal protection clause for failing to include 1-Pacman in the last round for the allocation of the remaining available seats and for failing to allocate one more additional seat from the remaining seats for partylist representatives in favor of 1-Pacman.

Last elections, 1-Pacman obtained more than 1.3 million votes, which translates to 4.04 percent of the total votes for partylist.

SC Spokesperson Theodore Te said that the Court found no grave abuse of discretion committed by Comelec as the poll body had relied on SC's decision in Banat v. Comelec.

In the said case: "the Court ruled that in computing additional seats, the guaranteed seats shall no longer be included because they have already been allocated, at one seat each, to every two percenter. Thus, the remaining available seats for allocation are the maximum seats reserved under the partylist system less the guaranteed seats."

According to the SC's ruling in Banat, the number of remaining seats shall be distributed proportionally to partylist (PL) groups receiving sufficient number of votes using the following formula: the percentage, (the quotient of the number of votes received by a partylist group) and the total number of votes cast for the partylist system multiplied by the number of remaining available seats. The whole integer of the product of the percentage and the remaining number of available seats corresponds to a PL groups' share in the remaining available seats.

In this case, 1-Pacman's percentage only amounted to 4.0466 percent. If such percentage is multiplied by 47, the product is only 1.901092, which gives petitioner only one more seat in addition to its guaranteed seat. (Sunnex)
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