MANILA (Updated) -- Fourteen out of 58 party-list seats up for grabs in the recently concluded midterm polls have been awarded on Friday by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
"The Comelec, sitting as NBOC, resolves to partially proclaim the 14 party-list groups as initial winners in the party-list elections of May 13, 2013, entitled to one guaranteed seat," said the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) Resolution 0006-13.
Entitled to a seat in the House of Representatives are Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (Buhay); Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment Through Action Cooperation and Harmony Towards Educational Reforms (A Teacher); Bayan Muna; 1st Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy, Inc. (1-Care); Akbayan Citizens' Action Party (Akbayan); Ako Bicol Political Party (AKB); Abono Party-list (Abono); OFW Family Club (OFW Family); Gabriela Women's Party (Gabriela); Cooperative Natcco Network Party (Coop Natcco); Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines (AGAP); Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (Cibac); Magdalo Para sa Pilipino (Magdalo); and An Waray, according to Commissioner Elias Yusoph.
These groups have already garnered the minimum two percent of the total votes cast in the party-list race to gain election.
"There are votes for party-list groups still to be canvassed by the NBOC and in order not to prejudice the proclamation of other parties, which may later on be established to be entitled to a seat or additional seats, only party-list groups that obtained at least two percent of the votes cast for party-list will each be allocated with one guaranteed seat," said the resolution.
It was the same resolution that was read during the NBOC session Friday morning that went without the proclamation ceremony featuring the raising of the hands of the winning candidates.
Based on the latest partial, official tally of the NBOC, Buhay had 1,255,734 votes followed by A Teacher (1,033,873); Bayan Muna (945,639); 1-Care (931,303); Akbayan (820,351); AKB (761,115); Abono (753,161); OFW Family (735,854); Gabriela (706,194); Coop-Natcco (640,180); Agap (588,095); Cibac (578,320); Magdalo (561,613); and An Waray (540,210).
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the 14 groups are also likely to gain additional seats during the second round of allocation of seats.
"They are already safe. In fact, these 14 groups will only be praying that they get more seats. They are almost certain to have two seats but we cannot proclaim yet since there are still computations to be made," said Brillantes.
In determining the allocation of seats for party-list representatives, the commission is set to use the guidelines set by the Supreme Court (SC) in its 2009 ruling on the Banat versus Comelec case.
Under the said ruling, the participating party-lists shall be ranked from the highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they garnered during the May 13 polls before undergoing two rounds of allocation of seats.
For the first round, the party-lists receiving at least two percent of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one guaranteed seat each.
For the second round, the remainder of the 58 total party-list sits will be filled up when the percentage of votes garnered by groups meeting the two percent quota is multiplied by the remaining available seats, which is sourced from the difference between the maximum number of seats reserved under the Party-List System and the guaranteed seats of the "two-percenters."
Citing as an example, the Ako Bicol Political Party (AKB) currently has 761,115 votes as of 5:20 p.m. Monday.
This would mean that in meeting the two percent quota, it is already entitled to one guaranteed seat in the 16th Congress after the first round of allocation.
For the second round, AKB's 2.69 percent (.0269) of votes shall be multiplied to the difference between 58 (maximum number of seats for party-lists) and 13 (total number of party-lists meeting two percent quota), which is 45. Using the formula, AKB is set to be allocated one additional seat.
However, the guidelines provide that winning party-list groups cannot have more than three seats.
Also, the SC provided that the Comelec shall assign one party-list seat to each of the parties next in rank, including those that were not able to meet the two percent quota, until all the 58 available seats are completely distributed.
Back in 2009, the poll body had proclaimed additional 29 party-list representatives after applying the Banat versus Comelec ruling to the results of the 2007 elections.
This is already the third formula used by the Comelec in determining the allocation of party-list seats following the "2-4-6 rule" as provided by the Party-List System Act (Republic Act 7941) and the "Panganiban formula" as shown in the Veterans Federation Party vs Comelec case in 2000.
As for the next batch of proclamation, Brillantes said the 58-man party-list line-up might be completed by Monday.
"We are almost through with the computation so by Monday we may finish it already. If ever there are still some seats needed to be left out, maybe just one, two or three. So it's also likely that not all the remaining 44 will be proclaimed on Monday," said Brillantes.
Meanwhile, the Comelec is inclined to exclude the votes accumulated by the 12 party-list groups that were already disqualified but were included in the official ballots of the May 13 polls.
Brillantes said he is personally in favor of excluding the votes for the 12 disqualified groups since the poll body has already ruled on their application to participate in the midterm elections.
"We [commission en banc] are still having a debate whether we will count their votes or not… but personally, I believe, we should not count their votes anymore," he said.
To note, there are 12 party-list groups that were disqualified by the Comelec en banc but were included in the official ballots.
The 12 groups are Agapay ng Indigenous Peoples Rights Alliance, Inc. (A-Ipra); Abang Lingkod Party-List (Abang Lingkod); Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (Anad); Ang Galing Pinoy (AG); Atong Paglaum, Inc. (Atong Paglaum); Kaagapay ng Nagkakaisang Agilang Pilipinong Magsasaka (KAP); Coalition of Senior Citizens in the Philippines, Inc. (Senior Citizens); Social Movement for Active Reform and Transparency (Smart); 1st Kabalikat ng Bayan Ginhawang Sangkatauhan (1st Kabagis); The True Marcos Loyalist (for God, Country and People) Association of the Philippines, Inc. (Bantay); Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc. (Cocofed); and Binhi-Partido ng mga Magsasaka Para sa mga Magsasaka (Binhi).
They are still entitled to appeal their cases to the Supreme Court with Senior Citizens, Binhi, and Anad already asking the High Court for a temporary restraining order (TRO).
Senior Citizens, for instance, received 671,916 votes, which was good enough for 10th place based on the latest partial, official tally of the board. It met the two percent vote requirement but it was not proclaimed because the Supreme Court has yet to reverse its disqualification.
"We decided to exclude it (Senior Citizens) since it still has a pending petition with the Supreme Court after we disqualified them. We are just waiting for the SC to decide on it (whether to issue a status quo ante order or not)," said Brillantes.
The poll chief said the Comelec is willing to wait for the SC until Monday before the commission comes out with its decision on how to handle the votes of the 12 groups.
"They need to get status quo ante orders from the SC because if there is none, our position is, unless the SC acts on their petition, we will push through with the proclamation," said Brillantes.
The votes amassed by the 12 groups would be crucial in the total number of votes cast in the party-list race since it is used for the computation of the seat allocation. (Virgil Lopez/HDT/Sunnex)