The Commission on Elections today promulgated a Resolution ordering the automatic review of party-list groups who have pending petitions for registration and setting for hearing accredited party-list groups or organizations which are already existing and which have filed a manifestation of intent to participate in the 2013 National and Local Elections.
In Resolution No. 9513, the COMELEC said “it is necessary and indispensible for the Commission En Banc to review and affirm the grant of registration and accreditation to party-list groups and organizations in view of its role in ensuring that only those parties, groups, or organizations with the requisite character consistent with the purpose of the party-list system is registered and accredited to participate in the party-list system of representation.”
The COMELEC said all pending cases where a Division grants the Petition for Registration of a Party-list group, the records shall be forwarded to the Commission En Banc for automatic review within five (5) days from the promulgation of the Resolution without need of a motion for reconsideration.
“It shall be understood that a party-list group or organization shall not be deemed accredited without affirmation from the Commission En Banc of the Division’s ruling. For this purpose, the provisions of Rule 19 of the 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure shall be suspended,” the COMELEC ruled.
Rule 19 of the 1993 COMELEC Rules of Procedure sets the guidelines for filing Motions for Reconsideration before the Poll body. Section 4, Rule 1 of the same Rules of Procedure, however, authorizes the suspension of the Rules or any portion thereof in the interest of justice and in order to obtain the speedy disposition of all cases pending before the Commission.
The COMELEC En Banc will also set ‘Summary Evidentiary Hearings’ for purposes of determining the party-list groups “continuing compliance with the requirements of Republic Act 7941 (Party-List System Act) and the guidelines in the Ang Bagong Bayani case.”.
If found non-compliant, the COMELEC shall cancel the registration of the following:
(a) Party-list groups or organizations which are already registered and accredited and will participate in the May 13, 2013 Elections, provided that the Commission En Banc has not passed upon the grant of their respective Petitions for Registration; and
(b) Party-list groups or organizations which are existing and retained in the list of Registered Party-List Parties per Resolution No. 9412, promulgated on 27 April 2012, and which have filed their respective Manifestations of Intent to Participate in the Party-List System of Representation in the May 13, 2013 Elections.
The Supreme Court in Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Party v. Commission on Elections, emphasized that “in the end, the role of the COMELEC is to see to it that only those Filipinos who are ‘marginalized and underrepresented’ become members of Congress under the party-list system, Filipino style.”
The High Court, in the same landmark ruling, also laid down guidelines culled from the law and the Constitution to assist the Commission in determining whether parties and organizations comply with the requirements of the law. ###