Party-list vote count to restart

Posted on May 20, 2013

CANVASSING OF votes for party-list groups will resume today after it was suspended by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) last week to give way for the proclamation of senators and pending resolution of disqualification cases, a poll official said yesterday.

Comelec Commissioner Lucenito N. Tagle yesterday said in a text message that he expects the canvassing of votes for party-list groups to be finished in "about one week."

The poll body Monday last week suspended the canvassing of votes for party-list groups as delays had stalled the canvassing of votes for senators. A total of 123 groups participated in the elections on May 13.

Comelec Commissioner Ma. Gracia Cielo "Grace" M. Padaca told reporters on Saturday that the commission will today deliberate on the inclusion of 12 disqualified party-list groups in the canvassing of votes which will be a "factor" in the computation of seats in the House of Representatives.

The 12 groups were disqualified the second time by the Comelec on May 6 after the Supreme Court ordered a review of the eligibility of 54 groups -- which were de-listed in the initial round -- based on a broader interpretation of the Party-List System Law by allowing groups that have a "well-defined political constituency" and not only those representing the marginalized sector to seek a congressional seat.

The disqualified party-lists are Agapay ng Indigenous Peoples Rights Alliance, Abang Lingkod, Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy, Ang Galing Pinoy, Atong Paglaum, Coalition of Association of Senior Citizens in the Philippines, Social Movement for Active Reform and Transparency, 1st Kabalikat ng Bayan Ginhawang Sangkatauhan, and the True Marcos Loyalist Association of the Philippines.

Cocofed-Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Binhi-Partido ng Magsasaka para sa mga Magsasaka, and Kaagapay ng Nagkakaisang Agilang Pilipinong Magsasaka were also barred from joining the polls.

Proclamation of the 12 senators was completed on Saturday after those of former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia A. Villar, San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor "JV" G. Ejercito, and reelectionist Sen. Gregorio B. Honasan II.

They joined former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chairman Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares; Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo "Sonny" M. Angara; Paolo Benigno "Bam" A. Aquino IV, cousin of President Benigno S.C. Aquino III; Maria Lourdes Nancy S. Binay, daughter of Vice-President Jejomar C. Binay; and reelectionists Alan Peter S. Cayetano, Francis "Chiz" Joseph G. Escudero, Lorna Regina "Loren" B. Legarda, Aquilino Martin "Koko" D. Pimentel III and Antonio F. Trillanes IV.

All incoming senators will have a six-year term beginning June 30 until June 2019, while incoming party-list groups will have a three-year term starting June 30 until June 2016. -- Daryll Edisonn D. Saclag