SC: Fill up 32 remaining party list seats
Court voids 2-percent rule
MANILA, Philippines – Thirty-two partylist seats at the House of Representatives will be filled up after the Supreme Court voided the two-percent rule to determine whether a partylist should get a second or third seat in Congress.
In a 35-page decision penned by Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the high tribunal granted a petition filed by the Barangay (village) Association for National Advancement (Banat) and set aside a resolution by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Voting 8-7, the court also affirmed its decision barring major political parties from participating in partylist elections directly or indirectly.
With the ruling, the party list groups Bayan Muna and Buhay will get the maximum three seats each and two seats each for the Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac), Gabriela, Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC), A-Teacher, Akbayan, Alagad, Coop-Natco, Butil, Batas, ARC, Anakpawis, Abono, Amin, Agap, and An Waray.
There are currently 23 partylist lawmakers. The law allows a maximum of 55.
“We declare unconstitutional the two percent threshold in the distribution of additional partylist seats. The allocation of additional seats under the PartyList System shall be in accordance with the procedure used in of this Decision. Major political parties are disallowed from participating in party-list elections,” the court said.
The court said that if the two-percent threshold were followed, it would present “an unwarranted obstacle to the full implementation of Section 5(2), Article 6 of the Constitution and prevents the attainment of the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives.”
Under law, a partylist group must have garnered two percent of the total votes cast for the party list election to get one seat.
According to the Comelec resolution, a partylist group must have garnered another two percent of the total votes cast, or a total of four percent, to qualify for a second seat, or a total of six percent to qualify for the maximum three seats.
But the Supreme Court said that according to the Party List Law, the second and third seat should be based on the total votes garnered by the particular party group, not the total votes cast for all partylist groups.