Escudero lauds SC ruling on party-list groups

Senator Chiz Escudero lauded the Supreme Court for stopping the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from disqualifying four party-list groups from next year’s mid-term polls.

“I am in agreement with the status quo ante order issued by the Supreme Court. Party-list groups should not be deprived of their right to participate in the 2013 elections until the matter is resolved with finality,” Escudero said.

The Comelec had earlier disqualified Ako Bicol, the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (Apec), 1st Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy Inc. (1-CARE), and Alliance of Rural Concerns from taking part in next year’s polls supposedly because they do not represent marginalized sectors.

The four groups said the Comelec had violated their right to due process when the poll body disqualified them.

“The party-list system is part of our political infrastructure. It is enshrined in our Constitution no less. At the very least, the issue should be treated with the utmost diligence and assiduousness,” Escudero said.

The senator had earlier questioned the Comelec move to disqualify the four groups.

There are presently 43 party-list groups holding 56 seats in the House of Representatives. Fifty-eight party-list seats will be contested in next year’s mid-term elections.

The Constitution allocates 20 percent of the seats in the House for party-list groups, each of which can hold up to a maximum of three seats.

Escudero said he is hopeful that the Supreme Court will settle the issue with finality soon.

“Party-list groups should not be deprived of the right to participate next year by default until such time that the issues are resolved with finality,” the senator said.#