38 groups clinch 58 House seats
The Commission on Elections on Tuesday proclaimed 24 more party-list organizations, the last batch of winners in the May 13 mid-term polls.
The proclamation brings to 38 the total number of party-list groups that will take the 58 seats reserved for them in the House of Representatives. See table above.
The winners were proclaimed on the basis of 26.72 million votes cast in the party-list race.
Of the 38 proclaimed groups, 28 were incumbents. Ten – OFW Family, Magdalo, ACT-CIS, Agri, Angkla, 1-Sagip, 1-BAP, Abakada, Ama and Ang Nars – were first-timers.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the three seats allotted to Buhay might still be reduced if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the disqualified Senior Citizens party, which ranked No. 10 in the party-list races.
Lawmakers protested the Comelec decision to disqualify the Senior Citizens party-list despite the huge number of votes garnered by the group.
Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong and Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao supported the appeal of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to lift the disqualification in view of the “tremendous confidence” that Filipino voters showed for the group.
Datumanong, a former Justice secretary, said the Speaker’s appeal to the Comelec was rational and justified, and should be given weight.
“The people have spoken through the ballots, and they want Senior Citizens back in Congress to once again represent the marginalized sector of elderly citizens. We urge the Comelec to heed Speaker Belmonte’s reasonable appeal by lifting the disqualification of Senior Citizens and proclaim its victory in the party-list elections,” Datumanong said.
He said the 671,916 votes garnered by Senior Citizens based on the latest Comelec tally put the group on the 10th spot, providing a convincing reason for the poll body to lift the disqualification of Senior Citizens.
“The disqualification did not discourage nor stop the Filipino voters from choosing Senior Citizens during the last elections. For them, Senior Citizens has served well and deserves another chance to continue rendering vital services to our elderly,” Datumanong said.
Aggabao, vice chairman of the House committee on ways and means, said that the millions of country’s senior citizens deserve representation in Congress.
Aggabao said Senior Citizens should be judged on the basis of its performance and delivery of services.
“And who else can better judge its performance but the voters themselves? The overwhelming votes won by Senior Citizens provide a qualifying basis for its membership in the 16th Congress,” Aggabao said.
Earlier, Belmonte said senior citizens now constitute about 17 percent of the country’s population for which it certainly deserves to be represented in Congress as a marginalized sector. He said the party and the sector it represents should not suffer for whatever unlawful agreements were entered into by its nominees.
But on Tuesday, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines added its voice to election watchdogs that questioned the credibility of the May 13 polls.
In a strongly worded statement, the CBCP- National Secretariat for Social Action, said that the recent mid-term national election makes a mockery of the country’s democracy.
“The Commission on Election, which is mandated to manage and protect the electoral processes, created public mistrust among the Filipinos, thus making questionable the authenticity of the result of the 2013 automated election,” the statement said.
The Comelec has come under fire for the use of some 78,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines during the elections, some 18,000 of which failed to transmit results on time. With Maricel V. Cruz and Vito Barcelo