The Supreme Court on Tuesday required the Commission on Elections to comment on the petition filed by several winning party-list groups questioning the allocation of their seats in the House of Representatives for the incoming 17th Congress.
The SC ordered the Comelec to submit its answer to the petition filed last June 17 by party-list groups An Waray, Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines and Citizens’ Battle against Corruption.
SC spokesman Theodore Te said the Comelec was given 10 days from notice to comply with the order.
The petition named eight other winning party-list groups—Ating Agapay Sentrong Samahan ng mga Obrero Inc. (Aasenso), Serbisyo sa Bayan Party (SBP), Magdalo Para sa Pilipino (Magdalo), Una ang Edukasyon (1-Ang Edukasyon), Manila Teachers Savings and Loan Association Inc. (Manila Teachers), Kusug Tausug, Aangat Tayo and Agbiag Timpuyog Ilocano Inc.—as other respondents who were likewise directed by the SC to file their respective comments.
Petitioners specifically asked the high tribunal to “correct the allegedly disproportionate allocation of seats for the party-list representatives for the 17th Congress.”
They questioned the formula applied by the Comelec and sought additional seats in Congress, which were instead distributed to the eight party-lists at the bottom of the list.
Under the formula, the number of additional seat is determined by multiplying the percentage of votes garnered by the party-list (quotient of the number of votes garnered and total number of votes cast) and the number of remaining seats available. The whole integer in the product represents the number of additional seats to be assigned to a party-list.
In the initial round, the party-lists that received at least two percent of the total votes cast for the party-list system are entitled to one guaranteed seat each.
In this case, 12 groups were able to meet the two percent threshold, thus resulting tin 12 seats guaranteed for them.
In the second round, the same 12 groups were allocated one additional seat each based on the whole number of the product between the percentage of their respective votes and the remaining available party-list seats.
In the last round, the 35 remaining seats were distributed to party-list groups that were not able to meet the two percent threshold as well as those not given additional seats.