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Atong Paglaum Inc. v.

Commission on Elections

Facts:

In line with the provisions in the Constitution and existing laws parties, groups, and
organizations who wish to participate in the 13 May 2013 elections must be
registered with the Commission on Elections (Comelec). They must submit the
necessary paperwork along with the names of their nominees who will be
representing their party.

13 petitioners were denied registration by the Comelec on grounds based on the


rules set by Ang Bagong Bayani v. Comelec and RA 7941.

In addition, the petitioners were not able to secure mandatory injunction from the
court causing their names to be excluded in the printing of the official ballot.

Meanwhile, the Comelec scheduled summary evidentiary hearings in evaluating the


continued compliance of existing parties who wish to participate in the 13 May 2013
elections. The Comelec disqualified 39 parties from joining the elections by
cancelling their registration and accreditation with the exception of Ako Bicol
Political Party, who retained registration and accreditation as a political party but
were effectively denied participation.

These 39 parties were able to secure a mandatory injunction from the court and
thus were able to have their names included in the official ballot.

Comelecs reasons in cancelling or denying registration, thus disqualifying the


petitioners from the elections, is all or among the following:

1. They were not marginalized and underrepresented


2. Their nominees were not qualified under provisions in the Ang Bagong Bayani
and/or RA 7941
3. Their nominees were not part of the sector they wish to represent
4. Their constituency already has existing district representatives
5. Lack to existing track record
6. Untruthful statements in submitted memorandum
7. Failure to prove membership base

54 petitions for Certiorari and Petitions for Certiorari and Prohibition were filed to
the Supreme Court by the 52 party-list groups and organizations who were
disqualified from the 13 May 2013 elections.

The Supreme Court issued a status quo ante order for all the petitions.
Issues:

Did the COMELEC commit grave abuse of discretion when they disqualified the
petitioners from taking part in the 13 May 2013 party-list elections by denying their
new petitions for registration or through the cancellation of their existing
registration and accreditation as party-list organizations? No, it did not.

Should the criteria prescribed in Ang Bagong Bayani and Barangay Association for
National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) v. COMELECT used for qualifying
for the party-list elections be applied in the coming 13 May 2013 elections? YES.

Ruling:

The Court decided that the COMELEC in disqualifying the petitioners based on the
grounds set by rulings in Ang Bagong Bayani and BANAT did not commit grave
abuse of discretion since they only followed the prevailinsg jurisprudence.

In response to the issue on the criteria used for the disqualification of the
petitioners, the Court has decided to remand all the petitions to the COMELEC.

The Comelec disqualified the petitioners on two grounds; that national, regional,
and sectoral groups must represent the marginalized and underrepresented
sectors and that all nominee must belong to the sectors they wish to represent. This
is contrary to the 1987 Constitution and RA 7941.

The petitions will once again be evaluated and subject to summary evidentiary
hearings by the Comelec. The qualifications for those who wish to participate in the
coming 13 May 2013 elections will be as follows:

1. (1) National Parties or Organizations, (2) Regional Parties or Organizations, (3)


Sectoral Parties and organizations

2. National and Regional Parties do not need to be organized along sectoral lines
and do not need to represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors

3. Political parties may field candidates provided that (1) they register under the
party-list system and (2) do not field candidates in legislative district
elections. If they do field candidates in the legislative district elections, they
can only participate through their sectoral wing, an independent party linked
through a coalition.

4. Sectoral parties or organizations may either be marginalized and


underrepresented or lacking in well-defined political constituencies

5. Majority of the members of sectoral parties or organizations that represent


the marginalized and underrepresented or those who lack well-defined
constituencies must belong to the sectors they represent. The nominees
must either belong to the sector they wish to represent or must have a track
record of advocacy for their respective sectors. The nominees of national and
regional parties or organizations must be bona-fide members of such parties
or organizations.

6. National, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations shall not be


disqualified if some of their nominees are disqualified as long as they have at
least one qualified nominee.

For the 13 petitions granted Status Quo Ante orders but were not able to file for
mandatory injuction, they will be subject to the parameters for qualifications for the
party-list systems set by the Court with their qualification to be determined by the
COMELEC. They shall not participate in the 13 May 2013 elections.

For the 41 petitions which were granted the mandatory injunction and whose names
were included in the printing of the official election ballot, they will be remanded to
the COMELEC and subject to the qualifications set by the Court for the party list
system and are to participate in the 13 May 2013 elections.