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BANAT v.

COMELEC
Facts:
On 27 June 2002, BANAT filed a Petition to Proclaim the Full Number of Party-List
Representatives Provided by the Constitution, docketed as NBC No. 07-041 (PL) before the
NBC.BANAT filed its petition because “the Chairman and the Members of the COMELEC have
recently been quoted in the national papers that the COMELEC is duty bound to and shall
implement the Veterans ruling, that is, would apply the Panganiban formula in allocating party-list
seats.” There were no intervenors in BANAT’s petition before the NBC.BANAT filed a
memorandum on 19 July 2007.
On 9 July 2007, the COMELEC, sitting as the NBC, promulgated NBC Resolution No.
07-60.NBC Resolution No. 07-60 proclaimed 13 parties as winners in the party-list elections.
Pursuant to NBC Resolution No. 07-60, the COMELEC, acting as NBC, promulgated NBC
Resolution No. 07-72, which declared the additional seats allocated to the appropriate parties.
Thereafter, acting on BANAT’s petition, the NBC promulgated NBC Resolution No. 07-88
declaring BANAT’s petition as moot and academic. Hence, this petition by BANAT. Meanwhile,
on 9 July 2007, Bayan Muna, Abono, and A Teacher asked the COMELEC, acting as NBC, to
reconsider its decision to use the Veterans formula as stated in its NBC Resolution No. 07-60
because the Veterans formula is violative of the Constitution and of Republic Act No. 7941 (R.A.
No. 7941).On the same day, the COMELEC denied reconsideration during the proceedings of the
NBC.

Issues:
1. Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list representatives in Section 5(2), Article VI of the
Constitution mandatory or merely a ceiling?
2. Is the two percent threshold prescribed in Section 11(b) of RA 7941constitutional?
3. How shall the party-list representative seats be allocated?
4. Does the Constitution prohibit the major political parties from participating in the party-list
elections? If not, can the major political parties be barred from participating in the party-list
elections?

Held:
1.
No. Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution states that the “House of Representatives
shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed b
law.” The House of Representatives shall be composed of district representatives and party-list
representatives. The Constitution allows the legislature to modify the number of the members of
the House of Representatives.
Section 5(2), Article VI of the Constitution, on the other hand, states the ratio of party-
list representatives to the total number of representatives. We compute the number of seats
available to party-list representatives from the number of legislative districts. On this point, we do
not deviate from the first formula in Veterans, thus

Number of seats
Number of seats available to
available to legislative districts
x .20 = party-list representatives
.80
This formula allows for the corresponding increase in the number of seats available for party-list
representatives whenever a legislative district is created by law. Since the 14th Congress of the
Philippines has 220 district representatives, there are 55 seats available to party-
list representatives.

220
x .20 = 55
.80

After prescribing the ratio of the number of party-list representatives to the total number of
representatives, the Constitution left the manner of allocating the seats available to party-
list representatives to the wisdom of the legislature.

2. Yes, but only insofar as allocation of additional seats is concerned. The two percent threshold
makes it mathematically impossible to achieve the maximum number of available party list seats
when the number of available party list seats exceeds 50.The continued operation of the two
percent threshold in the distribution of the additional seats frustrates the attainment of the
permissive ceiling that 20% of the members of the House of Representatives shall consist of
party-list representatives.
To illustrate: There are 55 available party-list seats. Suppose there are 50 million votes
cast for the 100 participants in the party list elections. A party that has two percent of the votes
cast, or one million votes, gets a guaranteed seat. Let us further assume that the first 50 parties
all get one million votes. Only 50 parties get a seat despite the availability of 55 seats. Because of
the operation of the two percent threshold, this situation will repeat itself even if we increase the
available party-list seats to 60 seats and even if we increase the votes cast to 100 million. Thus,
even if the maximum number of parties get two percent of the votes for every party, it is always
impossible for the number of occupied party-list seats to exceed 50 seats as long as the two
percent threshold is present. The two percent threshold presents an unwarranted obstacle tothe
full implementation of Section 5(2), Article VI of the Constitution and prevents the attainment of
“the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of
Representatives.”

3.In determining the allocation of seats for party-list representatives under Section 11 of R.A.
No. 7941, the following procedure shall be observed:
a. The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to the lowest based
on the number of votes they garnered during the elections;
b. The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes
cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one guaranteed seat each;
c. Those garnering sufficient number of votes, according to the ranking in paragraph 1, shallbe
entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes until all theadditional seats
are allocated;
d. Each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats.
In computing the additional seats, the guaranteed seats shall no longer be included
because they have already been allocated, at one seat each, to every two-percenter. Thus, the
remaining available seats for allocation as “additional seats” are the maximum seats reserved
under the Party List System less the guaranteed seats. Fractional seats are disregarded in the
absence of a provision in R.A. No. 7941 allowing for a rounding off of fractional seats.

4. No. Neither the Constitution nor R.A. No. 7941 prohibits major political parties from
participating in the party-list system. On the contrary, the framers of the Constitution clearly
intended the major political parties to participate in party-list elections through their sectoral
wings. In fact, the members of the Constitutional Commission voted down, 19-22, any permanent
sectoral seats and in the alternative the reservation of the party-list system to the sectoral groups.
In defining a “party” that participates in party-list elections as either “a political party or a sectoral
party,” R.A. No. 7941 also clearly intended that major political parties will participate in the party-
list elections. Excluding the major political parties in party-list elections is manifestly against the
Constitution, the intent of the Constitutional Commission, and R.A. No.7941.This Court cannot
engage in socio-political engineering and judicially legislate the exclusion of major political parties
from the party-list elections in patent violation of the Constitution and the law.
Read together, R.A. No. 7941 and the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission
state that major political parties are allowed to establish, or form coalitions with, sectoral
organizations for electoral or political purposes. There should not be a problem if, for example,
the Liberal Party participates in the party-list election through the Kabataang Liberal ng Pilipinas
(KALIPI), itssectoral youth wing. The other major political parties can thus organize, or affiliate
with, their chosen sector or sectors. To further illustrate, the Nacionalista Party can establish a
fisherfolk wing to participate in the party-list election, and this fisherfolk wing can field its fisherfolk
nominees. Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI) can do the same for the urban poor