THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday proclaimed 55 winners in the party-list race, with ACT-CIS getting the biggest number of votes and securing three seats in the House of Representatives for the incoming 19th Congress.
“The party-list groups enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized, under-represented, and those lacking well-defined political constituencies to be represented in Congress,” Comelec Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan said during the proclamation ceremony streamed live on the Comelec Facebook page.
ACT-CIS, or the Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement Support, claims to represent the “oppressed and the abused.”
It is chaired by broadcaster Erwin T. Tulfo, brother of Senator-elect and radio broadcaster Rafael “Raffy” T. Tulfo, whose wife Jocelyn P. Tulfo is one of the group’s nominees. It was also the top party-list group in the 2019 elections.
The top six leading party-list groups according to Comelec’s official count are: ACT-CIS with 2.1 million votes; 1-Rider PL, 1 million; TINGOG, 886,959; 4PS, 848,237; AKO BICOL, 816,445; and SAGIP, 780,456.
These supposedly advocate crime prevention, road safety, regional representation, poverty reduction, and social amelioration, respectively.
“Such groups are given a stronger voice so that all sectors may be included as our nation moves toward development and prosperity,” Mr. Pangarungan said.
The 55 winning groups will occupy a total of 62 seats, or about a fifth of the House of Representatives. The 2nd to 6th in rank get two each and the rest one seat each.
Comelec also proclaimed the Kabataan and Gabriella party-list groups despite pending disqualification petitions.
“I think it’s so unfair if simply because you have a pending case questioning the qualification or the accreditation of the party list, that you will not proclaim that party list,” Election Commissioner George Erwin M. Garcia told the ABS-CBN News Channel on Thursday.
“It is based on our discretion, so in this case, we exercise our discretion and will proceed to proclaim these party-list organizations.”
Progressive party-list group Bayan Muna, which placed second in the 2019 elections failed to secure a seat in the May 9 voting.
Political experts have said that Comelec should review the country’s party-list system, which they said does not geniunely reflect the law’s intended purpose.
Under the Party-List System Act, elected officials from these groups must belong to “marginalized and underrepresented sectors.”
In this year’s elections, 177 party-list groups were accredited by the Comelec, which has said that any changes in the party-list system would require legislation by Congress.
Election Watchdog Kontra Daya released a study this year indicating that seven out of every 10 party-list groups have been hijacked by big businesses and political clans. — John Victor D. Ordoñez