March 29, 2010
The Commission on Elections has the continuing obligation to screen partylist nominees especially if there are continuing violations of the law, according to the watchdog group Kontra Daya.
“The Comelec has the continuing power and the duty to defend the partylist system at any time from the onslaught of those who seek to abuse it and violate the letter and intent of the Constitution and the Partylist Law to the prejudice of the marginalized and underrepresented,” the group said.
“It would not be just if the Comelec washes its hand off any responsibility to check the abuses of the partylist system by nominees who are disqualified by law, yet continue to take advantage of the system,” it added.
Kontra Daya said that Comelec has the motu propio power to cancel at any time even after election day itself, the registration of any party list group using its motu propio powers under Section 6 of RA 7941 or the Partylist Law on the grounds, inter alia, that “(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections” OR (6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition.”
“The statement by the Comelec that it is leaving it up to the voters to weed out spurious partylists and nominees is an abandonment of its responsibility of upholding the Partylist Law and the rulings of the Supreme Court. The Comelec on its own may act to preserve the integrity of the party list system if it finds, even if no complaints are filed, that either the partylist organization or the nominee lacks the qualifications required by law and has abused the party list system in violation of the law,” the group said.
Kontra Daya earlier lamented that the guidelines set by the Comelec on accepting petitions to disqualify partylist nominees poses stumbling blocks to citizens groups. The Comelec has given only five days to file petitions to disqualify nominees. It will be charging a fee of P5,000 for every nominee that is being sought for disqualification.
The watchdog group said that there are so many questionable nominees, the filing fee alone would discourage actual petitions.
Some 185 partylist groups have already submitted their list of nominees as of the March 26, 2010 deadline.
Kontra Daya plans to submit to the Comelec its study of more than 30 partylist groups that have questionable nominees or nominees with links to the Arroyo government.