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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
June-2001 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.M. No. P-00-1446 June 6, 2001 - PATERNO R. PLANTILLA v. RODRIGO G. BALIWAG

  • A.M. No. P-91-642 June 6, 2001 - SOLEDAD LAURO v. EFREN LAURO

  • G.R. No. 92328 June 6, 2001 - DAP MINING ASSO. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100579 June 6, 2001 - LEANDRO P. GARCIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113918 June 6, 2001 - MARCELINA G. TRINIDAD, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121272 June 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REYDERICK LAGO

  • G.R. No. 122353 June 6, 2001 - EVANGELINE DANAO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129534 & 141169 June 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NESTOR MACANDOG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138949 June 6, 2001 - UNION BANK OF THE PHIL. v. SEC

  • G.R. No. 138971 June 6, 2001 - PEZA v. RUMOLDO R FERNANDEZ

  • G.R. No. 139034 June 6, 2001 - DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139323 June 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CARLO ELLASOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140128 June 6, 2001 - ARNOLD P. MOLLANEDA v. LEONIDA C. UMACOB

  • G.R. No. 140277 June 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. GUILLERMO BALDAGO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141529 June 6, 2001 - FRANCISCO YAP, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142888 June 6, 2001 - EVELIO P. BARATA v. BENJAMIN ABALOS JR.

  • G.R. No. 143561 June 6, 2001 - JONATHAN D. CARIAGA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110335 June 18, 2001 - IGNACIO GONZALES, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1615 June 19, 2001 - WINNIE BAJET v. PEDRO M. AREOLA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1633 June 19, 2001 - ANTONIO and ELSA FORTUNA v. MA. NIMFA PENACO-SITACA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99433 June 19, 2001 - PROJECT BUILDERS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114944 June 19, 2001 - MANUEL C. ROXAS, ET AL. v. CONRADO M. VASQUEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120701 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JONATHAN CRISANTO

  • G.R. No. 123916 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LYNTON ASUNCION

  • G.R. No. 130605 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIX UGANAP, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132160 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO DE LEON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132223 June 19, 2001 - BONIFACIA P. VANCIL v. HELEN G. BELMES

  • G.R. No. 134895 June 19, 2001 - STA. LUCIA REALTY and DEV’T., ET AL. v. LETICIA CABRIGAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137164 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERT NUBLA

  • G.R. No. 137752 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERT AYUNGON

  • G.R. Nos. 138298 & 138982 June 19, 2001 - RAOUL B. DEL MAR v. PAGCOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139313 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORANTE LEAL

  • G.R. No. 140690 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NAZAR U. CHAVEZ

  • G.R. No. 141441 June 19, 2001 - JOSE SUAN v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 00-10-230-MTCC June 20, 2001 - RE: JULIAN C. OCAMPO III AND RENATO C. SAN JUAN

  • A.M. No. 00-11-521-RTC June 20, 2001 - RE: AWOL OF MS. LILIAN B. BANTOG

  • A.M. No. P-99-1346 June 20, 2001 - RESTITUTO L. CASTRO v. CARLOS BAGUE

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1606 June 20, 2001 - PATRIA MAQUIRAN v. LILIA G. LOPEZ

  • G.R. No. 84831 June 20, 2001 - PACENCIO ABEJARON v. FELIX NABASA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109666 June 20, 2001 - ROGERIO R. OLAGUER, ET AL. v. EUFEMIO DOMINGO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113564 June 20, 2001 - INOCENCIA YU DINO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115851 June 20, 2001 - LA JOLLA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127129 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLANDO CABAYA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128617 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CESAR BACUS

  • G.R. Nos. 129292-93 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARLENGEN DEGALA

  • G.R. No. 130524 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUDY MADIA

  • G.R. No. 131036 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DONATO DEL ROSARIO

  • G.R. Nos. 135976-80 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLAUDIO GALENO

  • G.R. No. 138629 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAMON CAMACHO

  • G.R. No. 139430 June 20, 2001 - EDI STAFF BUILDERS INTERNATIONAL v. FERMINA D. MAGSINO

  • G.R. Nos. 139445-46 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODRIGO GONZALES

  • G.R. No. 142304 June 20, 2001 - CITY OF MANILA v. OSCAR SERRANO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1342 June 21, 2001 - BISHOP CRISOSTOMO A. YALUNG, ET AL. v. ENRIQUE M. PASCUA

  • G.R. No. 108558 June 21, 2001 - ANDREA TABUSO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109197 June 21, 2001 - JAYME C. UY, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 111580 & 114802 June 21, 2001 - SHANGRI-LA INTERNATIONAL HOTEL MNGT. LTD. ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116200-02 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ELEUTERIO TAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131131 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ABELARDO SALONGA

  • G.R. No. 134138 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDMUNDO BRIONES AYTALIN

  • G.R. Nos. 135552-53 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ABEL ABACIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139542 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. INOCENCIO GONZALEZ

  • G.R. No. 140206 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO MATYAONG

  • G.R. No. 142023 June 21, 2001 - SANNY B. GINETE v. SUNRISE MANNING AGENCY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103068 June 22, 2001 - MEAT PACKING CORP. OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-96-1110 June 25, 2001 - MANUEL N. MAMBA, ET AL. v. DOMINADOR L. GARCIA

  • G.R. No. 116710 June 25, 2001 - DANILO D. MENDOZA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117857 June 25, 2001 - LUIS S. WONG v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128126 June 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAFAEL M. CATAPANG

  • G.R. No. 132051 June 25, 2001 - TALA REALTY SERVICES CORP. v. BANCO FILIPINO SAVINGS AND MORTGAGE BANK

  • G.R. No. 134068 June 25, 2001 - UNION BANK OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136221 June 25, 2001 - EQUATORIAL REALTY DEVELOPMENT v. MAYFAIR THEATER

  • G.R. No. 136382 June 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FIDEL ALBORIDA

  • G.R. Nos. 138439-41 June 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO PANGANIBAN

  • G.R. No. 141141 June 25, 2001 - PAGCOR v. CARLOS P. RILLORAZA

  • G.R. No. 141801 June 25, 2001 - SOLOMON ALVAREZ v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 143428 June 25, 2001 - SANDOVAL SHIPYARDS, ET AL. v. PRISCO PEPITO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 99-11-423-RTC June 26, 2001 - RE: Report on the Judicial Audit Conducted in the Regional Trial Court

  • A.M. No. RTJ-99-1461 June 26, 2001 - RICARDO DELA CRUZ v. HERMINIA M. PASCUA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-99-1486 June 26, 2001 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. ISMAEL SANCHEZ

  • G.R. Nos. 110547-50 & 114526-667 June 26, 2001 - JOSE SAYSON v. SANDIGANBAYAN ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120859 June 26, 2001 - METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY v. FRANCISCO Y. WONG

  • G.R. No. 123542 June 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO BULOS

  • G.R. Nos. 132848-49 June 26, 2001 - PHILROCK v. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY ARBITRATION COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133990 June 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. HECTOR MARIANO

  • G.R. No. 134764 June 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. BENJAMIN FABIA

  • G.R. Nos. 139626-27 June 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 143204 June 26, 2001 - HYATT TAXI SERVICES INC. v. RUSTOM M. CATINOY

  • G.R. Nos. 147589 & 147613 June 26, 2001 - ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130661 June 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO I. TORRES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135882 June 27, 2001 - LOURDES T. MARQUEZ v. ANIANO A. DESIERTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140001 June 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO BUENAFLOR

  • A.C. No. 3910 June 28, 2001 - JOSE S. DUCAT v. ARSENIO C. VILLALON, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 4073 June 28, 2001 - ARACELI SIPIN-NABOR v. BENJAMIN BATERINA

  • A.M. No. P-01-1480 June 28, 2001.

    AMADO S. CAGUIOA v. CRISANTO FLORA

  • A.M. No. P-99-1343 June 28, 2001 - ORLANDO T. MENDOZA v. ROSBERT M. TUQUERO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1576 June 28, 2001 - SIMPLICIO ALIB v. EMMA C. LABAYEN

  • G.R. No. 105364 June 28, 2001 - PHIL. VETERANS BANK EMPLOYEES UNION-N.U.B.E., ET AL. v. BENJAMIN VEGA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110813 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERNESTO PARDUA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110914 June 28, 2001 - ALFREDO CANUTO; JR., ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112453-56 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GERARDO LATUPAN

  • G.R. Nos. 112563 & 110647 June 28, 2001 - HEIRS OF KISHINCHAND HIRANAND DIALDAS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120630 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARCELO PALERMO

  • G.R. No. 131954 June 28, 2001 - ASELA B. MONTECILLO, ET AL v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

  • G.R. Nos. 132026-27 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO ABENDAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132362 June 28, 2001 - PIO BARRETTO REALTY DEV’T. CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132837 June 28, 2001 - JO CINEMA CORP., ET AL. v. LOLITA C. ABELLANA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133605 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN BARRIAS

  • G.R. No. 135846 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. NOEL ORTEGA

  • G.R. No. 138270 June 28, 2001 - SEA POWER SHIPPING ENTERPRISES INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142314 June 28, 2001 - MC ENGINEERING, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143723 June 28, 2001 - LITONJUA GROUP OF CO.’s., ET AL. v. TERESITA VIGAN

  • G.R. No. 144113 June 28, 2001 - EDWEL MAANDAL v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL

  • G.R. No. 144942 June 28, 2001 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. LA SUERTE CIGAR.

  • G.R. No. 146062 June 28, 2001 - SANTIAGO ESLABAN v. CLARITA VDA. DE ONORIO

  • A.M. No. 00 4-166-RTC June 29, 2001 - Re: Report on the Judicial Audit

  • A.M. No. 01-4-03-SC June 29, 2001 - HERNANDO PEREZ, ET AL. v. JOSEPH E. ESTRADA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-00-1380 June 29, 2001 - GLORIA O. DINO v. FRANCISCO DUMUKMAT

  • G.R. No. 110480 June 29, 2001 - BANGKO SILANGAN DEVELOPMENT BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111860 June 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS CLEDORO

  • G.R. No. 116092 June 29, 2001 - SUSANA VDA. DE COCHINGYAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118251 June 29, 2001 - METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY v. REGINO T. VERIDIANO II, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121597 June 29, 2001 - PHIL. NATIONAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125944 June 29, 2001 - DANILO SOLANGON, ET AL. v. JOSE AVELINO SALAZAR

  • G.R. No. 126396 June 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. FELIXBERTO LAO-AS

  • G.R. No. 128705 June 29, 2001 - CONRADO AGUILAR v. COMMERCIAL SAVINGS BANK, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129782 June 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BALWINDER SINGH, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131968 June 29, 2001 - ERNESTO PENGSON, ET AL v. MIGUEL OCAMPO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132059 June 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WENEFREDO DIMSON ASOY

  • G.R. No. 138598 June 29, 2001 - ASSET PRIVATIZATION TRUST v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144542 June 29, 2001 - FRANCISCO DELA PEÑA, ET AL v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

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    G.R. Nos. 147589 & 147613   June 26, 2001 - ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [G.R. No. 147589. June 26, 2001.]

    ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY (under the acronym OFW), represented herein by its secretary-general, MOHAMMAD OMAR FAJARDO, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS; CITIZENS DRUG WATCH; MAMAMAYAN AYAW SA DROGA; GO! GO! PHILIPPINES; THE TRUE MARCOS LOYALIST ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES; PHILIPPINE LOCAL AUTONOMY; CITIZENS MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT AND PEACE; CHAMBER OF REAL ESTATE BUILDERS ASSOCIATION; SPORTS & HEALTH ADVANCEMENT FOUNDATION, INC.; ANG LAKAS NG OVERSEAS CONTRACT WORKERS (OCW); BAGONG BAYANI ORGANIZATION and others under "Organizations/Coalitions" of Omnibus Resolution No. 3785; PARTIDO NG MASANG PILIPINO; LAKAS NUCD-UMDP; NATIONALIST PEOPLE’S COALITION; LABAN NG DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO; AKSYON DEMOKRATIKO; PDP-LABAN; LIBERAL PARTY; NACIONALISTA PARTY; ANG BUHAY HAYAANG YUMABONG; and others under "Political Parties" of Omnibus Resolution No. 3785, Respondents.

    [G.R. No. 147613. June 26, 2001.]

    BAYAN MUNA, Petitioner, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS; NATIONALIST PEOPLE’S COALITION (NPC); LABAN NG DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO (LDP); PARTIDO NG MASANG PILIPINO (PMP); LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP; LIBERAL PARTY; MAMAMAYANG AYAW SA DROGA; CREBA; NATIONAL FEDERATION OF SUGARCANE PLANTERS; JEEP; and BAGONG BAYANI ORGANIZATION, Respondents.

    D E C I S I O N


    PANGANIBAN, J.:


    The party-list system is a social justice tool designed not only to give more law to the great masses of our people who have less in life, but also to enable them to become veritable lawmakers themselves, empowered to participate directly in the enactment of laws designed to benefit them. It intends to make the marginalized and the underrepresented not merely passive recipients of the State’s benevolence, but active participants in the mainstream of representative democracy. Thus, allowing all individuals and groups, including those which now dominate district elections, to have the same opportunity to participate in party-list elections would desecrate this lofty objective and mongrelize the social justice mechanism into an atrocious veneer for traditional politics.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    The Case


    Before us are two Petitions under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, challenging Omnibus Resolution No. 3785 1 issued by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on March 26, 2001. This Resolution approved the participation of 154 organizations and parties, including those herein impleaded, in the 2001 party-list elections. Petitioners seek the disqualification of private respondents, arguing mainly that the party-list system was intended to benefit the marginalized and underrepresented; not the mainstream political parties, the non-marginalized or overrepresented.

    The Factual Antecedents

    With the onset of the 2001 elections, the Comelec received several Petitions for registration filed by sectoral parties, organizations and political parties. According to the Comelec," [v]erifications were made as to the status and capacity of these parties and organizations and hearings were scheduled day and night until the last party w[as] heard. With the number of these petitions and the observance of the legal and procedural requirements, review of these petitions as well as deliberations takes a longer process in order to arrive at a decision and as a result the two (2) divisions promulgated a separate Omnibus Resolution and individual resolution on political parties. These numerous petitions and processes observed in the disposition of these petition[s] hinder the early release of the Omnibus Resolutions of the Divisions which were promulgated only on 10 February 2001." 2

    Thereafter, before the February 12, 2001 deadline prescribed under Comelec Resolution No. 3426 dated December 22, 2000, the registered parties and organizations filed their respective Manifestations, stating their intention to participate in the party-list elections. Other sectoral and political parties and organizations whose registrations were denied also filed Motions for Reconsideration, together with Manifestations of their intent to participate in the party-list elections. Still other registered parties filed their Manifestations beyond the deadline.

    The Comelec gave due course or approved the Manifestations (or accreditations) of 154 parties and organizations, but denied those of several others in its assailed March 26, 2001 Omnibus Resolution No. 3785, which we quote:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "We carefully deliberated the foregoing matters, having in mind that this system of proportional representation scheme will encourage multi-partisan [sic] and enhance the inability of small, new or sectoral parties or organization to directly participate in this electoral window.

    "It will be noted that as defined, the ‘party-list system’ is a ‘mechanism of proportional representation’ in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives from national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof registered with the Commission on Elections.

    "However, in the course of our review of the matters at bar, we must recognize the fact that there is a need to keep the number of sectoral parties, organizations and coalitions, down to a manageable level, keeping only those who substantially comply with the rules and regulations and more importantly the sufficiency of the Manifestations or evidence on the Motions for Reconsiderations or Oppositions." 3

    On April 10, 2001, Akbayan Citizens Action Party filed before the Comelec a Petition praying that "the names of [some of herein respondents] be deleted from the ‘Certified List of Political Parties/Sectoral Parties/Organizations/Coalitions Participating in the Party List System for the May 14, 2001 Elections’ and that said certified list be accordingly amended." It also asked, as an alternative, that the votes cast for the said respondents not be counted or canvassed, and that the latter’s nominees not be proclaimed. 4 On April 11, 2001, Bayan Muna and Bayan Muna-Youth also filed a Petition for Cancellation of Registration and Nomination against some of herein respondents. 5

    On April 18, 2001, the Comelec required the respondents in the two disqualification cases to file Comments within three days from notice. It also set the date for hearing on April 26, 2001, 6 but subsequently reset it to May 3, 2001. 7 During the hearing, however, Commissioner Ralph C. Lantion merely directed the parties to submit their respective memoranda. 8

    Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the pace of the Comelec, Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party filed a Petition 9 before this Court on April 16, 2001. This Petition, docketed as GR No. 147589, assailed Comelec Omnibus Resolution No. 3785. In its Resolution dated April 17, 2001, 10 the Court directed respondents to comment on the Petition within a non-extendible period of five days from notice. 11

    On April 17, 2001, Petitioner Bayan Muna also filed before this Court a Petition, 12 docketed as GR No. 147613, also challenging Comelec Omnibus Resolution No. 3785. In its Resolution dated May 9, 2001, 13 the Court ordered the consolidation of the two Petitions before it; directed respondents named in the second Petition to file their respective Comments on or before noon of May 15, 2001; and called the parties to an Oral Argument on May 17, 2001. It added that the Comelec may proceed with the counting and canvassing of votes cast for the party-list elections, but barred the proclamation of any winner therein, until further orders of the Court.

    Thereafter, Comments 14 on the second Petition were received by the Court and, on May 17, 2001, the Oral Argument was conducted as scheduled. In an Order given in open court, the parties were directed to submit their respective Memoranda simultaneously within a non-extendible period of five days. 15

    Issues:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    During the hearing on May 17, 2001, the Court directed the parties to address the following issues:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "1. Whether or not recourse under Rule 65 is proper under the premises. More specifically, is there no other plain, speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law?

    "2. Whether or not political parties may participate in the party-list elections.

    "3. Whether or not the party-list system is exclusive to ‘marginalized and underrepresented’ sectors and organizations.

    "4. Whether or not the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in promulgating Omnibus Resolution No. 3785." 16

    The Court’s Ruling


    The Petitions are partly meritorious. These cases should be remanded to the Comelec which will determine, after summary evidentiary hearings, whether the 154 parties and organizations enumerated in the assailed Omnibus Resolution satisfy the requirements of the Constitution and RA 7941, as specified in this Decision.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    First Issue:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Recourse Under Rule 65

    Respondents contend that the recourse of both petitioners under Rule 65 is improper because there are other plain, speedy and adequate remedies in the ordinary course of law. 17 The Office of the Solicitor General argues that petitioners should have filed before the Comelec a petition either for disqualification or for cancellation of registration, pursuant to Sections 19, 20, 21 and 22 of Comelec Resolution No. 3307-A 18 dated November 9, 2000. 19

    We disagree. At bottom, petitioners attack the validity of Comelec Omnibus Resolution 3785 for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion, insofar as it allowed respondents to participate in the party-list elections of 2001. Indeed, under both the Constitution 20 and the Rules of Court, such challenge may be brought before this Court in a verified petition for certiorari under Rule 65.

    Moreover, the assailed Omnibus Resolution was promulgated by Respondent Commission en banc; hence, no motion for reconsideration was possible, it being a prohibited pleading under Section 1 (d), Rule 13 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure. 21

    The Court also notes that Petitioner Bayan Muna had filed before the Comelec a Petition for Cancellation of Registration and Nomination against some of herein respondents. 22 The Comelec, however, did not act on that Petition. In view of the pendency of the elections, Petitioner Bayan Muna sought succor from this Court, for there was no other adequate recourse at the time. Subsequent events have proven the urgency of petitioner’s action; to this date, the Comelec has not yet formally resolved the Petition before it. But a resolution may just be a formality because the Comelec, through the Office of the Solicitor General, has made its position on the matter quite clear.

    In any event, this case presents an exception to the rule that certiorari shall lie only in the absence of any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy. 23 It has been held that certiorari is available, notwithstanding the presence of other remedies, "where the issue raised is one purely of law, where public interest is involved, and in case of urgency." 24 Indeed, the instant case is indubitably imbued with public interest and with extreme urgency, for it potentially involves the composition of 20 percent of the House of Representatives.

    Moreover, this case raises transcendental constitutional issues on the party-list system, which this Court must urgently resolve, consistent with its duty to "formulate guiding and controlling constitutional principles, precepts, doctrines, or rules."25cralaw:red

    Finally, procedural requirements "may be glossed over to prevent a miscarriage of justice, when the issue involves the principle of social justice . . . when the decision sought to be set aside is a nullity, or when the need for relief is extremely urgent and certiorari is the only adequate and speedy remedy available." 26

    Second Issue:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Participation of Political Parties

    In its Petition, Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party contends that "the inclusion of political parties in the party-list system is the most objectionable portion of the questioned Resolution." 27 For its part, Petitioner Bayan Muna objects to the participation of "major political parties." 28 On the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor General, like the impleaded political parties, submits that the Constitution and RA No. 7941 allow political parties to participate in the party-list elections. It argues that the party-list system is, in fact, open to all "registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations." 29

    We now rule on this issue. Under the Constitution and RA 7941, private respondents cannot be disqualified from the party-list elections, merely on the ground that they are political parties. Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, provides that members of the House of Representatives may "be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Furthermore, under Sections 7 and 8, Article IX (C) of the Constitution, political parties may be registered under the party-list system.

    "SECTION 7. No votes cast in favor of a political party, organization, or coalition shall be valid, except for those registered under the party-list system as provided in this Constitution.

    "SECTION 8. Political parties, or organizations or coalitions registered under the party-list system, shall not be represented in the voters’ registration boards, boards of election inspectors, boards of canvassers, or other similar bodies. However, they shall be entitled to appoint poll watchers in accordance with law." 30

    During the deliberations in the Constitutional Commission, Comm. Christian S. Monsod pointed out that the participants in the party-list system may "be a regional party, a sectoral party, a national party, UNIDO, 31 Magsasaka, or a regional party in Mindanao." 32 This was also clear from the following exchange between Comms. Jaime Tadeo and Blas Ople: 33

    "MR. TADEO.

    Naniniwala ba kayo na ang party list ay pwedeng paghati-hatian ng UNIDO, PDP-Laban, PNP, Liberal at Nacionalista?

    MR. OPLE.

    Maaari yan sapagkat bukas ang party list system sa lahat ng mga partido."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Indeed, Commissioner Monsod stated that the purpose of the party-list provision was to open up the system, in order to give a chance to parties that consistently place third or fourth in congressional district elections to win a seat in Congress. 34 He explained: "The purpose of this is to open the system. In the past elections, we found out that there were certain groups or parties that, if we count their votes nationwide, have about 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 votes. But they were always third or fourth place in each of the districts. So, they have no voice in the Assembly. But this way, they would have five or six representatives in the Assembly even if they would not win individually in legislative districts. So, that is essentially the mechanics, the purpose and objectives of the party-list system."cralaw virtua1aw library

    For its part, Section 2 of RA 7941 also provides for "a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, . . .." Section 3 expressly states that a "party" is "either a political party or a sectoral party or a coalition of parties." More to the point, the law defines "political party" as "an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or platform, principles and policies for the general conduct of government and which, as the most immediate means of securing their adoption, regularly nominates and supports certain of its leaders and members as candidates for public office."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Furthermore, Section 11 of RA 7941 leaves no doubt as to the participation of political parties in the party-list system. We quote the pertinent provision below:chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    "x       x       x

    "For purposes of the May 1998 elections, the first five (5) major political parties on the basis of party representation in the House of Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress of the Philippines shall not be entitled to participate in the party-list system.

    "x       x       x

    Indubitably, therefore, political parties — even the major ones — may participate in the party-list elections.

    Third Issue:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Marginalized and Underrepresented

    That political parties may participate in the party-list elections does not mean, however, that any political party — or any organization or group for that matter — may do so. The requisite character of these parties or organizations must be consistent with the purpose of the party-list system, as laid down in the Constitution and RA 7941. Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, provides as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "(1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.

    (2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector." (Emphasis supplied.)

    Notwithstanding the sparse language of the provision, a distinguished member of the Constitutional Commission declared that the purpose of the party-list provision was to give "genuine power to our people" in Congress. Hence, when the provision was discussed, he exultantly announced: "On this first day of August 1986, we shall, hopefully, usher in a new chapter to our national history, by giving genuine power to our people in the legislature." 35

    The foregoing provision on the party-list system is not self-executory. It is, in fact, interspersed with phrases like "in accordance with law" or "as may be provided by law" ; it was thus up to Congress to sculpt in granite the lofty objective of the Constitution. Hence, RA 7941 was enacted. It laid out the statutory policy in this wise:chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    "SECTION 2. Declaration of Policy. — The State shall promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall develop and guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall provide the simplest scheme possible."cralaw virtua1aw library

    The Marginalized and Underrepresented

    to Become Lawmakers Themselves

    The foregoing provision mandates a state policy of promoting proportional representation by means of the Filipino-style party-list system, which will "enable" the election to the House of Representatives of Filipino citizens,

    1. who belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties; and

    2. who lack well-defined constituencies; but

    3. who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole.

    The key words in this policy are "proportional representation," "marginalized and underrepresented," and "lack [of] well-defined constituencies."cralaw virtua1aw library

    "Proportional representation" here does not refer to the number of people in a particular district, because the party-list election is national in scope. Neither does it allude to numerical strength in a distressed or oppressed group. Rather, it refers to the representation of the "marginalized and underrepresented" as exemplified by the enumeration in Section 5 of the law; namely, "labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals."cralaw virtua1aw library

    However, it is not enough for the candidate to claim representation of the marginalized and underrepresented, because representation is easy to claim and to feign. The party-list organization or party must factually and truly represent the marginalized and underrepresented constituencies mentioned in Section 5. 36 Concurrently, the persons nominated by the party-list candidate-organization must be "Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Finally, "lack of well-defined constituenc[y]" refers to the absence of a traditionally identifiable electoral group, like voters of a congressional district or territorial unit of government. Rather, it points again to those with disparate interests identified with the "marginalized or underrepresented."cralaw virtua1aw library

    In the end, the role of the Comelec is to see to it that only those Filipinos who are "marginalized and underrepresented" become members of Congress under the party-list system, Filipino-style.

    The intent of the Constitution is clear: to give genuine power to the people, not only by giving more law to those who have less in life, but more so by enabling them to become veritable lawmakers themselves. Consistent with this intent, the policy of the implementing law, we repeat, is likewise clear: "to enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, Organizations and parties, . . ., to become members of the House of Representatives." Where the language of the law is clear, it must be applied according to its express terms. 37

    The marginalized and underrepresented sectors to be represented under the party-list system are enumerated in Section 5 of RA 7941, which states:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "SECTION 5. Registration. — Any organized group of persons may register as a party, organization or coalition for purposes of the party-list system by filing with the COMELEC not later than ninety (90) days before the election a petition verified by its president or secretary stating its desire to participate in the party-list system as a national, regional or sectoral party or organization or a coalition of such parties or organizations, attaching thereto its constitution, by-laws, platform or program of government, list of officers, coalition agreement and other relevant information as the COMELEC may require: Provided, that the sector shall include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, Overseas workers, and professionals."cralaw virtua1aw library

    While the enumeration of marginalized and underrepresented sectors is not exclusive, it demonstrates the clear intent of the law that not all sectors can be represented under the party-list system. It is a fundamental principle of statutory construction that words employed in a statute are interpreted in connection with, and their meaning is ascertained by reference to, the words and the phrases with which they are associated or related. Thus, the meaning of a term in a statute may be limited, qualified or specialized by those in immediate association. 38

    The Party-List System Desecrated

    by the OSG Contentions

    Notwithstanding the unmistakable statutory policy, the Office of the Solicitor General submits that RA No. 7941 "does not limit the participation in the party-list system to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors of society." 39 In fact, it contends that any party or group that is not disqualified under Section 6 40 of RA 7941 may participate in the elections. Hence, it admitted during the Oral Argument that even an organization representing the super rich of Forbes Park or Dasmariñas Village could participate in the party-list elections. 41

    The declared policy of RA 7941 contravenes the position of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). We stress that the party-list system seeks to enable certain Filipino citizens — specifically those belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties — to be elected to the House of Representatives. The assertion of the OSG that the party-list system is not exclusive to the marginalized and underrepresented disregards the clear statutory policy. Its claim that even the super-rich and overrepresented can participate desecrates the spirit of the party-list system.

    Indeed, the law crafted to address the peculiar disadvantages of Payatas hovel dwellers cannot be appropriated by the mansion owners of Forbes Park. The interests of these two sectors are manifestly disparate; hence, the OSG’s position to treat them similarly defies reason and common sense. In contrast, and with admirable candor, Atty. Lorna Patajo-Kapunan 42 admitted during the Oral Argument that a group of bankers, industrialists and sugar planters could not join the party-list system as representatives of their respective sectors. 43

    While the business moguls and the mega-rich are, numerically speaking, a tiny minority, they are neither marginalized nor underrepresented, for the stark reality is that their economic clout engenders political power more awesome than their numerical limitation. Traditionally, political power does not necessarily emanate from the size of one’s constituency; indeed, it is likely to arise more directly from the number and amount of one’s bank accounts.

    It is ironic, therefore, that the marginalized and underrepresented in our midst are the majority who wallow in poverty, destitution and infirmity. It was for them that the party-list system was enacted — to give them not only genuine hope, but genuine power; to give them the opportunity to be elected and to represent the specific concerns of their constituencies; and simply to give them a direct voice in Congress and in the larger affairs of the State. In its noblest sense, the party-list system truly empowers the masses and ushers a new hope for genuine change. Verily, it invites those marginalized and underrepresented in the past — the farm hands, the fisher folk, the urban poor, even those in the underground movement — to come out and participate, as indeed many of them came out and participated during the last elections. The State cannot now disappoint and frustrate them by disabling and desecrating this social justice vehicle.

    Because the marginalized and underrepresented had not been able to win in the congressional district elections normally dominated by traditional politicians and vested groups, 20 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives were set aside for the party list system. In arguing that even those sectors who normally controlled 80 percent of the seats in the House could participate in the party-list elections for the remaining 20 percent, the OSG and the Comelec disregard the fundamental difference between the congressional district elections and the party-list elections.

    As earlier noted, the purpose of the party-list provision was to open up the system, 44 in order to enhance the chance of sectoral groups and organizations to gain representation in the House of Representatives through the simplest scheme possible. 45 Logic shows that the system has been opened to those who have never gotten a foothold within it — those who cannot otherwise win in regular elections and who therefore need the "simplest scheme possible" to do so. Conversely, it would be illogical to open the system to those who have long been within it — those privileged sectors that have long dominated the congressional district elections.

    The import of the open party-list system may be more vividly understood when compared to a student dormitory "open house," which by its nature allows outsiders to enter the facilities. Obviously, the "open house" is for the benefit of outsiders only, not the dormers themselves who can enter the dormitory even without such special privilege. In the same vein, the open party-list system is only for the "outsiders" who cannot get elected through regular elections otherwise; it is not for the non-marginalized or overrepresented who already fill the ranks of Congress.

    Verily, allowing the non-marginalized and overrepresented to vie for the remaining seats under the party-list system would not only dilute, but also prejudice the chance of the marginalized and underrepresented, contrary to the intention of the law to enhance it. The party-list system is a tool for the benefit of the underprivileged; the law could not have given the same tool to others, to the prejudice of the intended beneficiaries.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    This Court, therefore, cannot allow the party-list system to be sullied and prostituted by those who are neither marginalized nor underrepresented. It cannot let that flicker of hope be snuffed out. The clear state policy must permeate every discussion of the qualification of political parties and other organizations under the party-list system.

    Refutation of the

    Separate Opinions


    The Separate Opinions of our distinguished colleagues, Justices Jose C. Vitug and Vicente V. Mendoza, are anchored mainly on the supposed intent of the framers of the Constitution as culled from their deliberations.

    The fundamental principle in constitutional construction, however, is that the primary source from which to ascertain constitutional intent or purpose is the language of the provision itself. The presumption is that the words in which the constitutional provisions are couched express the objective sought to be attained. 46 In other words, verba legis still prevails. Only when the meaning of the words used is unclear and equivocal should resort be made to extraneous aids of construction and interpretation, such as the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission or Convention, in order to shed light on and ascertain the true intent or purpose of the provision being construed. 47

    Indeed, as cited in the Separate Opinion of Justice Mendoza, this Court stated in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary 48 that "the debates and proceedings of the constitutional convention [may be consulted] in order to arrive at the reason and purpose of the resulting Constitution . . . only when other guides fail as said proceedings are powerless to vary the terms of the Constitution when the meaning is clear. Debates in the constitutional convention ‘are of value as showing the views of the individual members, and as indicating the reason for their votes, but they give us no light as to the views of the large majority who did not talk, much less of the mass or our fellow citizens whose votes at the polls gave that instrument the force of fundamental law. We think it safer to construe the constitution from what appears upon its face.’ The proper interpretation therefore depends more on how it was understood by the people adopting it than in the framers’ understanding thereof."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, relative to the party-list system, is couched in clear terms: the mechanics of the system shall be provided by law. Pursuant thereto, Congress enacted RA 7941. In understanding and implementing party-list representation, we should therefore look at the law first. Only when we find its provisions ambiguous should the use of extraneous aids of construction be resorted to.

    But, as discussed earlier, the intent of the law is obvious and clear from its plain words. Section 2 thereof unequivocally states that the party-list system of electing congressional representatives was designed to "enable underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole . . ." The criteria for participation is well defined. Thus, there is no need for recourse to constitutional deliberations, not even to the proceedings of Congress. In any event, the framers’ deliberations merely express their individual opinions and are, at best, only persuasive in construing the meaning and purpose of the constitution or statute.

    Be it remembered that the constitutionality or validity of Sections 2 and 5 of RA 7941 is not an issue here. Hence, they remain parts of the law, which must be applied plainly and simply.

    Fourth Issue:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Grave Abuse of Discretion

    From its assailed Omnibus Resolution, it is manifest that the Comelec failed to appreciate fully the clear policy of the law and the Constitution. On the contrary, it seems to have ignored the facet of the party-list system discussed above. The OSG as its counsel admitted before the Court that any group, even the non-marginalized and overrepresented, could field candidates in the party-list elections.

    When a lower court, or a quasi-judicial agency like the Commission on Elections, violates or ignores the Constitution or the law, its action can be struck down by this Court on the ground of grave abuse of discretion. 49 Indeed, the function of all judicial and quasi-judicial instrumentalities is to apply the law as they find it, not to reinvent or second-guess it. 50

    In its Memorandum, Petitioner Bayan Muna passionately pleads for the outright disqualification of the major political parties — Respondents Lakas-NUCD, LDP, NPC, LP and PMP — on the ground that under Comelec Resolution No. 4073, they have been accredited as the five (six, including PDP-Laban) major political parties in the May 14, 2001 elections. It argues that because of this, they have the "advantage of getting official Comelec Election Returns, Certificates of Canvass, preferred poll watchers . . ." We note, however, that this accreditation does not refer to the party-list election, but, inter alia, to the election of district representatives for the purpose of determining which parties would be entitled to watchers under Section 26 of Republic Act No. 7166.

    What is needed under the present circumstances, however, is a factual determination of whether respondents herein and, for that matter, all the 154 previously approved groups, have the necessary qualifications to participate in the party-list elections, pursuant to the Constitution and the law.

    Bayan Muna also urges us to immediately rule out Respondent Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga (MAD), because "it is a government entity using government resources and privileges." This Court, however, is not a trier of facts. 51 It is not equipped to receive evidence and determine the truth of such factual allegations.

    Basic rudiments of due process require that respondents should first be given an opportunity to show that they qualify under the guidelines promulgated in this Decision, before they can be deprived of their right to participate in and be elected under the party-list system.

    Guidelines for Screening

    Party-List Participants

    The Court, therefore, deems it proper to remand the case to the Comelec for the latter to determine, after summary evidentiary hearings, whether the 154 parties and organizations allowed to participate in the party-list elections comply with the requirements of the law. In this light, the Court finds it appropriate to lay down the following guidelines, culled from the law and the Constitution, to assist the Comelec in its work.

    First, the political party, sector, organization or coalition must represent the marginalized and underrepresented groups identified in Section 5 of RA 7941. In other words, it must show — through its constitution, articles of incorporation, by laws, history, platform of government and track record — that it represents and seeks to uplift marginalized and underrepresented sectors. Verily, majority of its membership should belong to the marginalized and underrepresented. And it must demonstrate that in a conflict of interests, it has chosen or is likely to choose the interest of such sectors.

    Second, while even major political parties are expressly allowed by RA 7941 and the Constitution to participate in the party-list system, they must comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling "Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors . . . to be elected to the House of Representatives." In other words, while they are not disqualified merely on the ground that they are political parties, they must show, however, that they represent the interests of the marginalized and underrepresented. The counsel of Aksyon Demokratiko and other similarly situated political parties admitted as much during the Oral Argument, as the following quote shows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    I am not disputing that in my question. All I am saying is, the political party must claim to represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors?

    ATTY. KAPUNAN:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Yes, Your Honor, the answer is yes." 52

    Third, in view of the objections 53 directed against the registration of Ang Buhay Hayaang Yumabong, which is allegedly a religious group, the Court notes the express constitutional provision that the religious sector may not be represented in the party-list system. The extent of the constitutional proscription is demonstrated by the following discussion during the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "MR. OPLE. . . .

    In the event that a certain religious sect with nationwide and even international networks of members and supporters, in order to circumvent this prohibition, decides to form its own political party in emulation of those parties I had mentioned earlier as deriving their inspiration and philosophies from well-established religious faiths, will that also not fall within this prohibition?

    MR. MONSOD.

    If the evidence shows that the intention is to go around the prohibition, then certainly the Comelec can pierce through the legal fiction." 54

    The following discussion is also pertinent:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "MR. VILLACORTA.

    When the Commissioner proposed "EXCEPT RELIGIOUS GROUPS," he is not, of course, prohibiting priests, imams or pastors who may be elected by, say, the indigenous community sector to represent their group.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    REV. RIGOS.

    Not at all, but I am objecting to anybody who represents the Iglesia ni Kristo, the Catholic Church, the Protestant Church et cetera." 55

    Furthermore, the Constitution provides that "religious denominations and sects shall not be registered." 56 The prohibition was explained by a member 57 of the Constitutional Commission in this wise:" [T]he prohibition is on any religious organization registering as a political party. I do not see any prohibition here against a priest running as a candidate. That is not prohibited here; it is the registration of a religious sect as a political party." 58

    Fourth, a party or an organization must not be disqualified under Section 6 of RA 7941, which enumerates the grounds for disqualification as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "(1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association organized for religious purposes;

    (2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;

    (3) It is a foreign party or organization;

    (4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation, organization, whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan election purposes;

    (5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections;

    (6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition;

    (7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or

    (8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails to obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the constituency in which it has registered." 59

    Note should be taken of paragraph 5, which disqualifies a party or group for violation of or failure to comply with election laws and regulations. These laws include Section 2 of RA 7941, which states that the party-list system seeks to "enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties . . . to become members of the House of Representatives." A party or an organization, therefore, that does not comply with this policy must be disqualified.

    Fifth, the party or organization must not be an adjunct of, or a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the government. By the very nature of the party-list system, the party or organization must be a group of citizens, organized by citizens and operated by citizens. It must be independent of the government. The participation of the government or its officials in the affairs of a party-list candidate is not only illegal 60 and unfair to other parties, but also deleterious to the objective of the law: to enable citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors and organizations to be elected to the House of Representatives.

    Sixth, the party must not only comply with the requirements of the law; its nominees must likewise do so. Section 9 of RA 7941 reads as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    SECTION 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. — No person shall be nominated as party-list representative unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than one (1) year immediately preceding the day of the election, able to read and write, a bona fide member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election.

    In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to continue in office until the expiration of his term."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Seventh, not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors; so also must its nominees. To repeat, under Section 2 of RA 7941, the nominees must be Filipino citizens "who belong to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties." Surely, the interests of the youth cannot be fully represented by a retiree; neither can those of the urban poor or the working class, by an industrialist. To allow otherwise is to betray the State policy to give genuine representation to the marginalized and underrepresented.

    Eighth, as previously discussed, while lacking a well-defined political constituency, the nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole. Senator Jose Lina explained during the bicameral committee proceedings that "the nominee of a party, national or regional, is not going to represent a particular district . . ." 61

    Epilogue

    The linchpin of this case is the clear and plain policy of the law: "to enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of Representatives."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Crucial to the resolution of this case is the fundamental social justice principle that those who have less in life should have more in law. The party-list system is one such tool intended to benefit those who have less in life. It gives the great masses of our people genuine hope and genuine power. It is a message to the destitute and the prejudiced, and even to those in the underground, that change is possible. It is an invitation for them to come out of their limbo and seize the opportunity.

    Clearly, therefore, the Court cannot accept the submissions of the Comelec and the other respondents that the party-list system is, without any qualification, open to all. Such position does not only weaken the electoral chances of the marginalized and underrepresented; it also prejudices them. It would gut the substance of the party-list system. Instead of generating hope, it would create a mirage. Instead of enabling the marginalized, it would further weaken them and aggravate their marginalization.

    In effect, the Comelec would have us believe that the party-list provisions of the Constitution and RA 7941 are nothing more than a play on dubious words, a mockery of noble intentions, and an empty offering on the altar of people empowerment. Surely, this could not have been the intention of the framers of the Constitution and the makers of RA 7941.

    WHEREFORE, this case is REMANDED to the Comelec, which is hereby DIRECTED to immediately conduct summary evidentiary hearings on the qualifications of the party-list participants in the light of the guidelines enunciated in this Decision. Considering the extreme urgency of determining the winners in the last party-list elections, the Comelec is directed to begin its hearings for the parties and organizations that appear to have garnered such number of votes as to qualify for seats in the House of Representatives. The Comelec is further DIRECTED to submit to this Court its compliance report within 30 days from notice hereof.

    The Resolution of this Court dated May 9, 2001, directing the Comelec "to refrain from proclaiming any winner" during the last party-list election, shall remain in force until after the Comelec itself will have complied and reported its compliance with the foregoing disposition.

    This Decision is immediately executory upon the Commission on Elections’ receipt thereof. No pronouncement as to costs.

    SO ORDERED.

    Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Kapunan, Pardo, Buena and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.

    Davide, Jr., J., concurs in the result.

    Ynares-Santiago, J., abroad on official business.

    Separate Opinions


    MENDOZA, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    I vote to dismiss the petitions in these cases. I will presently explain my vote, but before I do so it seems to me necessary to state briefly the facts and the issues.

    THE FACTS

    Petitioner Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party (OFW for short) is the political agency of the Overseas Filipino Workers Movement, a non-stock and non-profit organization. On the other hand, petitioner Bayan Muna is a political party representing peasants, workers, women, the youth, and other marginalized sectors. Both were accredited by the Commission on Elections in connection with the election for party-list representatives on May 14, 2001.

    Petitioners brought these suits — in G.R. No. 147589, for certiorari and, in G.R. No. 147613, for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus — for the purpose of seeking the annulment of the registration of the following parties classified as "political parties" and "organizations/coalitions" by the Commission on Elections:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Political Parties:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP),

    Lakas NUCD-UMDP (LAKAS NUCD-UMDP),

    Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition (NPC),

    Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP),

    Aksyon Demokratiko (AKSYON),

    Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-LABAN),

    Liberal Party (LP),

    Nacionalista Party (NP),

    Ang Buhay Hayaang Yumabong

    Organizations/Coalitions:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Citizens Drug Watch Foundation, Inc. (DRUG WATCH),

    Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga (MAD),

    Go! Go! Philippines Movement (GO, GO PHILIPPINES),

    The True Marcos Loyalist (MARCOS LOYALIST),

    Philippine Local Autonomy Movement, Inc. (PLAM),

    Citizens Movement for Justice, Economy Environment and Peace (JEEP),

    Chamber of Real Estate Builders Association (CREBA),

    Sports and Health Advancement Foundation, Inc. (SHAF),

    Ang Lakas ng Overseas Contract Workers (OCW),

    Bagong Bayani Organization (BAGONG BAYANI),

    National Federation of Sugar Planters (NFSP)

    R.A. No. 7941, 5 provides that any party, organization, or coalition desiring to participate in the party-list system must apply to the COMELEC for registration not later than 90 days before the election. On the other hand, 4 of the same law requires that any party, organization, or coalition which is already registered with the COMELEC should declare its intention to participate in the party-list system 90 days before the election.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    In its Resolution No. 3785, dated March 26, 2001, the COMELEC passed upon the applications for registration or manifestations of intention of several parties, organizations, and coalitions. On March 28, 2001, it issued a certified list of parties, organizations, or coalitions entitled to participate in the May 14, 2001 elections. All in all, 148 parties, organizations, and coalitions were accredited, including private respondents herein.

    Petitioners OFW and Bayan Muna contend that the party-list system is exclusively for the "marginalized and underrepresented" sectors of the Philippine society and that there is no way by which other sectors not so identified, much less the major political parties, can participate in the party-list elections. Petitioner Bayan Muna in particular calls attention to the fact that seven of the respondent political parties (PMP, Lakas NUCD-UMDP, NPC, LDP, AKSYON, PDP-LABAN, and LP) are actually the major political parties in the country today as determined by the COMELEC in its Resolution No. 4073, dated May 3, 2001, and charges that the rest of private respondents are "pseudo party-list organizations" which are actually satellites of the major political parties and of big businesses.

    Bayan Muna argues that the party-list system is intended to address the problem of ineffective representation of underprivileged sectors of society and enhance direct people’s action and participation in the decision-making process to counter-balance the territorial representation of 80% of the House of Representatives, and that to allow participation in the party-list system of respondent political parties and parties/coalitions would be to defeat this purpose because these parties do not represent "marginalized and underrepresented" sectors. 1 For this reason, Bayan Muna prays that R.A. No. 7941, 11, par. 2 be declared unconstitutional on the ground that, by banning the five major political parties from participating in the party-list system only in the May 1998 elections, it leaves them free to participate in subsequent elections.

    On the other hand, the COMELEC argues:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    [B]oth the Constitution and the Party-List System Act clearly allow, and they do not prohibit, the participation of "registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations" to participate in the party-list system, whether or not said parties or organizations represent the marginalized and underrepresented sectors of society. 2

    It cites the proviso of Art. VI, 5(2) of the Constitution that

    For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector,

    as proof that "marginalized" sectors are not entitled to permanent seats in the House of Representatives. In any event, it is contended that petitioners’ recourse is not to this Court but to the COMELEC because whether a party, organization, or coalition represents "marginalized and underrepresented" sectors is a question of fact, and this Court is not a trier of facts. The COMELEC states that, as a matter of fact, petitioner Bayan Muna has pending petitions to disqualify, based on this ground, respondents NPC, LDP, PMP, LAKAS NUCD-UMDP, LP, MAD, CREBA, NFSP, JEEP, and BAGONG BAYANI.

    THE ISSUES

    The issues in these cases actually come down to the following:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (1) Whether the petitions filed in these cases should be dismissed for failure of petitioners to exhaust administrative remedies in the COMELEC; and

    (2) Whether the party-list system is exclusively for "marginalized and underrepresented" sectors of society.

    We shall deal with these issues in the order they are stated.

    DISCUSSION

    I.


    While it is true that petitioner Bayan Muna has filed petitions for the disqualification of respondents, the fact is that when the petitions in these cases were filed on April 16 and 17, 2001, the elections were just a month away, and there was doubt whether a resolution of the petitions for disqualifications was forthcoming. In fact, up to the time of the elections on May 14, 2001, the cases were still unresolved. Petitioners, therefore, had no other "plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law" within the meaning of Rule 65, 1-2 of the Code of Civil Procedure and were justified in resorting to the extraordinary remedies of certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus.

    From another point of view, there is no need for petitioners to await formal resolution of their petitions as the COMELEC had already indicated in press statements its stand that parties, organizations, or coalitions, whether or not representing "marginalized and underrepresented" sectors, could participate in the election for the party-list system — a fact confirmed by it in its comment and memorandum in these cases. There is thus no basis for insisting that petitioners should have exhausted administrative remedies before coming to this Court.

    Nor are the issues raised in these cases factual as the statement of the second issue above plainly shows. It is only if the question whether the party-list system is limited to "marginalized and underrepresented" sectors is answered in the affirmative will it be necessary to determine the status of respondents.

    II.


    At the core of the controversy in these cases is the following provision of the Constitution:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    ARTICLE VI, 5(1). The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.

    (2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law except the religious sector.

    To carry out this provision of the Constitution, Congress enacted the Party-List System Act (R.A. No. 7941), the pertinent provisions of which read:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    SECTION 2. Declaration of Party. — The State shall promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall develop and guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall provide the simplest scheme possible.

    SECTION 11. Number of Party-List Representatives. — The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum (20%) of the total number of the members of the House of Representatives including those under the party-list.

    For purposes of the May 1998 elections, the first five (5) major political parties on the basis of party representation in the House of Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress of the Philippines shall not be entitled to participate in the party-list system.

    In determining the allocation of seats for the second vote, the following procedure shall be observed:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (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 seat each; Provided, That those garnering more than two percent (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes: Provided, finally, That each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats.

    "The most important single factor in determining the intention of the people from whom the Constitution emanated is the language in which it is expressed." 3 The text of Art. VI, 5(1)(2) is quite clear. It provides for a party-list system of "registered, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations," not for sectoral representation. Only for three consecutive terms following the ratification of the Constitution and only with respect to one-half of the seats allotted to party-list representatives does it allow sectoral representation. Textually, Art. VI, 5(1)(2) provides no basis for petitioners’ contention that whether it is sectoral representation or party-list system the purpose is to provide exclusive representation for "marginalized sectors," by which term petitioners mean the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, and youth sectors.

    Indeed, the two systems of representation are not identical. Party list representation is a type of proportional representation designed to give those who otherwise cannot win a seat in the House of Representatives in district elections a chance to win if they have sufficient strength on a nationwide basis. (In this sense, these groups are considered "marginalized and underrepresented.") Under the party-list system, representatives are elected from multi-seat districts in proportion to the number of votes received in contrast to the "winner-take-all" single-seat district in which, even if a candidate garners 49.9% of the votes, he gets no seat.

    Thus, under the party-list system, a party or candidate need not come in first in order to win seats in the legislature. On the other hand, in the "winner-take-all" single-seat district, the votes cast for a losing candidate are wasted as only those who vote for the winner are represented. To the extent then that it assures parties or candidates a percentage of seats in the legislature that reflects their public support, the party-list system enables marginalized and underrepresented sectors (such as, but not limited to, the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, and youth sectors) to obtain seats in the House of Representatives. Otherwise, the party-list system does not guarantee to these sectors seats in the legislature.

    This is the method of representation adopted in the Constitution as answer to the problem of underrepresentation.

    In arguing that the party-list system is exclusively for the "marginalized and underrepresented sectors," petitioner Bayan Muna argues that the constitutional intent in adopting the party-list system must be searched for in the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission.

    The polestar of constitutional interpretation has been stated by this Court in Civil Liberties Union v. Executive Secretary, 4 as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    While it is permissible in this jurisdiction to consult the debates and proceedings of the constitutional convention in order to arrive at the reason and purpose of the resulting Constitution, resort thereto may be had only when other guides fail as said proceedings are powerless to vary the terms of the Constitution when the meaning is clear. Debates in the constitutional convention "are of value as showing the views of the individual members, and as indicating the reason for their votes, but they give us no light as to the views of the large majority who did not talk, much less of the mass or our fellow citizens whose votes at the polls gave that instrument the force of fundamental law. We think it safer to construe the constitution from what appears upon its face." The proper interpretation therefore depends more on how it was understood by the people adopting it than in the framers’ understanding thereof.

    It is worth recalling the celebrated comment of Charles P. Curtis, Jr. on the role of history in constitutional exegesis:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    The intention of the framers of the Constitution, even assuming we could discover what it was, when it is not adequately expressed in the Constitution, that is to say, what they meant when they did not say it, surely that has no binding force upon us. If we look behind or beyond what they set down in the document, prying into what else they wrote and what they said, anything we may find is only advisory. They may sit in at our councils. There is no reason why we should eavesdrop on theirs. 5

    Be that as it may, the Record of the Constitutional Commission speaks clearly against petitioners’ reading of Art. VI, 5(1)(2). It shows clearly that the Constitutional Commission rejected sectoral representation in preference to proportional representation. As originally written, 5 of the Draft Article on the Legislative Department read:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    SECTION 5. The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces and cities in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected from the sectors and party list. The sectoral or party list representatives shall in no case exceed twenty percent of the entire membership of the House of Representatives.

    Each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact and adjacent territory, provided, however, that each city with a population of more than two hundred thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative.

    Within three years following the return of every census, the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section. 6

    As petitioner Bayan Muna states, two proposals for additional representation in the House of Representatives were submitted by the Committee on Legislative Department: one for sectoral representation, advocated by Commissioner Villacorta, and another one for party-list system, advocated by Commissioner Monsod. The two are not the same. As Commissioner Monsod said in explaining his proposal:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    MR. MONSOD. . . .

    I would like to make a distinction from the beginning that the proposal for the party list system is not synonymous with that of the sectoral representation. Precisely, the party list system seeks to avoid the dilemma of choice of sectors and who constitute the members of the sectors . . . In effect, a sectoral representation in the Assembly would mean that certain sectors would have reserved seats; that they will choose among themselves who would sit in those reserved seats. And then, we have the problem of which sector because as we will notice in Proclamation No. 9, the sectors cited were the farmers, fishermen, workers, students, professionals, business, military, academic, ethnic and other similar groups. So these are the nine sectors that were identified here as "sectoral representatives" to be represented in this Commission. The problem we had in trying to approach sectoral representation in the Assembly was whether to stop at these nine sectors or include other sectors . . . Second, we had the problem of who comprise the farmers . . . A doctor may be a farmer; a lawyer may also be a farmer. And so, it is up to the discretion of the person to say "I am a farmer" so he would be included in that sector.

    . . . Under the party list system, there are no reserved seats for sectors . . . This can be a regional party, a sectoral party, a national party, UNIDO, Magsasaka or a regional party in Mindanao. One need not be a farmer to say that he wants the farmers’ party to be represented in the Assembly. Any citizen can vote for any party. At the end of the day, the COMELEC will then tabulate the votes that had been garnered by each party or each organization — one does not have to be a political party and register in order to participate as a party — and count the votes and from there derive the percentage of the votes that had been cast in favor of a party, organization or coalition.

    x       x       x


    We feel that this approach gets around the mechanics of sectoral representation while at the same time making sure that those who really have a national constituency or sectoral constituency will get a chance to have a seat in the National Assembly. These sectors or these groups may not have the constituency to win a seat on a legislative district basis. They may not be able to win a seat on a district basis but surely, they will have votes on a nationwide basis.

    The purpose of this is to open the system. In the past elections, we found out that there were certain groups or parties that, if we count their votes nationwide, have about 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 votes. But they were always third place or fourth place in each of the districts. So, they have no voice in the Assembly. But this way, they would have five or six representatives in the Assembly even if they would not win individually in legislative districts. So, that is essentially the mechanics, the purpose and objectives of the party list system. 7

    Commissioner Monsod, therefore, proposed to amend the phrase "shall be elected from the sectors and party list" in 5 by replacing it with the following

    THROUGH A PARTY LIST SYSTEM OF REGISTERED NATIONAL, REGIONAL OR SECTORAL PARTIES OR ORGANIZATIONS. 8

    Attention should be paid to this proposal because with slight modification it later became the basis of the present Art. VI, 5(1)(2).

    The following exchange took place on the Monsod amendment:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    MR. DAVIDE: Madam President, before accepting the proposed amendment, the Committee would like to get some clarifications.

    When the proponent speaks of "OR SECTORAL PARTIES OR ORGANIZATIONS," is he referring to any sector which the law may subsequently define?

    MR. MONSOD: . . . The party list system that is being advocated by this amendment is a system that opens up the list to any regional, national or sectoral party . . .

    x       x       x


    MS. AQUINO. The Committee would like to be clarified on this.

    Do we understand the proponent correctly that this party list system is not necessarily synonymous to sectoral representation?

    MR. MONSOD: No, it is not necessarily synonymous, but it does include the right of sectoral parties or organizations to register, but it is not exclusive to sectoral parties or organizations.

    MS. AQUINO. And that it does not likewise reserve any institutional seat for any sector? In other words, it only enables it to be a part of the party list if it has the capacity to do so, but it does not reserve any seat for the sectors.

    MR. MONSOD. Yes, Madam President, this is not a reserve seat system. 9

    The proposed amendment was opposed by a group headed by Commissioner Villacorta, which included Commissioners Tadeo, Lerum, and Bernas. Lerum said:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    MR. LERUM. Madam President, in view of the explanation, I am objecting to this amendment because it is possible that the labor sector will not be represented considering that those who will vote are all the voters of the Philippines. In other words, the representative of labor will be chosen by all the electors of the Philippines, and that is not correct. My contention is that the sectoral representative must be selected by his own constituents, and for that reason, I am objecting to this amendment. 10

    On the other hand, Tadeo objected on the ground that if allowed to participate in the party-list system, the major political parties could gobble up the sectoral parties. He said:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    MR. TADEO . . . Kapag inilagay natin ang party list, papasukin ng political parties. Mangigibabaw at kakainin din niyan hanggang mawala ang sektor. 11

    MR. TADEO. Ang punto lamang namin, pag pinayagan mo ang UNIDO na isang political party, it will dominate the party list at mawawalang saysay din iyong sector. Lalamunin mismo ng political parties ang party list system. Gusto ko lamang bigyan ng diin ang "reserve." Hindi ito reserve seat sa marginalized sectors. Kung titingnan natin itong 198 seats, reserved din ito sa political parties. 12

    Villacorta said he was objecting to the party-list system because it would not solve the problem of ineffective representation of the underprivileged sectors. He said:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    For too long since our people attained a semblance of self-government at the start of this century, our legislators were elected based on their promise that they would represent the little people of our land. With the exception of a few patriotic legislators, some of whom are in our Commission today, members of the National Assemblies, the Congresses, and the Batasans of the past did not devote themselves enough to the alleviation of the dismal condition of our country’s poor and lower classes.

    x       x       x


    These realities convince us that there are no spokesmen and legislators who can best represent the poor, the underprivileged, the marginalized than those coming from within their ranks. 13

    To Commissioner Villacorta, only reserved seats for the sectors would give them effective representation:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    MR. MONSOD. My amendment merely says that it is THROUGH A PARTY LIST SYSTEM OF REGISTERED NATIONAL, REGIONAL OR SECTORAL PARTIES OR ORGANIZATIONS.

    My question is: Does the Honorable Commissioner object to this amendment?

    MR. VILLACORTA. Yes, because it does not guarantee that the seats reserved for the party list representatives will be reserved for the sectors. 14

    Because of the impasse, the discussion on Friday, July 25, 1986, on 5 was suspended to allow the commissioners to come to an agreement. After one week, a compromise formula was reached by the two groups and presented to the plenary session of the Commission on August 1, 1986. In lieu of the phrase "shall be elected from the sectors and the party list," it was proposed that the following be inserted in 5 of the Draft Article:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    THROUGH A PARTY LIST SYSTEM OF REGISTERED NATIONAL, REGIONAL AND SECTORAL PARTIES OR ORGANIZATIONS AS PROVIDED BY LAW. THE PARTY LIST REPRESENTATIVES SHALL CONSTITUTE TWENTY PERCENT OF THE TOTAL MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PROVIDED THAT FOR THE FIRST TWO TERMS AFTER THE RATIFICATION OF THIS CONSTITUTION TWENTY-FIVE OF THE SEATS ALLOCATED TO PARTY LIST REPRESENTATIVES SHALL BE FILLED BY SELECTION OR ELECTION, AS PROVIDED BY LAW FROM THE LABOR, PEASANT, URBAN POOR AND YOUTH SECTORS.

    However, although an agreement had apparently been reached, the advocates of sectoral representation were not satisfied that it would be allowed only for two terms and only with respect to one-half of the seats allocated for party-list representatives. Commissioner Aquino proposed instead the following amendment of 5:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    ELECTED THROUGH A PARTY LIST SYSTEM OF REGISTERED NATIONAL, REGIONAL AND SECTORAL PARTIES OR ORGANIZATIONS, AS PROVIDED BY LAW. THE PARTY LIST REPRESENTATIVES SHALL CONSTITUTE TWENTY PERCENT OF THE TOTAL MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. TWENTY-FIVE OF THE SEATS ALLOCATED TO PARTY LIST REPRESENTATIVES SHALL BE FILLED BY ELECTION, AS PROVIDED BY LAW, FROM THE LABOR, PEASANT, URBAN POOR, WOMEN AND YOUTH SECTORS

    When put to vote, however, Aquino’s proposal was defeated with nineteen (19) voting in favor, and twenty-two (22) voting against. 15

    The Commission then voted on the proposed amendment of Commissioner Monsod. With only a few minor changes, it was approved by a vote of thirty-two (32) commissioners against none. 16 As finally worded, the amendment reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    SHALL BE FILLED AS PROVIDED BY LAW, BY SELECTION OR ELECTION, FROM THE LABOR, PEASANT, URBAN POOR, INDIGENOUS CULTURAL COMMUNITIES, WOMEN, YOUTH, AND SUCH OTHER SECTORS AS MAY BE PROVIDED BY LAW, EXCEPT THE RELIGIOUS SECTOR

    Thus, the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission show that the party-list system is not limited to the "marginalized and underrepresented" sectors referred to by petitioners, i.e., labor, peasants, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, and the youth, but that it is a type of proportional representation intended to give voice to those who may not have the necessary number to win a seat in a district but are sufficiently numerous to give them a seat nationwide. It, therefore, misreads the debates on Art. VI, 5(1)(2) to say that "Although Commissioners Villacorta and Monsod differed in their proposals as to the details of the party-list system, both proponents worked within the framework that the party-list system is for the ‘marginalized’ as termed by Comm. Villacorta and the ‘underrepresented’ as termed by Comm. Monsod, which he defined as those which are ‘always third or fourth place in each of the districts.’" 17

    Indeed, the two proposals put forth by them are basically different, and they do not have the same basis. What the advocates of sectoral representation wanted was permanent reserved seats for "marginalized sectors" by which they mean the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, and youth sectors. Under Art. VI, 5(2), these sectors were given only one-half of the seats in the House of Representatives and only for three terms. On the other hand, the "third or fourth place(rs)" in district elections, for whom the party-list system was intended, refer to those who may not win seats in the districts but nationwide may be sufficiently strong to enable them to be represented in the House. They may include Villacorta’s "marginalized" or "underprivileged" sectors, but they are not limited to them. There would have been no need to give the "marginalized sectors" one-half of the seats for the party-list system for three terms if the two systems are identical.

    The objections raised against the accreditation of private respondents are the same ones raised by Commissioners Villacorta, Tadeo, and Lerum, among others, to the Monsod proposal which became the present Art. VI, 5(1)(2), namely, that certain sectors, like labor, may not win seats in the House under the party-list system; that the big parties might gobble up the sectoral parties; that the party-list system will not solve the problem of ineffective representation of the "underprivileged sectors." These objections, however, did not carry the day, as the members of the Constitutional Commission voted 32-0 in favor of the Monsod proposal. It is noteworthy that even those who spoke against the Monsod proposal did not vote against it. To uphold these objections now would be to overrule the Constitutional Commission and in effect amend the Constitution.

    In sum, a problem was placed before the Constitutional Commission that the existing "winner-take-all" one-seat district system of election leaves blocks of voters underrepresented. To this problem of underrepresentation two solutions were proposed: sectoral representation and party-list system or proportional representation. The Constitutional Commission chose the party-list system. This Court cannot hold that the party-list system is reserved for the labor, peasants, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, and youth as petitioners contend without changing entirely the meaning of the Constitution which in fact mandates exactly the opposite of the reserved seats system when it provides in Art. IX, C, 6 that "A free and open party system shall be allowed to evolve according to the free choice of the people, subject to the provisions of this Article."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Thus, neither textual nor historical consideration yields support for the view that the party-list system is designed exclusively for labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, and youth sectors. As Commissioner Ople said in supporting the Monsod proposal:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    In my opinion, this will also create the stimulus for political parties and mass organizations to seek common ground. For example, we have the PDP-Laban and the UNIDO. I see no reason why they should not be able to make common goals with mass organizations so that the very leadership of these parties can be transformed through the participation of mass organizations. And if this is true of the administration parties, this will be true of others like the Partido ng Bayan which is now being formed. There is no question that they will be attractive to many mass organizations. In the opposition parties to which we belong, there will be a stimulus for us to contact mass organizations so that with their participation, the policies of such parties can be radically transformed because this amendment will create conditions that will challenge both the mass organizations and the political parties to come together. And the party list system is certainly available, although it is open to all the parties. It is understood that the parties will enter in the roll of the COMELEC the names of representatives of mass organizations affiliated with them. So that we may, in time, develop this excellent system that they have in Europe where labor organizations and cooperatives, for example, distribute themselves either in the Social Democratic Party and the Christian Democratic Party in Germany, and their very presence there has a transforming effect upon the philosophies and the leadership of those parties. 18

    With respect to the cancellation of any party registered under the party-list system, 6 of the Party-List System Act provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    SECTION 6. Refusal and/or Cancellation of Registration. — The COMELEC may, motu proprio or upon verified complaint of any interested party, refuse or cancel, after due notice and hearing, the registration of any national, regional or sectoral party, organization or coalition on any of the following grounds:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association organized for religious purposes;

    (2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;

    (3) It is a foreign party or organization;

    (4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation, organization, whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan election purposes;

    (5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections;

    (6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition;

    (7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or

    (8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails to obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the constituency in which it has registered.

    Petitioners’ allegations that certain parties or organizations, such as private respondents MAD and Ang Buhay Hayaang Yumabong, are disqualified under this provision are for the COMELEC to determine after due notice and hearing. They are unfit for resolution in these proceedings.

    III.


    On the other hand, the majority states:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    The presumption is that the words in which the constitutional provisions are couched express the objective sought to be attained. In other words, verba legis still prevails. Only when the meaning of the words used is unclear and equivocal should resort be made to extraneous aids of construction and interpretation, such as the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission or Convention, in order to shed light on and ascertain the true intent or purpose of the provision being construed.

    x       x       x


    Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, relative to the party-list system, is couched in clear terms: the mechanics of the system shall be provided by law. Pursuant thereto, Congress enacted RA 7941 . . . Section 2 thereof unequivocally states that the party-list system of electing congressional representatives was designed to "enable underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library

    With due respect, I think the majority misapprehends the meaning of 2 of R.A. No. 7941. The provision reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    SECTION 2. Declaration of Party. — The State shall promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall develop and guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall provide the simplest scheme possible.

    What this provision simply states is that the purpose of the party-list system is to promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives and, that to achieve this end, "a full, free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives" shall be guaranteed. Contrary to what the majority claims, 2 does not say that the party-list system is intended "to enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations, and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation" to win seats in the House of Representatives. What it says is that the policy of the law is "to promote proportional representation through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations, and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation" to win seats in the House. For while the representation of "marginalized and underrepresented" sectors is a basic purpose of the law, it is not its only purpose. As already explained, the aim of proportional representation is to enable those who cannot win in the "winner-take-all" district elections a chance of winning. These groups are not necessarily limited to the sectors mentioned in 5, i.e., labor, peasants, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, the elderly, the handicapped, women, the youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals. These groups can possibly include other sectors.

    Indeed, how can there be a "full, free and open party system" if the election for the party list system is to be limited to the sectors which are enumerated in 5 of the law, i.e., labor, peasants, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, the elderly, handicapped, women, the youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals? After all, what is provided for is "a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations" each of which is separately defined in 3 of the law.

    That the party-list system is not limited to these groups is also clear from 5 of the law:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    SECTION 5. Registration. — Any organized group of persons may register as a party, organization or coalition for purposes of the party-list system by filing with the COMELEC not later than ninety (90) days before the election a petition verified by its president or secretary stating its desire to participate in the party-list system as a national, regional or sectoral party or organization or a coalition of such parties or organizations, attaching thereto its constitution, bylaws, platform or program of government, list of officers, coalition agreement and other relevant information as the COMELEC may require: Provided, That the sectors shall include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    There would be no need to provide specifically for the sectors if the party-list system is reserved for them.

    FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, the petitions in these cases should be dismissed.

    Quisumbing, De Leon, Jr. and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., dissent.

    VITUG, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    The 1987 Constitution, crafted at a time when the euphoria of the 1986 People Power had barely subsided, recognized the vigor infused by civilian society in a cleansing political reform and focused itself on institutionalizing civilian participation in daily governance. A cause for concern was the not-too-unlikely perpetuation of a single party in power — a convenient contrivance for authoritarian rule. Article VI, Section 5, subsection 2, of the 1987 Charter —

    THE PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVES SHALL CONSTITUTE TWENTY PER CENTUM OF THE TOTAL NUMBER OF REPRESENTATIVES INCLUDING THOSE UNDER THE PARTY LIST FOR THREE CONSECUTIVE TERMS. AFTER THE RATIFICATION OF THIS CONSTITUTION, ONE-HALF OF THE SEATS ALLOCATED TO PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVE SHALL BE FILLED, AS PROVIDED BY LAW, BY SELECTION OR ELECTION FROM THE LABOR, PEASANT, URBAN POOR, INDIGENOUS CULTURAL COMMUNITIES, WOMEN, YOUTH, AND SUCH OTHER SECTORS AS MAY BE PROVIDED BY LAW, EXCEPT THE RELIGIOUS SECTOR.

    was the result of long-drawn deliberations and compromises.

    Immediately, after the resumption of the next Congress, then president Corazon C. Aquino, exercising her transitory appointing powers, assigned to the reserved seats in the Lower House, representatives of the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women and youth sector. The assignment was made from a selected list of names submitted by the sectors themselves. The sectors would continue to enjoy these reserved seats for the next three terms; thenceforth, they would have to participate in an electoral contest to secure their representation in Congress.

    Article 6, Section 5(2), however, not being self-executing, would wait for the legislature to ordain the enabling law. Congress was to be circumscribed by the terms expressed in Article 6, Section 5(2). — First, the system should only apply to the election of 20% of the total composition of the House of Representatives, second, it would prescribe a mandatory proportional representation scheme, and, third, it would allow participating parties and organizations to be represented in voter’s registration boards, board of election inspectors, parties and organizations or similar entities.

    On 03 March 1995, Republic Act 7941, also known as "An Act Providing for the Election of Party-List Representatives Through the Party-List System, and Appropriating Funds Therefor," was enacted. The enabling law laid the basis for COMELEC Resolution No. 2847, issued on July 1996, prescribing the "Rules and Regulations Governing the Elections of the Party-List Representatives through the Party-List System." In the May 1998 first party-list elections, the sectors were required, to test, for the first time, their political mettle in an open electoral contest with other parties, groups and organizations under a party-list system. While the elections had a low-voter turnout, seen largely as a result of public unawareness of an electoral innovation, the recent 2001 multi-party list elections, however, were different. This time, a huge number of parties, groups and coalitions applied for registration with, and subsequently obtained accreditation from, the COMELEC. Six of these groups were established political parties, namely PARTIDO NG MASANG PILIPINO, LAKAS NUCD-UMDP, NATIONALIST PEOPLE’S COALITION, LABAN NG DEMOKRATIKONG PILIPINO, AKSYON DEMOKRATIKO, LIBERAL PARTY, NACIONALISTA PARTY and PDP-LABAN.

    The instant petition prays for the exclusion of these major parties on the ground that their participation does not level the playing field for less known and less organized sectoral groups still in dire need of election logistics and machinery. Arguing that the system is open to the underrepresented and marginalized sectors, as well as other parties but only on the condition that the latter field sectoral candidates themselves, herein petitioner sought the disqualification of the large major political parties and groups which do not represent any "genuine" sectoral interest.

    A perusal of the novel electoral engineering, introduced by the Constitution into the electoral system, would show the pertinent provisions to be stoically quiet on the qualifications of a party, group or coalition to participate under the party-list system. Instead, it has opted to rely on a subsequent statutory enactment to provide for the system’s focal particulars, which now lead us to the enabling law itself. Section 2 of R.A. 7941 reads —

    "The State shall promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable the Filipino citizens belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lacked well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall develop and guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives, by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall provide the simplest scheme possible."cralaw virtua1aw library

    The draft provisions on what was to become Article VI, Section 5, subsection (2), of the 1987 Constitution took off from two staunch positions — the first headed by Commissioner Villacorta, advocating that of the 20 percentum of the total seats in Congress to be allocated to party-list representatives half were to be reserved to appointees from the marginalized and underrepresented sectors. The proposal was opposed by some Commissioners. Mr. Monsod expressed the difficulty in delimiting the sectors that needed representation. He was of the view that reserving seats for the marginalized and underrepresented sectors would stunt their development into full-pledged parties equipped with electoral machinery potent enough to further the sectoral interests to be represented. The Villacorta group, on the other hand, was apprehensive that pitting the unorganized and less-moneyed sectoral groups in an electoral contest would be like placing babes in the lion’s den, so to speak, with the bigger and more established political parties ultimately gobbling them up. R.A. 7941 recognized this concern when it banned the first five major political parties on the basis of party representation in the House of Representatives from participating in the party-list system for the first party-list elections held in 1998 (and to be automatically lifted starting with the 2001 elections). The advocates for permanent seats for sectoral representatives made an effort towards a compromise — that the party-list system be open only to underrepresented and marginalized sectors. This proposal was further whittled down by allocating only half of the seats under the party-list system to candidates from the sectors which would garner the required number of votes. The majority was unyielding. Voting 19-22, the proposal for permanent seats, and in the alternative the reservation of the party-list system to the sectoral groups, was voted down. The only concession the Villacorta group was able to muster was an assurance of reserved seats for selected sectors for three consecutive terms after the enactment of the 1987 Constitution, by which time they would be expected to gather and solidify their electoral base and brace themselves in the multi-party electoral contest with the more veteran political groups.

    The system, designed to accommodate as many groups as possible, abhors the monopoly of representation in the Lower House. This intent is evident in the statutory imposition of the three-seat cap, which prescribes the limit to the number of seats that may be gained by a party or organization. 1 Votes garnered in excess of 6% of the total votes cast do not entitle the party to more than three seats.

    There is no express provision of the Constitution or in the enabling law that disallows major political parties from participating in the party-list system and, at the same time, from fielding candidates for legislative district representatives.

    Perhaps the present controversy stems from a confusion of the actual character of the party-list system. At first glance, it gives the impression of being a combination of proportional representation for non-traditional parties and sectoral representation. The first, proportional representation, on one end, is intended for no other reason than to open up the electoral process for broader participation and representation. Sectoral representation on the other, presupposes that every underrepresented sector be represented in Congress. This impression of sectoral-based representation stems from the provisions of Article 6, Section 5(2), of the Constitution, as well as R.A. 7941, in enumerating specific sectors to be represented. In holding that the party list system is open only to the underrepresented and marginalized sectors, the ponencia places much reliance on Section 5 of R.A. 7941:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "SECTION 5. Registration. — Any organized group of persons may register as a party, organization or coalition for purposes of the party-list system by filing with the COMELEC not later than ninety (90) days before the election a petition verified by its president or secretary stating its desire to participate in the party-list system as a national, regional or sectoral party or organization or a coalition of such parties or organizations, attaching thereto its constitution, bylaws, platform or program of government, list of officers, coalition agreement and other relevant information as the COMELEC may require: Provided, That the sectors shall include labor peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals.

    "The COMELEC shall publish the petition in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.

    "The COMELEC shall, after due notice and hearing, resolve the petition within fifteen (15) days from the date it was submitted for decision but in no case not later than sixty (60) days before election." chanrob1es virtua1 1aw library

    It would seem to me that, construed along with Section 3(d) of the statute, defining a "sectoral party," the enumeration was intended to qualify only "sectoral parties" and not the other eligible groups (e.g., political parties, sectoral organizations and coalitions). Neither Article 6, Section 5(2), nor R.A. 7941 intended to guarantee representation to all sectors of society and, let alone, hand it over only to underrepresented and marginalized sectors. The real aim, if the will of the majority of the Commissioners were to be respected, was to introduce the concept of party-list representation.

    The party-list system is limited to four groups — 1) political parties, 2) sectoral parties, 3) sectoral organizations, and 4) coalitions. A political party is an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology, or platform, principles or policies for the general conduct of government and which, as the most immediate means of securing their adoption, regularly nominates and supports certain of its leaders and members as candidates for public office. A sectoral party is an organized group of citizens belonging to identifiable sectors, such as those enumerated in Article 6, Section 5(2), of the 1987 Constitution, which includes the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities and women and those added by R.A. 7941 like the fisherfolk, elderly, handicapped, veterans, overseas workers and professionals. A sectoral organization is a group of citizens who share the same or similar attributes or characteristics, employment, interests or concerns. Coalition is an aggrupation of duly registered national, regional, sectoral parties or organizations for election purposes.

    A party or organization desiring to join the party-list system is required to register with the COMELEC, together with a list of its five nominees for party-list representatives, arranged according to the group’s order of preference. In every election for the House of Representatives, each voter casts two votes — one for the district representative of his choice and another for the party or organization of his choice. The votes cast for the parties and organizations are totaled nationwide. In contrast to the election of all other officials where the rule of plurality (i.e., the candidate with the highest number of votes wins) is adopted, the number of seats under the party-list system depends on the number of votes received in proportion to the total number of votes cast nationwide. On the basis of the number of registered voters in the recent elections, a group under the party-list system, should get approximately half a million votes to be entitled to one seat.

    At the center stage of this controversy are the political parties themselves. Undeniably, political parties are an important feature in both democratic and authoritarian regimes. By legitimizing the individuals and institutions that control political power, parties add an important element of stability to a political system and also help organize the government and electorate by recruiting candidates, conducting campaigns, encouraging partisan attachments and generally educating the public, stimulating voter participation and providing varying degrees of policy direction to government. The idea could also be seen as a good training and recruiting ground for potential leaders. Advocates commend the multi-party as allowing the expression and the compromise of the many interests of a complex society, including a range of ideological differences, conflicting political values and philosophies. Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution is explicit — "A free and open party system shall be allowed to evolve according to the free choice of the people." 2 The multi-party system of proportional representation broadens the composition of the House of Representatives to accommodate sectors and organizations that do not have well-defined political constituencies and to facilitate access to minority or small parties.

    A party-list nominee is subject to basically the same qualifications applicable to legislative districts candidates, 3 with the exception of the additional requirement that he be nominated in one list only, and provided, further, that he is not a candidate for any elective office or has lost his bid for an elective office in the immediately preceding election. 4 A nominee must actually belong to the sector which they purport to represent, otherwise, there can be no true representation. 5 A nominee of the youth sector is further required to be at least 25 but not more than 30 years of age on the day of the election. 6 Should he, however, attain the age of 30 during his term, he is allowed to continue until the expiration thereof. 7 Once elected, party-list representatives also enjoy the same term, rights and privileges as do district representatives, except that they are not entitled to the Country-wide Development Fund (CDF). 8

    A feature of the party-list system is that political parties, sectoral groups and organizations, coalitions and aggrupation acquire the status of "candidates" and their nominees relegated to mere agents. Thus, if a party-list representative dies, becomes physically incapacitated, removed from office by the party or the organization he represents, resigns, or is disqualified during his term, his party can send another person to take his place for the remaining period, provided the replacement is next in succession in the list of nominees submitted to the COMELEC upon registration. Furthermore, a party-list representative who switches party affiliations during his term forfeits his seat. 9 So, also, if a person changes his sectoral affiliation within 6 months before the election, he will not be eligible for nomination in party-list representative under his new party or organization. 10

    The argument raised by petitioners could not be said to have been overlooked as they precisely were the same points subjected to intense and prolonged deliberations by the members of the Constitutional Commission.

    And, the polestar in the constructions of constitutions always remains — "effect must be given to the intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it." 11 The law, in its clear formulation cannot give this tribunal the elbow-room for construction. Courts are bound to suppose that any inconveniences involved in the application of constitutional provisions according to their plain terms and import have been considered in advance and accepted as less intolerable than those avoided, or as compensated by countervailing advantages. 12 The ponencia itself, in ruling as it does, may unwittingly, be crossing the limits of judicial review and treading the dangerous waters of judicial legislation, and more importantly, of a constitutional amendment. While, the lament of herein petitioners is understandable, the remedy lies not with this Court but with the people themselves through an amendment of their work as and when better counsel prevails.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    WHEREFORE, I regret my inability to concur with my colleagues in their judgment. I am thus constrained to vote for the dismissal of the petitions.

    Endnotes:



    1. Signed by Chairman Alfredo L. Benipayo and Commissioners Luzviminda G. Tancangco, Rufino S. B. Javier, Ralph C. Lantion, Mehol K. Sadain, Resurreccion Z. Borra and Florentino A. Tuason Jr.

    2. Omnibus Resolution No. 3785, p. 13; rollo (GR No. 147589), p. 40.

    3. Ibid., pp. 21-22; rollo, pp. 48-49.

    4. Rollo (GR No. 147589), pp. 272-273.

    5. Rollo (GR No. 147589), pp. 250-263.

    6. Rollo (GR No. 147589), pp. 282-283.

    7. See rollo (GR No. 147613), p. 223.

    8. TSN (GR No. 147589 and 147613), May 17, 2001, p. 49.

    9. Rollo (GR No. 147589), pp. 4-73.

    10. Rollo (GR No. 147589), p. 74.

    11. Comments were filed by MAD, Bagong Bayani, The True Marcos Loyalists, the Comelec, Partido ng Masang Pilipino, the Liberal Party, the Office of the Solicitor General, CREBA, Lakas-NUCD-UMDP, the Philippine Local Autonomy Movement, Aksyon Demokratiko, Citizens’ Drug Watch Foundation, Ang Buhay Hayaang Yumabong, Ang Lakas ng OCW, and Sports and Health Foundation.

    12. Rollo (GR No. 147613), pp. 3-45.

    13. Rollo (GR No. 147613), p. 46.

    14. These were filed by the Office of the Solicitor General, the Comelec, the Bagong Bayani Organization, Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga, and the Philippine Local Autonomy Movement.

    15. Memoranda were filed by Petitioners Bayan Muna and Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party; and Respondents Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga, CREBA, the Bagong Bayani Organization, the Office of the Solicitor General, and Aksyon Demokratiko. Manifestations instead of memoranda were filed by Lakas-NUCD and OCW.

    16. See the May 17, 2001 Resolution, p. 2; rollo (GR No. 147613), p. 88.

    17. See, e.g., the Bagong Bayani Organization’s Memorandum, pp. 3-4; Aksyon Demokratiko’s Memorandum, pp. 2-3; and MAD’s Memorandum, pp. 3-6.

    18. Rules and regulations governing the filing of a petition for registration, a manifestation to participate, and the names of nominees under the party-list system of representation in connection with the May 14, 2001 national and local elections.

    19. OSG’s Memorandum, pp. 6-14; rollo (GR No. 147613), pp. 151-159.

    20. Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution, provides: "Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government."cralaw virtua1aw library

    21. "SECTION 1. What pleadings are not allowed. The following pleadings are not allowed:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    x       x       x


    d) motion for reconsideration of an en banc ruling, resolution, order or decision except in election offense cases;

    x       x       x"

    22. Docketed as SPA 01-113. As earlier noted, Akbayan also filed before the Comelec a similar Petition, docketed as SPA-01-109. See Annexes 1 and 2, Comment of the Office of the Solicitor General; rollo (GR No. 147589), pp. 250 et seq. and 266 et seq.

    23. Section 1, Rule 65. See Filoteo v. Sandiganbayan, 263 SCRA 222, October 16, 1996; BF Corporation v. CA, 288 SCRA 267, March 27, 1998; GSIS v. Olisa, 304 SCRA 421, March 10, 1999; National Steel Corporation v. CA, GR No. 134437, January 31, 2000; Sahali v. Comelec, GR No. 134169, February 2, 2000.

    24. Republic v. Sandiganbayan, 269 SCRA 316, March 7, 1997, per Panganiban, J. See also ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation v. Commission on Elections, GR No. 133486, January 28, 2000; Central Bank v. Cloribel, 44 SCRA 307, April 11, 1972.

    25. Salonga v. Cruz Paño, 134 SCRA 438, February 18, 1985, per Gutierrez, Jr., J. See also Tañada v. Angara, 272 SCRA 18, May 2, 1997; Guingona v. Gonzales, 219 SCRA 326, March 1, 1993.

    26. ABS-CBN v. Comelec, GR No. 133486, January 28, 2000, per Panganiban, J.

    27. Petition of Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party, p. 15; rollo (GR No. 147589), p. 18.

    28. Petition of Bayan Muna, p. 18; rollo (GR No. 147613), p. 20.

    29. OSG Comment, p. 18; rollo (GR No. 147589), p. 244.

    30. Emphasis supplied. See also 17 and 18, Article VI of the Constitution.

    31. It may be noted that when the Constitution was being drafted in the early days of the post-Marcos era, UNIDO was the dominant political party.

    32. Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. II, p. 86.

    33. Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. II, p. 570.

    34. Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. II, p. 86.

    35. Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. II, p. 561.

    36. Infra.

    37. Azarcon v. Sandiganbayan, 268 SCRA 747, February 26, 1997; Ramirez v. CA, 248 SCRA 590, September 28, 1995.

    38. 82 C.J.S. Statutes 331.

    39. OSG Comment, p. 18; rollo (GR No. 147589), p. 244.

    40. Infra.

    41. TSN, May 17, 2001, pp. 147-148.

    42. Counsel of Aksyon Demokratiko.

    43. TSN, May 17, 2001, pp. 178-180.

    44. Supra. See also 6, Article IX (C) of the Constitution, which reads: "A free and open party system shall be allowed to evolve according to the free choice of the people, subject to the provisions of this Article."cralaw virtua1aw library

    45. Section 2 of RA 7941 states in part as follows: ". . . Towards this end, the State shall develop and guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall provide the simplest scheme possible."cralaw virtua1aw library

    46. JM Tuason & Co., Inc. v. Land Tenure Administration, 31 SCRA 413, February 18, 1970; cited in Ruben C. Agpalo, Statutory Construction, 1990 ed., p. 311. See also Gold Creek Mining Corp. v. Rodriguez, 66 Phil 259, 264 (1938).

    47. See Agpalo, ibid., p. 313.

    48. 194 SCRA 317, February 22, 1991, per Fernan, CJ; quoting Commonwealth v. Ralph, 111 Pa 365, 3 Atl 220.

    49. Tañada v. Angara, 272 SCRA 18, May 2, 1997. See also Santiago v. Guingona, 298 SCRA 756, November 18, 1998; Miranda v. Aguirre, 314 SCRA 603, September 16, 1999; Garcia v. HRET, 312 SCRA 353, August 12, 1999.

    50. Veterans Federation Party Et. Al. v. Comelec Et. Al., GR No. 136781, October 6, 2000.

    51. See Valmonte v. Court of Appeals, 303 SCRA 278, February 18, 1999; Inciong Jr. v. CA, 257 SCRA 578, June 26, 1996; Palomado v. NLRC, 257 SCRA 680, June 28, 1996; Heirs of the Late Teodoro Guaring Jr. v. CA, 269 SCRA 283, March 7, 1997; Sesbreño v. Central Board of Assessment Appeals, 270 SCRA 360, March 24, 1997; PCGG v. Cojuangco Jr., 302 SCRA 217, January 27, 1999.

    52. TSN, May 17, 2001, p. 180.

    53. Petition of Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party, p. 16; rollo (GR No. 147589), p. 19.

    54. Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. I, p. 636.

    55. Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. II, p. 589.

    56. 2 (5), Article IX (C).

    57. Christian S. Monsod.

    58. Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. I, p. 634.

    59. See also 11, Comelec Resolution No. 3307-A.

    60. See 2 (4), Article IX (B) of the Constitution. See also Article 261 (o), BP 881.

    61. The bicameral conference committee on the disagreeing provision of Senate Bill No. 1913 and House Bill No. 3040, January 31, 1994, p. 4.

    MENDOZA, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. Memorandum for Petitioner Bayan Muna 17-18.

    2. Memorandum for the COMELEC 23-24.

    3. Roman Catholic Apostolic Administrator of Davao v. Land Registration Commission, 102 Phil. 596, 627 (1957).

    4. 194 SCRA 317, 337-338 (1991), quoting Commonwealth v. Ralph, 111 Pa. 365, 3 Atl. 220 (1886).

    5. LIONS UNDER THE THRONE 2 (1947) (emphasis in the original).

    6. Committee on Legislative Power, Committee Report No. 22 (emphasis added).

    7. 2 RECORD OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 85-86, session of Tuesday, July 22, 1986 (emphasis added).

    8. Id. at 252-253, session of Friday, July 25, 1986.

    9. Id. at 253 (emphasis added).

    10. Id. at 254, session of Friday, July 25, 1986.

    11. Id. at 254.

    12. Id. at 257.

    13. Id. at 255.

    14. Id. at 258.

    15. Id. at 584, session of Friday, Aug. 1, 1986.

    16. Id. at 589.

    17. Memorandum for Petitioner Bayan Muna 13.

    18. RECORD 568, section of Friday, Aug. 1, 1986.

    VITUG, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. Section 11(b), R.A. 7941.

    2. Bernas, pp. 355-358.

    3. The Constitutional qualifications for legislative districts representatives apply to party-list nominees —

    Section 6, Article 6, 1987 Constitution. No person shall be a member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, and on the day of the election, at least twenty-five years of age, able to read and write, and except the party-list representative, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the elections.

    4. Section 8, R.A. 7941.

    5. Supangan, Jr. v. Santos, 189 SCRA 56.

    6. Section 9, R.A. 7941.

    7. Ibid.

    8. See the plenary deliberations (2nd reading) of House Bill No. 3043.

    9. Section 15, R.A. 7941.

    10. Ibid.

    11. Whilman v. Oxford National Bank 176 US 559, 44 L Ed 587, 20 Sct 477.

    12. People ex rel. Snowball v. Pendegast, 96 Cal 289 St 126, 110 NE 485.

    G.R. Nos. 147589 & 147613   June 26, 2001 - ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.


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