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Comelec allows 26 party-lists to join polls

The Commission on Elections said Monday it had approved 26 party-list groups it earlier disqualified from the May elections based on the new parameters adopted by the Supreme Court. “Twenty-six approved, 12 are canceled and the case of three others will be heard on Thursday,” Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes said. “That’s why we will be having a Thursday hearing for the seven commissioners to have a chance to vote.” Brillantes refused to name the approved party- list organizations but he said those groups were now approved following the Supreme Court ruling. Meanwhile, election watchdog Kontra Daya has asked the Comelec to maintain the disqualification of at least 35 party-list groups even if their names were in the ballots for the May 13 elections. The group argues that even if the Supreme Court has issued a ruling in the Atong Paglaum case, which allows non-marginalized groups to join the party-list race, those groups are still disqualified based on other grounds including lack of track record. Kontra Daya asked the Comelec to appeal the Supreme Court’s decision on the party list system. The group Kontra Daya has cited Ang Galing Pinoy as a group that does not have a proven track record of advocacy for the sectors it claims to represent, and that it also failed to comply with Comelec requirements for accreditation last year. The Comelec earlier urged lawmakers to reexamine the party-list law to make it more responsive to the needs of the marginalized and not of the politicians. Brillantes has said there is also a need for the commission to overhaul the system of accrediting party-list organizations. He says more groups will be running in the next elections in 2016 after the Supreme Court came up with a decision removing the previous Comelec requirement for groups joining the party-list election to belong to a marginalized or underrepresented sector. In its decision, the Supreme Court had ruled that the party-list system should not be exclusive to sectoral groups and must be opened to regional parties and groups and even national political organizations that do not represent marginalized sectors enumerated in the law. In the 2010 elections, 144 out of the 306 groups were allowed to join the party-list race while only 97 joined the 2007 polls.
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