A party-list group has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reconsider its decision canceling the former’s registration.
The Comelec revoked earlier the An-Waray party’s registration for allowing the then-second nominee, Victoria Isabel Noel, to assume one seat in the House of Representatives without proper authority in 2016.
The Comelec second division on June 2 ruled that An-Waray allowed its second nominee Noel to sit as one of its representatives in the House of Representatives during the 16th Congress, knowing “fully well” that the poll body had not issued a certificate of proclamation allowing her to sit in Congress.
In its motion for reconsideration, An Waray contested that the Comelec’s decision should be reversed “for insufficiency of evidence to justify the decision and for being contrary to law.”
In its 35-page motion, An Waray said the candidate in a party-list system is the organization itself, hence, what is being proclaimed is the party and not its nominee.
However, the poll body asserted that while An Waray was initially entitled to two seats in the House in 2013, it was reduced to one seat under National Board of Canvassers (NBC) after a computation.
The Comelec likewise pointed out that in the absence of a certificate of proclamation for its second nominee, An Waray party-list was entitled to only one seat, thus Noel’s “assumption to office as Representative of An Waray had no legal basis.”
On the other hand, An Waray cited the disqualification case of Erwin Tulfo as ACT-CIS party-list representative, wherein the poll body said a separate proclamation of nominees is not required.
“The respondents disagree and submit that a separate proclamation of a specific nominee is not material nor required for the said nominee to take an oath and assume the office of Member of the House of Representatives,” the motion stated.
“Under the law, the party-list group or organization is the candidate and thus, is what is being voted in elections,” it also said.
Moreover, the respondents also pointed out that the Comelec “has no jurisdiction to pass upon the legality of respondent Victoria’s proclamation and assumption as member of the House of Representatives.”
An Waray and Noel pointed out that Article 6, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution states that the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) “shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election returns, and qualifications of their members.”
The respondents also noted that Noel’s assumption as a House member was never questioned even by the House Speaker at the time. Joel E. Zurbano