Villar says formal approval of NP-NPC coalition to boost his campaign

April 14, 2010 10:34 pm 

MANILA, April 14 — Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar said on Wednesday that the formal approval by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) of the alliance between the NP and Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) will certainly boost their campaign in terms of logistical and ground advantages.

At the same time, Villar expressed hope that with the official declaration of the Comelec, questions about the legality of the union would be put to rest.

“We hope those questioning the validity and constitutionality of the merger will now shut up as the Comelec has finally spoken. We believe the Comelec’s decision will enlighten critics of the NP-NPC union,” said Villar.

On Monday, the Comelec gave the green light for the NP-NPC merger after no member of either party interposed any objection to it.

The Liberal Party (LP), which used to hold the dominant minority status, has branded the merger as illegal and has been questioning it before the Comelec.

The LP had asked the Comelec to deny the petition of the NP and NPC for accreditation as a coalition because the poll body’s en banc has no jurisdiction over the matter.

But the Comelec, in its resolution concurred by five out of seven commissioners, said it is empowered “under Section 2 (5), Article IX-C of the Constitution to register, after sufficient publication, political parties, [and] organizations or coalitions.”

Besides, it cited a previous case of Baytan v. Comelec, which “mentions that the registration of coalitions falls within the Commission's administrative powers and…that the Commision en banc can directly act on matters within its administrative powers…”

Based on Comelec Resolution for the NP-NPC coalition, the poll body said: “From the records, it appears that both NP and NPC have validly agreed to join forces for political or election purposes.

As proof, NP and NPC submitted its "Joint Resolution Declaring the Coalition into a single opposition political group, to be known as the 'NP-NPC Coalition" dated 29 January 2010. The NP-NPC have also formulated their own Declaration of Principles, Constitution and By-Laws and elected its own officers.”

On the LP’s contention that the registration of the coalition was filed beyond the deadline set forth by Comelec, the poll body said that there is no resolution setting a deadline for the registration of coalitions.

Villar has chided the LP for questioning the merger. He said that when the LP was granted dominant minority status in previous elections, the NP did not complain.

He said he is expecting their union to be declared as the dominant minority party.

At the end of February, the NP-NPC coalition boasts a total of 3,941 incumbent national and local officials; and 10,425 candidates for local elective positions nationwide.

With the merger, the new coalition will be entitled to the sixth copy of the election returns (ERs) and a server showing the election results as they are transmitted.

Earlier, the news organization Newsbreak said that based on its analysis of the parties’ submissions to Comelec, the NP-NPC coalition beats the LP in three out of four criteria in determining the dominant minority.

These are in terms of number of incumbent officials, political chapters, and candidates fielded in the upcoming elections.

During the last few weeks alone, local candidates from various cities and provinces have defected to NP and many more have expressed intentions to join. (PNA)

LDV/jfm

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