Comelec to proclaim Buhay partylist

July 23, 2010 10:43 pm 

MANILA, July 23 – The Buhay Hayaang Umusbong (Buhay) partylist will soon be proclaimed as winner in the May 10 party list polls as the petition seeking to disqualify El Shaddai leader Mike Velarde as its nominee has been junked by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

In a five-page resolution, the Comelec second division, headed by Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer dismissed the petition for lack of merit filed by Rolando Layug last April.

The decision disagreed with the claim of the petitioner that the charismatic leader should be disqualified as one of the nominees of the group as the law prevents the religious sector from participating in the partylist polls.

“There is not only preponderance of evidence but proof beyond reasonable doubt establishing, confirming and vindicating this honorable commission’s finding that Buhay is an extension of the El Shaddai and is illegally and unconstitutionally representing the religious sector,” the resolution said.

Velarde is the fifth nominee of the Buhay partylist. The other nominees are: Velarde’s son Michael, Solar Entertainment big boss William Irwin C. Tieng, businessman Ignacio B. Gimenez and Bulacan Rep. Wilfrido Buyson Villarama.

Article 6, Section 5 of the Constitution states that elected party-list representatives can be elected from other sectors “except the religious sector”. Section 6 of the Partylist System Act also adds that registration of a partylist may be canceled if it is found to be a religious sect or organization.

But the second division “agreed with respondents that the submission of the name of respondent Velarde as nominee does not automatically convert respondent Buhay into a religious organization simply because he happens to be a spiritual leader. To find otherwise would not only be illogical, but more importantly, it would amount to an infringement on the right of respondent Velarde, a qualified citizen, to run for public office or be endorsed as nominees of party list organizations.”

Aside from Layug’s petition, there was another petition filed against Buhay partylist but it was “dismissed outright” due to late filing.

Buhay was among the eight partylist organizations whose proclamation was deferred last May 31 pending petitions to cancel their registrations.

The seven other groups were Ako Bicol Political Party (AKO BICOL), First Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy (1-CARE), Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC), LPG Marketers Association, Inc. (LPGMA), Ang Asosasyon Sang Mangunguma Nga Bisaya-Owa Mangunguma, Inc. (MBIS-OWA), Association Of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC), and Alliance For Nationalism And Democracy (ANAD).

The number of seats so far occupied by partylist nominees has reached 36 out of the 57 allotted to them in the House. (PNA) LAP/FGP/utb

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