SC asked to reverse Comelec ruling disqualifying 1-CARE party-list in 2013 polls

November 8, 2012 11:12 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 8 — The 1st Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy Inc. (1-CARE) party-list group asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to reverse the ruling of the Commission on Elections disqualifying it from running in the May 13, 2013 mid-term elections.

Likewise, it asked the SC to stop the Comelec from implementing its ruling and allow the party-list group to be voted upon in the elections.

The 1-CARE is the third party-list group to question the Comelec's ruling disqualifying them from running in next year's elections.

In a 56-page petition for certiorari, 1-CARE members said that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion when it issued a resolution dated Oct. 16, 2012 disqualifying them, saying they are not marginalized and underrepresented sector.

"There is no legal basis for respondent Comelec to re-open and re-determine the issue of whether or not rural energy consumers is a marginalized and underrepresented sector as this was already resolved in the earlier registration proceeding…," the petitioner said.

1-CARE was accredited by the Comelec in January 2010.

The Comelec's First Division ruling became final and executory, thus allowing it to participate in the 2010 elections where it won after receiving 768,829 votes and entitling it to two seats in the House of Representatives.

On May 29, 2010, Barangay Natin Party-List (BANAT) filed a petition before the Comelec against 1-CARE but the Comelec, in a resolution dated Aug. 5, 2010 dismissed it.

BANAT filed an appeal which was also dismissed by the Comelec on Sept. 21, 2010.

It elevated the case to the SC where in a ruling dated Nov. 23, 2010 upheld the Comelec's ruling in favor of 1-CARE.

"It bears stressing that a decision that has acquired finality as in this case, becomes immutable and unalterable," the petitioner said.

It added that the Comelec is not allowed under the Party-list Law to create a new definition of marginalized sector and to reverse its already final and executory ruling.

"Republic Act No. 7941 does not authorize respondent Comelec to revisit, at its whim and caprice and reverse at this point in time its 2010 final and executory decision which resolved the issue of petitioner's representation of 'the marginalized and the underrepresented rural energy consumers'," the petitioner said.

It added that under the law, "any party, organization or coalition already registered with the Commission need not register anew. Hence, for the 2013 party-list elections, the only requirement for petitioner 1-CARE, an already registered party-list organization is to file a manifestation of its desire to participate in the party-list system."

"Nothing in R.A. 7941 would suggest even by mere implication that the Comelec may re-determine compliance by an already registered party-list organization," the petition said.

Other party-list groups which have filed a petition before the SC were AKO-BICOL and the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperative (APEC), both assailing Comelec's ruling for disqualifying them. (PNA)



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