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ATONG PAGLAUM V.

COMELEC GR 203766 Facts: The case involves the consolidation of the 54 petitions for Certiorari and prohibition filed by the 52 party-list groups who assail the Resolution of the COM ! C dis"ualifying the# fro# running in the May 2$%& elections' (o#e groups have filed new petitions for registration and others are up for re-accreditation after being allowed to run in previous national elections' )ursuant to R'*' +,4%- around 2.$ party-list groups #anifested their desire to participate in the 2$%& elections' Most of the denials were based on reasons such as: /ailure to show that no#inees actually belong to the sector- or that they have underta0en #eaningful activities for the sector1 The no#inees do not belong to the sectors that the party see0s to represent- etc' *#ong the 54- &, groups 2*34- *tong )aglau#- *R*!- *RC567M*8- %4RO-)947- %9*6*):95*R87*6(- * 4! (( 8 )arty-!ist- %-C*R - *) C- *T- *R*RO*9R7- *3M*-)TM- 3*)- *3O-4*;*<- 4*6T*<)*C<*=- )*(*69 M*(8*- 3*35(*- *9- *6*89R 6/ORC - /7RM 24-3- *!7M- **M*- (M*RT- *4)4*<*67- **67- *-7)R*- COCO/ 8- *4*69 !7693O8*4RO*8- 476;7- 45T7!- %st 3*4*97(- %-5T*3( 67OR C7T7> 6(? were able to secure a #andatory in@unction issued by the (C directing the COM ! C to allow the# to participate in the elections and include the na#es of these &, petitioners in the printing of the official ballot' )etitioners prayed for the issuance of a te#porary restraining order and:or writ of preli#inary in@unction' The (C issued (tatus Auo *nte Orders in all petitions' This 8ecision governs only the 54 consolidated petitions that were granted (tatus Auo *nte Orders' Issues:

4*6*T% should be applied by the COM ! C in the May 2$%& elections' 6O Held: 9R*6T 8' The COM ! C did not co##it grave abuse of discretion in following prevailing decisions of this Court in dis"ualifying petitioners fro# participating in the 2$%& party-list elections' ;owever- since the (C adopts in this 8ecision new para#eters in the "ualification of national- regional- and sectoral parties under the party-list syste#- the (C re#anded to the COM ! C for redeter#ination of the groupsC "ualification' The %,.+ Constitution provides the basis for the party-list syste# of representation2' (i#ply put- the party-list syste# is intended to de#ocratiDe political power by giving political parties that cannot win in legislative district
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%' =O6 the COM ! C co##itted grave abuse of


discretion a#ounting to lac0 or eBcess of @urisdiction in dis"ualifying petitioner' 6O 2' =O6 the criteria for participating in the party-list syste# laid down in *ng 4agong 4ayani and

BANATRULES: First, the political party, sector, organization or coalition must represent marginalized and underrepresented groups. Second, they must comply with the declared statutory policy of enabling Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors to be elected to the House of Representatives. Third, the religious sector may not be represented in the party- list system. Fourth, a party or an organization must not be disqualified under Section 6 of RA 7941, which enumerates the grounds for disqualification as follows: (1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association, organized for religious purposes; (2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal; (3) It is a foreign party or organization; (4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation, organization, (5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections; (6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition; (7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or (8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails to obtain at least 2% of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the constituency in which it has registered. Fifth, the party or organization must not be a project organized or an entity funded or assisted by, the government. Sixth, the party must not only comply with the requirements of the law; its nominees must likewise do so: natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than 1 year immediately preceding the day of the election, able to read and write, a bona fide member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent for at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election, and is at least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election. In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty-five (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to continue in office until the expiration of his term.

elections a chance to win seats in the ;ouse of Representatives' The voter elects two representatives in the ;ouse of Representatives: one for his or her legislative district- and another for his or her party-list group or organiDation of choice' The fra#ers intended the sectoral parties to constitute a part- but not the entirety- of the party-list syste#' *s eBplained by Co##issioner =ilfredo Eillacorta- political parties can participate in the party-list syste# FG/Hor as long as they field candidates who co#e fro# the different #arginaliDed sectors that we shall designate in this Constitution'I The party-list syste# will be the entry point to #e#bership in the ;ouse of Representatives for both these non-traditional parties that could not co#pete in legislative district elections' The indisputable intent of the fra#ers of the %,.+ Constitution to include in the party-list syste# both sectoral and nonsectoral parties is clearly written in (ection 52%?- *rticle E7 of the Constitution 2cited sa footnotesJ?' (ection 52%?*rticle E7 of the Constitution is crystal-clear that there shall be Fa party-list syste# of registered nationalregional- and sectoral parties or organiDations'I The co##as after the words FnationalG-HI and FregionalG-HI separate national and regional parties fro# sectoral parties' ;ad the fra#ers of the %,.+ Constitution intended national and regional parties to be at the sa#e ti#e sectoral- they would have stated Fnational and regional sectoral parties'I They did not- precisely because it was never their intention to #a0e the party-list syste# eBclusively sectoral' =hat the fra#ers intended- and what they eBpressly wrote in (ection 52%?- could not be any clearer: the party-list syste# is co#posed of three different groups- and the sectoral parties belong to only one of the three groups' The teBt of (ection 52%? leaves no roo# for any doubt that national and regional parties are separate fro# sectoral parties'

Seventh, not only the candidate party or organization must represent marginalized and underrepresented sectors; so also must its nominees. Eighth, the nominee must likewise be able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole. 2 Section 5, Article VI (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a partylist system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations. (2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one-half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.

Thus- the party-list syste# is co#posed of three different groups: 2%? national parties or organiDations1 22? regional parties or organiDations1 and 2&? sectoral parties or organiDations' (ection &2c? of R'*' 6o' +,4% further provides that a Fpolitical party refers to an organiDed group of citiDens advocating an ideology or platfor#- principles and policies for the general conduct of govern#ent'I On the other hand- (ection &2d? of R'*' 6o' +,4% provides that a Fsectoral party refers to an organiDed group of citiDens belonging to any of the sectors enu#erated in (ection 5 hereof whose principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and concerns of their sector'I R'*' 6o' +,4% provides different definitions for a political and a sectoral party' *lso- it does not re"uire national and regional parties or organiDations to represent the F#arginaliDed and underrepresentedI sectors' To re"uire all national and regional parties under the party-list syste# to represent the F#arginaliDed and underrepresentedI is to deprive and eBclude- by @udicial fiat- ideology-based and cause-oriented parties fro# the party-list syste#' ;ow then should we har#oniDe the broad policy declaration in (ection 2 of R'*' 6o' +,4% with its specific i#ple#enting provisions- bearing in #ind the applicable provisions of the %,.+ Constitution on the #atterK The phrase F#arginaliDed and underrepresentedI should refer only to the sectors in (ection 5 that are- by their natureecono#ically F#arginaliDed and underrepresented'I These sectors are: labor- peasantfisherfol0- urban poor- indigenous cultural co##unitieshandicapped- veterans- overseas wor0ers- and other si#ilar sectors' /or these sectors- a #a@ority of the #e#bers of the sectoral party #ust belong to the F#arginaliDed and underrepresented'I To belong to the F#arginaliDed and underrepresentedI sector- it is sufficient that one- or his or her sector- is below the #iddle class' More specifically- the econo#ically F#arginaliDed and underrepresentedI are those who fall in the low inco#e group as classified by the 6ational (tatistical Coordination 4oard' T !s !"te#$#etat!%" &!ll a#'%"!(e t e )*+7 C%"st!tut!%" a"d R.A. N%. 7*,) a"d &!ll -!.e #!se t% a 'ult!/$a#t0 s0ste' & e#e t %se 1'a#-!"al!(ed a"d u"de##e$#ese"ted23 4%t !" ec%"%'!c a"d !de%l%-!cal status2 &!ll a.e t e %$$%#tu"!t0 t% se"d t e!# %&" 'e'4e#s t% t e H%use %5 Re$#ese"tat!.es' *s we ac0nowledge here that the COM ! C did not co##it grave abuse of discretion- we declare that it would not be in accord with the %,.+ Constitution and R'*' 6o' +,4% to apply the criteria in *ng 4agong 4ayani and 4*6*T in deter#ining who are "ualified to participate in the co#ing %& May 2$%& party-list elections' Thus- we re#and all the present petitions to the COM ! C' 7n deter#ining who #ay participate in the co#ing %& May 2$%& and subse"uent party-list electionsthe COM ! C shall adhere to the following para#eters: ). T #ee d!55e#e"t -#%u$s 'a0 $a#t!c!$ate !" t e $a#t0/ l!st s0ste'6 7)8 "at!%"al $a#t!es %# %#-a"!(at!%"s2 728 #e-!%"al $a#t!es %# %#-a"!(at!%"s2 a"d 738 sect%#al $a#t!es %# %#-a"!(at!%"s. 2. Nat!%"al $a#t!es %# %#-a"!(at!%"s a"d #e-!%"al $a#t!es %# %#-a"!(at!%"s d% "%t "eed t% %#-a"!(e

al%"- sect%#al l!"es a"d d% "%t "eed t% #e$#ese"t a"0 1'a#-!"al!(ed a"d u"de##e$#ese"ted3 sect%#. 3. P%l!t!cal $a#t!es ca" $a#t!c!$ate !" $a#t0/l!st elect!%"s $#%.!ded t e0 #e-!ste# u"de# t e $a#t0/l!st s0ste' a"d d% "%t 5!eld ca"d!dates !" le-!slat!.e d!st#!ct elect!%"s. A $%l!t!cal $a#t02 & et e# 'a9%# %# "%t2 t at 5!elds ca"d!dates !" le-!slat!.e d!st#!ct elect!%"s ca" $a#t!c!$ate !" $a#t0/ l!st elect!%"s %"l0 t #%u- !ts sect%#al &!"- t at ca" se$a#atel0 #e-!ste# u"de# t e $a#t0/l!st s0ste'. T e sect%#al &!"- !s 40 !tsel5 a" !"de$e"de"t sect%#al $a#t02 a"d !s l!":ed t% a $%l!t!cal $a#t0 t #%u- a c%al!t!%". ,. ;ect%#al $a#t!es %# %#-a"!(at!%"s 'a0 e!t e# 4e 1'a#-!"al!(ed a"d u"de##e$#ese"ted3 %# lac:!"- !" 1&ell/de5!"ed $%l!t!cal c%"st!tue"c!es.3 It !s e"%ut at t e!# $#!"c!$al ad.%cac0 $e#ta!"s t% t e s$ec!al !"te#est a"d c%"ce#"s %5 t e!# sect%#. T e sect%#s t at a#e 1'a#-!"al!(ed a"d u"de##e$#ese"ted3 !"clude la4%#2 $easa"t2 5!s e#5%l:2 u#4a" $%%#2 !"d!-e"%us cultu#al c%''u"!t!es2 a"d!ca$$ed2 .ete#a"s2 a"d %.e#seas &%#:e#s. T e sect%#s t at lac: 1&ell/de5!"ed $%l!t!cal c%"st!tue"c!es3 !"clude $#%5ess!%"als2 t e elde#l02 &%'e"2 a"d t e 0%ut . <. A 'a9%#!t0 %5 t e 'e'4e#s %5 sect%#al $a#t!es %# %#-a"!(at!%"s t at #e$#ese"t t e 1'a#-!"al!(ed a"d u"de##e$#ese"ted3 'ust 4el%"- t% t e 1'a#-!"al!(ed a"d u"de##e$#ese"ted3 sect%# t e0 #e$#ese"t. ;!'!la#l02 a 'a9%#!t0 %5 t e 'e'4e#s %5 sect%#al $a#t!es %# %#-a"!(at!%"s t at lac: 1&ell/de5!"ed $%l!t!cal c%"st!tue"c!es3 'ust 4el%"- t% t e sect%# t e0 #e$#ese"t. T e "%'!"ees %5 sect%#al $a#t!es %# %#-a"!(at!%"s t at #e$#ese"t t e 1'a#-!"al!(ed a"d u"de##e$#ese"ted23 %# t at #e$#ese"t t %se & % lac: 1&ell/de5!"ed $%l!t!cal c%"st!tue"c!es23 e!t e# 'ust 4el%"- t% t e!# #es$ect!.e sect%#s2 %# 'ust a.e a t#ac: #ec%#d %5 ad.%cac0 5%# t e!# #es$ect!.e sect%#s. T e "%'!"ees %5 "at!%"al a"d #e-!%"al $a#t!es %# %#-a"!(at!%"s 'ust 4e 4%"a/5!de 'e'4e#s %5 suc $a#t!es %# %#-a"!(at!%"s. 6. Nat!%"al2 #e-!%"al2 a"d sect%#al $a#t!es %# %#-a"!(at!%"s s all "%t 4e d!s=ual!5!ed !5 s%'e %5 t e!# "%'!"ees a#e d!s=ual!5!ed2 $#%.!ded t at t e0 a.e at least %"e "%'!"ee & % #e'a!"s =ual!5!ed.