SC holds disqualification of 4 more party-list groups

MANILA — Four more party-list groups are beneficiaries of the status quo ante order (SQAO) issued Thursday by the Supreme Court (SC) that stopped temporarily their disqualification in the 2013 national elections as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) allowed 79 party-list groups to participate in next year’s polls.

The SQAO covered the Agri-Agra Reporma Para sa Magsasaka ng Pilipinas Movement (AGRI), the True Marcos Loyalists for God, Country, and People Association of the Philippines, Inc. (Bantay), the Action Brotherhood for Active Dreamers, Inc. (ABROAD), and the Cocofed-Philippine Coconut Producers, Inc. (COCOFED).

Similar to the two SQAOs issued earlier by the SC, the party-list groups and the Comelec were ordered to maintain the status quo prior to their disqualification “until the petitions are resolved on the merits.”

This means that the registration or accreditation of the party-list groups covered by the SQAOs is restored temporarily by the SC until the final resolution of their cases.

If their cases are not resolved with finality before the May, 2013 elections, the votes cast in their favor would have to be counted by the Comelec but their proclamation has to wait for the final decision of the SC.

As of yesterday, 15 party-list groups are already covered by the SQAOs.

The 11 others are the Ako Bicol (AKB), Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (APEC), 1st Consumer’s Alliance for Rural Energy, Inc. (1-CARE) Alliance for Rural Concerns (ARC), Aksyon Magsasaka-Partido Tinig ng Masa (Akma-PTM), Kapatiran ng mga Nakulong na Walang Sala, Inc. (Kakusa), Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction, Inc. (Araro), Association for Righteousness Advocacy on Leadership (ARAL), Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD), Philippine Guardian Brotherhood, Inc. (1BRO-PGBI), and Agapay ng Indigenous People Rights Alliance (A-IPRA).

The cases are consolidated with the petition filed by AKB. The Comelec was also ordered to file its comment within 10 days on the petitions filed by AGRI, Bantay, ABROAD, and COCOFED.

It was learned that several other petitions are still pending deliberation by the SC which has two more full court sessions before going into the Yuletide recess.

Among the pending petitions were those of the Guardians Nationalist Phil. Inc, (GANAP/GUARDIANS), Kaagapay ng Nagkakaisang Aguilang Pilipinong Magsasaka (KAP), Ako Agila sa Nakakaisang Magsasaka (Ako Agila), Firm 24-K Association, Inc. (FIRM 24-K), and the Green Force for the Environment-Sons and Daughters of Mother Earth (Green Force).

The Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) has also filed a petition challenging the Comelec order that denied its accreditation as a party-list group. Its petition is still pending.