SC upholds Comelec disqualification of KABAKA

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court has upheld the disqualification of party-list group Kabalikat ng Bayan sa Kaunlaran (KABAKA) from the 2013 midterm elections, saying the Commission on Elections did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it prohibited KABAKA from gunning for a congressional seat.

In a resolution dated December 4 but released only on Wednesday, December 20, the SC said it found no merit in the petition of KABAKA, which was previously accredited by the poll body in the 2010 elections. 

The High Court added that KABAKA, which is represented by Amado Bagatsing, also failed to provide the SC a certified true copy or duplicate original of the Comelec verdict disqualifying the party. The SC said this is mandatory under Rule 64 of the Civil Rules of Procedure, which includes Review of Judgments and Final Orders or Resolutions of the Commission on Elections.  

The SC has yet to decide on similar petitions filed by 52 other party-list groups, however.

The High Court issued a status quo ante order that temporarily stopped the Comelec from disqualifying party-list groups Ako Bicol, Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives, 1-Care and Alliance of Rural Concerns, among others. 

The groups  sought reprieve from the SC after the Comelec disqualified them in October for failing to prove that they represent marginalized sectors. 

The poll body said that under Republic Act 7941 or the Party-List System Act, marginalized sectors cover only labor, peasant, fisher folk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers and professionals.  

The party-list groups said the Comelec deprived them of their right to due process, because they were not accorded the opportunity to prove that they represent marginalized sectors. 

The SC is expected to raffle off the consolidated cases in January 2013. -