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Eleksyon 2013

SC stops disqualification of Senior Citizens, Abang Lingkod party-list groups

June 5, 2013 11:10am

(Updated 12:35 p.m.) The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a status quo ante order against a Commission on Elections ruling disqualifying the Coalition of Senior Citizens in the Philippines and the Abang Lingkod party-list groups.
 
The announcement was made by SC Public Information Chief and Spokesman Theodore Te at a media briefing in Manila.
 
The SQA order was against a May 10 resolution from the poll body which upheld its earlier disqualification of the two groups.
 
The Comelec earlier had to review the groups' qualification after the SC last April 5 remanded to the poll body the cases the group filed with the high court contesting their disqualification last year.
 
The two groups were not supposed to be included in the party-list race but the April 5 SC ruling in their favor forced the Comelec to include their names when the ballots were printed in January.

On May 10, however, the Comelec affirmed their disqualification.
 
The Senior Citizens party-list got more than 600,000 votes in the May 13 elections, placing 10th. Meanwhile, Abang Lingkod garnered more than 200,000 votes, qualifying it as well for a seat in the House of Representatives.
 
Te also said the high court ordered the Comelec to reserve a seat for the Senior Citizens party-list but "held in abeyance" its proclamation. Likewise, the high court ordered the poll body to hold Abang Lingkod's proclamation in abeyance.

Asked if Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's TRO against the proclamation of the remaining party-list winners was effectively revoked due with the latest ruling, Te said "all previous orders are superceded if inconsistent with the SQA."
 
Asked if the SQA allows the Comelec to resume with the proclamation, Te said it was up to the poll body "to interpret" the court order.

Sereno's TRO
 
Since they were flooded with more than 300 items in their agenda, the magistrates on Tuesday failed to settle the issue on another TRO that was earlier issued against the proclamation of some winning party-list groups in the May 13 elections.
 
This TRO, issued by Sereno in favor of petitioner Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines Inc., became controversial after Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro wrote the chief justice a letter asking why her — De Castro's — recommendation was omitted from the TRO that the SC released to the public.
 
In her letter dated May 29, De Castro said the TRO should have only covered the Senior Citizens group's petition and not of any other groups.
 
De Castro further said that Sereno's TRO should have only stopped the Comelec from implementing its May 10, 2012 order disqualifying the Senior Citizen's group, and not the proclamation.
 
In response, Sereno also wrote De Castro a letter saying that the TRO was not a "blanket injunction" and an "overbroad restriction," as claimed by De Castro.
 
"The reason for not restraining the Comelec Resolution... is simple — I believe that it is the court en banc that must collectively make the decision to restrain or not the implementation of the said resolution," Sereno said. — VVP/RSJ, GMA News
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