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Comelec asked to defer raffle of party-list names until SC decides on petitions

A labor group on Thursday called on the Commission on Elections to defer its raffle on Friday of names of party-list groups participating in the 2013 polls – at least until the Supreme Court resolves pending petitions for certiorari by groups the Comelec has disqualified from the race. In a statement, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) Coalition said it had sought remedy from the Supreme Court before the holiday break, after it was disqualified based on "mere technicality" and the poll body’s "misinterpretation" of the law.   But it said the Supreme Court justices will resume their session on January 9, their first session for the year.  Also PM noted that before the SC went into break on December 11, the en banc issued status quo ante orders (SQAO) for another batch of 19 party-list groups that were previously disqualified by the Comelec. Moreover, the PM statement said the group hopes that it will get the same reprieve from the high tribunal, claiming that it had submitted "substantial evidence" supporting its petition for certiorari and eventual qualification as a legitimate party-list group.   In the assailed Comelec resolution denying the accreditation of PM Coalition, the poll body states: “A careful perusal of the petition clearly shows that PM Coalition fell short of the requirement to be accredited as a sectoral coalition. While petitioner has extensively submitted documentary evidence to support its petition, it failed to consider a material requisite to seek registration as a coalition, that is, that its member organizations should be duly registered parties with this Commission.” PM Coalition nominee Renato Magtubo said this particular Comelec resolution “was highly irregular and questionable” and therefore the offended party must be given due course before the poll body conducts the raffle and the final printing of ballots. “Many were aware of the fact that the Comelec’s half-serious purging of the party-list system has disqualified many groups but at the same time allowed many spurious groups and parties with no substantial qualifications to remain in the race.  This is truly unjust and unfair for a legitimate sectoral group such as the PM Coalition,” Magtubo said. Comelec's raffle of the names of qualified party-list groups for the 2013 polls will determine the order of listing of groups' names on the ballot. 'Misinterpretation' In an ealier statement, PM Coalition Chairman Ambrosio Palad clarified the Comelec's supposed "misinterpretation" regarding the nature of their coalition. He said PM Coalition is a coalition of different labor organizations that want to participate in the 2013 party-list elections. “It is not a coalition of political parties like the UNA or the LP-NP-NPC-Akbayan alliance as grossly misunderstood by the Comelec's Second Division,” he said. Also, Palad said several unions and labor associations nationwide coalesced into PM Coalition to boost their chances of winning in the 2013 elections. He argued a party or a coalition of sectoral groups is allowed under the party-list law. The PM Coalition also said the groups under it include duly registered groups such as the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), Partido ng Manggagawa, United Cavite Workers Association, Rosario Workers Association, Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino, Displaced Workers Association of Teresa, Rizal, Nasudnong Katawhang Kabus in Cebu, Labor Power Council-Negros (LPC-Negros), Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Antipolo (SAMA), Samahan ng Manggagawa ng Parañaque (SMP), United Panay-Iloilo Truck Drivers Association (UPTDA), United Skilled Plumbers Association Inc. (USPA), CENECO Union of Rationale Employees (CURE), Samahan ng Mamamayan-Zone One Tondo Organization (SM ZOTO), Valenzuela Informal Settlers Federation (VISFED), and Yellow Bus Line Employees Union (YBLEU). — LBG, GMA News