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AJLPP CALLS FOR TOTAL RELEASE OF KA BEL, CONDEMNS NEW COMELEC MACHINATIONS

by AJLPP Tuesday, Jun. 05, 2007 at 6:52 PM
magsasakapil@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

The Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines (AJLPP) strongly demand that the US-Arroyo regime stop harassing Representative Crispin Beltran and other progressive party-list representatives and set Ka. Bel totally free. The AJLPP find it ridiculous that the Makati City Court will just set Ka Bel free for only four days during the duration of the Congress sessions while the Supreme Court has just junked the charges against him and the “Batasan Five” as devoid of due process. On the other hand, the AJLPP also condemn the new machinations of the COMELEC for its “veterans formula” of giving only three seats in the lower house to the party-list group BUHAY and give other party-list groups one seat each.

AJLPP-USA

Election Update No. 11

June 4, 2007

AJLPP CALLS FOR TOTAL RELEASE OF KA BEL, CONDEMNS NEW COMELEC MACHINATIONS ON PARTY-LIST GROUPS

Los Angeles --The Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines (AJLPP) strongly demand that the US-Arroyo regime stop harassing Representative Crispin Beltran and other progressive party-list representatives and set Ka. Bel totally free.

The AJLPP find it ridiculous that the Makati City Court will just set Ka Bel free for only four days during the duration of the Congress sessions while the Supreme Court has just junked the charges against him and the “Batasan Five” as devoid of due process.

The AJLPP strongly support Ka Bel’s family demand for compensation for his medical expenses incurred during his “hospital detention” for 15 months. Besides, the hospital expenses was not a voluntary effort on the part of Ka Bel but was forced by the US-Arroyo regime. It is the responsibility of the police and the US-Arroyo regime to compensate the Beltran family for these unwanted expenses.

On the other hand, the AJLPP also condemn the new machinations of the COMELEC for its “veterans formula” of giving only three seats in the lower house to the party-list group BUHAY and give other party-list groups one seat each.

AJLPP Against New COMELEC Machinations

According to news reports. Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos Sr. said the poll body would use the so-called “Panganiban formula” instead of the commission’s “2-4-6 formula” in determining the number of seats each winning party-list organization would have in the incoming 14th Congress. It’s only the No. 1 group that will get three seats under the (Panganiban) formula,” Abalos said at a press conference after the Comelec, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBC), adjourned for the day.

Abalos was referring to the formula created by the Supreme Court to determine the additional number of House seats entitled to a party-list group as it resolved the case of the Veterans Federation Party et al. v. Comelec in 2000. The ruling was penned by then Associate Justice Artemio Panganiban, who retired late last year as Chief Justice.

AJLPP support’s BAYAN MUNA’s legal counsel Neri Colmenares stand that:” the formula that was simply the “invention” of Panganiban. Where did the formula come from? Nowhere in the law did it say that there’s this formula that should be followed. Nor was it in the constitutional proceedings,” he said.

Colmenares said Bayan Muna had always held the “Panganiban formula wrong” such that when it was the first party in the 2001 and 2004 elections, it never questioned the “2-4-6 formula” implemented by the Comelec, which also gave other party-list groups like APEC and Akbayan three seats each.

In the 2-4-6 formula, a party-list that gets 6 percent of the total number of votes cast for the party-list elections would be entitled to three seats. A group with 4 percent will get two seats, and a group with 2 percent, one seat.

The Comelec, Colmenares said, never implemented the Panganiban formula, which was why he was, surprised that in this year’s party-list elections, it decided to do away with its own 2-4-6 formula. He said the Panganiban formula was not really a formula. “It simply says that the first party will get three seats and all the succeeding parties will get their second seats if they get one-half of the vote of the first party,” he said.

COMELEC Biased Against BAYAN MUNA and other progressive party-list groups

“The (Panganiban) formula itself is not right in general and in particular to Bayan Muna. Firstly, the formula says that it is for proportionality but in fact, it (becomes more) disproportionate for the party-list groups,” Colmenares said.

Secondly, Colmenares said, the Comelec’s decision to implement the Panganiban formula “is unjust and unfair to Bayan Muna,” which now appears to be the second party. Should the Comelec decide to implement the Panganiban formula, Bayan Muna would question the ruling in the Supreme Court,” he said.

He added that with the Panganiban formula, it appears that party-list organizations, even if they get 2 percent of the total votes cast for party-list elections, would occupy fewer seats in the 14th Congress.

In the current 13th Congress, the party-list groups occupy a total of 23 seats. Under RA No. 7941, party-list groups are entitled to up to 20 percent (some 50 seats) of the total number of members of the House.

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