The Supreme Court (SC) has denied the petition of three losing party-list groups assailing the proclamation of 51 winning party-list groups in the 2019 polls.
SC spokesman Brian Hosaka announced that the high tribunal had voted during a full court session held last Sept. 15 to deny the petition which questioned the constitutionality of Sec. 11(b) of Republic Act 941 or the Party-List System Act.
The petition was filed by Ang Partido ng Mga Marinong Pilipino (Angkla), Serbisyo sa Bayan Party (SBP) and petitioner-in-intervention Aksyon Magsasaka-Partido Tinig ng Masa (Akma-PTM) which placed 54th, 53rd, and 52nd, respectively, in the 2019 elections.
The petitioners called as unconstitutional Section 11(b) of RA 7941 which allocates additional seats “in proportion to the total number of votes” of a party-list which garnered more than 2 percent of the party-list votes since it results in “double counting” of votes in favor of such party-list.
“However, the interpretation of Section 11(b) of RA 7941 had long been settled in the case of Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) vs Comelec, G.R. No. 179271 decided by the Supreme Court on 08 July 2009,” said Hosaka.
“The Banat case laid down the parameters and methodology on how the seats for the party-list sector should be allocated, and the same formula had been used and applied in the allocation of seats for the party-list sector in Congress since then,” he explained.
Hosaka also pointed out that “the majority vote required by the Constitution to annul and declare a law unconstitutional was not reached.”
The spokesman noted that six magistrates joined the decision of Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier to deny the petition, while six dissented.
Only Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa submitted a concurring and dissenting opinion.
“Hence, in view of the provision in the Constitution requiring a majority vote in declaring a law unconstitutional, and pursuant to Rule 12, Section 2 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, the Court denied the petition,” Hosaka said.
“As a consequence, the proclamation by the Comelec of the winning party-list groups during the 13 May 2019 elections in accordance with the formula espoused in the Banat case was upheld. Further, Section 11(b) of RA 7941 was not declared unconstitutional,” he added.