Comelec urges party-list groups to police ranks

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has called on party-list groups joining next year’s balloting to police their ranks and ensure that only genuine advocates of their causes will represent them in Congress.


Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said it was ultimately the responsibility of party-list groups, not just the election body, to make sure that only qualified nominees will become sectoral representatives.


Jimenez said party-list groups should protect themselves against bogus advocates and politicians who try to get a seat in Congress through the party-list system to ensure that the sector they seek to represent in will not be shortchanged.


The Comelec earlier announced it was adopting a “more relaxed” screening of party-list groups and will no longer conduct an “automatic review” of the eligibility of groups running in the 2016 party-list elections unlike what it did prior to the 2013 balloting.


For this year’s party-list elections, the Comelec said applicants merely need to meet the requirements set by Republic Act No. 7941 such as submitting the group’s constitution and by-laws, platform of government.


Only groups advocating violence, a foreign party and a religious sect or denomination will be barred from joining the party-list elections next year.