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BANAT vs. COMELEC, G.R. Nos.

179271 & 179295, April 21, 2009 and July 8,


2009
Facts: Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) filed
before the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) a petition to proclaim the full number of
party list representatives provided by the Constitution. However, the recommendation of the
head of the legal group of COMELECs national board of canvassers to declare the petition
moot and academic was approved by the COMELEC en banc, and declared further in a
resolution that the winning party list will be resolved using the Veterans ruling. BANAT then
filed a petition before the SC assailing said resolution of the COMELEC.
Issues:
1. W/N the 20% allocation for party-list representatives provided in Sec 5 (2), Art VI of the
Constitution mandatory or merely a ceiling.
2. W/N the 2% threshold and qualifier votes prescribed by the same Sec 11 (b) of RA
7941 constitutional.
3. W/N the Constitution prohibits major political parties from participating in the party-list
elections.
Held:
1. Neither the Constitution nor RA 7941 mandates the filling up of the entire 20% allocation
of party-list representatives found in the Constitution. The Constitution, in paragraph 1, Sec
5 of Art VI, left the determination of the number of the members of the House of
Representatives to Congress. The 20% allocation of party-list representatives is merely a
ceiling; party-list representatives cannot be more than 20% of the members of the House of
Representatives.
2. No. The Court ruled that, in computing the allocation of additional seats, the continued
operation of the two percent threshold for the distribution of the additional seats as found in
the second clause of Sec 11(b) of RA 7941 is unconstitutional. The Court finds that the two
percent threshold makes it mathematically impossible to achieve the maximum number of
available party-list seats when the available party-list seat exceeds 50. The continued
operation of the two percent threshold in the distribution of the additional seats frustrates
the attainment of the permissive ceiling that 20% of the members of the House of
Representatives shall consist of party-list representatives. The Court therefore struck down
the two percent threshold only in relation to the distribution of the additional seats as found
in the second clause of Sec 11 (b) of RA 7941. The two percent threshold presents an
unwarranted obstacle to the full implementation of Sec 5 (2), Art VI of the Constitution and
prevents the attainment of the-broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group
interests in the House of Representatives.
3. No. Neither the Constitution nor RA 7941 prohibits major political parties from
participating in the party-list system. On the contrary, the framers of the Constitution clearly
intended the major political parties to participate in party-list elections through their sectoral
wings. However, by vote of 8-7, the Court decided to continue the ruling in Veterans
disallowing major political parties from participating in the party-list elections, directly or
indirectly.