Ruling PDP-Laban party and Nacionalista Party will enjoy certain benefits after being declared by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) as the dominant majority and minority parties for the 2019 elections.
Under the law, the dominant parties shall be given copies of election returns and certificates of canvass, and “shall each be entitled to one official watcher who shall be paid a fixed per diem of Four hundred pesos (P400.00).”
According to an an earlier COMELEC resolution, “preference shall be given to the watchers of the dominant majority and dominant minority parties” in cases where limited space prevent all watchers from entering the polling precincts.
The opposition is protesting the COMELEC’s decision, noting that both parties are allied with the Duterte administration.
“We appeal to COMELEC, don’t pretend to be blind. Don’t be an instrument and a tool of the administration in trampling on our political rights and mangling our democracy. Has the Comelec become a sycophant too?” Liberal Party (LP) President Kiko Pangilinan said in a statement on Friday.
He questioned the timing of the COMELEC’s decision, which was released Thursday, four days before the May 13 elections. “There is no time to appeal. Was this deliberate?”
Still, Pangilinan said the LP will oppose this “unacceptable” move before the Supreme Court.
Even COMELEC Commissioner Luie Tito Guia stressed that the dominant minority party should “logically come from the minority.”
COMELEC Spokesperson James Jimenez said the poll body used a set of criteria and formula in determining the ranking of the parties.
“Dominant majority and minority are again simply a function of certain numerical values,” Jimenez said. He stressed that forged alliances have nothing to do with the process.
“It’s not about who you are aligned with. It’s about your size and relative strength as a political party,” he said.
Administration candidates have dominated senatorial polls ahead of the May 13 midterm elections.