January 8, 2013
As the Supreme Court (SC) holds its first en banc session for the year, the newly formed workers party-list Partido ng Manggagawa Coalition (PM COALITION) appealed to the high court to reverse the “erroneous” decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualifying the group.
PM COALITION has learned that among the agenda of the en banc session is its petition for certiorari and urgent motion. Unlike some other disqualified party-list groups, PM COALITION has not yet secured relief from the SC since today’s session will be the first opportunity for justices to discuss its petition and motion.
Last December 21, PM COALITION filed a petition with the SC seeking its accreditation as a party-list and a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the Comelec’s raffle of party-list names and the printing of ballots. A day before the scheduled raffle, PM COALITION also filed last January 3 an omnibus motion asking for a special raffle on its petition and praying for inclusion in the raffle as an alternative to the TRO it earlier sought.
Yesterday, some 60 PM COALITION members such as unionists of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA), laborers from the Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Paranaque and informal workers from Zone One Tondo Organization (ZOTO) picketed the Padre Faura office of the SC to push for its party-list accreditation. Some of the rallyists dressed up as mechanics and while others held up toilet plungers to signify the group’s advocacy of representing the labor sector and cleansing the party-list system.
Bong Palad, PM COALITION president and secretary of PALEA, averred that “We ask the Supreme Court to be the court of last resort and remedy the erroneous decision of the Comelec on disqualifying a group that is truly representative of the labor sector. Palpak ang Comelec sapagkat inaccredit pa rin nila ang mga BOPAL (bogus party-lists) habang dinisqualify naman ang ibang lehitimo gaya ng PM COALITION.”
PM Coalition cited Rule 64 in its petition which allows review of decisions of constitutional commission bodies. The group is protesting why a truly marginalized group and whose nominees possess laudable track records in serving the working class is denied accreditation by the Comelec while highly questionable groups got blind approval.
“Our coalition is composed of truly marginalized sector, the working class, and our nominees have indisputable track records as veteran leaders of big trade unions and labor organizations,” argued Palad, a long-time trade union leader.
PM Coalition nominees include labor leader Renato Magtubo, PALEA president Gerry Rivera, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation Annie Geron, Central Negros Electric Cooperative union president Benjamin Tundag, and Philadelfa Burdeos, former president of the BPI union in Cagayan De Oro City. Palad said several unions and labor associations nationwide coalesced into PM Coalition to boost their chances of winning in the 2013 elections. A party or a coalition of sectoral groups is allowed under the party-list law.