Drug Addicts’ Group Joining 2013 Polls?

MANILA, Philippines - A group of drug addicts is applying for party-list accreditation for the 2013 polls at the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the Samahan ng mga Drug Addict is among the 172 party-list groups that have already filed their registration for accreditation.

"We receive a lot of that...we'll set all these for hearing, including that of the group of drug addicts," he said in an interview.

"We are going to start the hearings May 2 to 31, 2012," added Brillantes.

In 2010, a group of cockfighters also applied for accreditation at the commission but was eventually denied by the poll body after it failed to meet the "basic" technical requirements.

Brillantes also revealed that the poll body is set to come out soon with a resolution on the number of parties to be delisted from those previously accredited.

"We have about 179 existing or previously accredited. Out of this 179 we are coming out with a resolution delisting, I think, 50 or 60 from the original," he said.

"Those to be delisted are those who failed to get the required 2 percent in two previous elections," added Brillantes.

He said once delisted, the group is suspended from participating in the next elections.

Section 6 (8) of the Omnibus Election Code states that the poll body "may motu proprio" remove or cancel the registration of any national, regional, or sectoral party, organization or coalition on a number of grounds.

One of these includes the "failure to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails to obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the votes cast under the party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the constituency in which it has registered."

Republic Act No. 7941, also known as Party-List System Act, lists the following qualifications for a group to be considered marginalized, or belonging to the underrepresented sectors: "labor, peasant, fisher folk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals."

The Comelec had earlier said that party-list organizations have until May 3, 2012 to file a "manifestation of intent" to participate in the 2013 mid-term polls.

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