(Supreme Court of the Philippines}

(Supreme Court of the Philippines}

MANILA (Mabuhay) -– The Supreme Court has issued a temporary restraining order against the ruling of the Commission on Elections that disqualified the Senior Citizens party-list group from the party-list race.

The TRO stated that Comelec must comment on the petition filed by the Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines Inc., questioning its disqualification from the party-list race.

The Supreme Court has also ordered the Comelec to cease from further proclamations of other party-list winners.

“NOW, THEREFORE, You, respondent COMELEC, are hereby required to COMMENT on the petitions and the supplemental petition within a NON-EXTENDIBLE period of ten (10) days from notice hereof. Meanwhile, the cases are hereby CONSOLIDATED and a TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER is ISSUED, effectively immediately and continuing until further orders from this Court, ordering You, respondent COMELEC, your agents, representatives, or persons acting in your place or stead, to cease and desist from further proclaiming winners from among the party-list candidates,” the TRO read.

Senior Citizens, which was among 12 groups earlier disqualified by the poll body, is urging the Supreme Court to strike out its second disqualification from the election process after garnering a significant number of votes.

The group obtained half a million votes in the May 13 elections and would rank 10th in the party-list rankings if its votes are counted.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes earlier said the poll body would only include the votes for the disqualified party-lists if the Supreme Court overturns the poll body’s previous ruling.

He said should the Supreme Court issue a ruling in favor of Senior Citizens, the allocation of seats for other groups may be adjusted. “Malaking adjustment ‘yon ‘pag 600,000 [votes] ang isinali n’yo … Baka may matanggal pa,” he told reporters.

Senior Citizens was delisted by Comelec after its party-list nominees broke up and then forged a term-sharing agreement for the two seats they won in the 2010 poll.

The dispute went to the high court, which subsequently remanded the case to the poll body. The SC then released new guidelines in choosing the groups that would qualify.

A few days before the elections, however, the poll body stood by its earlier decision against the party-list group.

Meanwhile, the Comelec on Tuesday proclaimed 38 winning party-list groups that will occupy 53 seats in the 16th Congress. (MNS)