EN BANC

[G.R. No. 136781. October 6, 2000]

VETERANS FEDERATION PARTY, ALYANSANG BAYANIHAN NG MGA MAGSASAKA, MANGGAGAWANG BUKID AT MANGINGISDA, ADHIKAIN AT KILUSAN NG ORDINARYONG TAO PARA SA LUPA, PABAHAY AT KAUNLARAN, and LUZON FARMERS PARTY, petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, PAG-ASA, SENIOR CITIZENS, AKAP AKSYON, PINATUBO, NUPA, PRP, AMIN, PAG-ASA, MAHARLIKA, OCW-UNIFIL, PCCI, AMMA-KATIPUNAN, KAMPIL, BANTAY-BAYAN, AFW, ANG LAKAS OCW, WOMEN-POWER, INC., FEJODAP, CUP, VETERANS CARE, 4L, AWATU, PMP, ATUCP, NCWP, ALU, BIGAS, COPRA, GREEN, ANAKBAYAN, ARBA, MINFA, AYOS, ALL COOP, PDP-LABAN, KATIPUNAN, ONEWAY PRINT, AABANTE KA PILIPINAS -- All Being Party-List Parties/Organizations -- and Hon. MANUEL B. VILLAR, JR. in His Capacity as Speaker of the House of Representatives, respondents.

[G.R. No. 136786. October 6, 2000]

AKBAYAN! (CITIZENS' ACTION PARTY), ADHIKAIN AT KILUSAN NG ORDINARYONG TAO PARA SA LUPA, PABAHAY AT KAUNLARAN (AKO), and ASSOCIATION OF PHILIPPINE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES (APEC), petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (COMELEC), HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES represented by Speaker Manuel B. Villar, PAG-ASA, SENIOR CITIZENS, AKAP, AKSYON, PINATUBO, NUPA, PRP, AMIN, MAHARLIKA, OCW, UNIFIL, PCCI, AMMA-KATIPUNAN, KAMPIL, BANTAY-BAYAN, AFW, ANG LAKAS OCW, WOMENPOWER INC., FEJODAP, CUP, VETERANS CARE, FOUR "L", AWATU, PMP, ATUCP, NCWP, ALU, BIGAS, COPRA, GREEN, ANAK-BAYAN, ARBA, MINFA, AYOS, ALL COOP, PDP-LABAN, KATIPUNAN, ONEWAY PRINT, AABANTE KA PILIPINAS, respondents.

[G.R. No. 136795. October 6, 2000]

ALAGAD (PARTIDO NG MARALITANG-LUNGSOD), NATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF SMALL COCONUT FARMERS' ORGANIZATIONS (NCSFCO), and LUZON FARMERS' PARTY (BUTIL), petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, SENIOR CITIZENS, AKAP, AKSYON, PINATUBO, NUPA, PRP, AMIN, PAG-ASA, MAHARLIKA, OCW, UNIFIL, PCCI, AMMA-KATIPUNAN, KAMPIL, BANTAY-BAYAN, AFW, ANG LAKAS OCW, WOMENPOWER INC., FEJODAP, CUP, VETERANS CARE, 4L, AWATU, PMP, ATUCP, NCWP, ALU, BIGAS, COPRA, GREEN, ANAK-BAYAN, ARBA, MINFA, AYOS, ALL COOP, PDP-LABAN, KATIPUNAN, ONEWAY PRINT, and AABANTE KA PILIPINAS, respondents.

D E C I S I O N

PANGANIBAN, J.:*

Prologue

To determine the winners in a Philippine-style party-list election, the Constitution and Republic Act (RA) No. 7941 mandate at least four inviolable parameters. These are:

First, the twenty percent allocation - the combined number of all party-list congressmen shall not exceed twenty percent of the total membership of the House of Representatives, including those elected under the party list.

Second, the two percent threshold - only those parties garnering a minimum of two percent of the total valid votes cast for the party-list system are qualified to have a seat in the House of Representatives;

Third, the three-seat limit - each qualified party, regardless of the number of votes it actually obtained, is entitled to a maximum of three seats; that is, one qualifying and two additional seats.

Fourth, proportional representation - the additional seats which a qualified party is entitled to shall be computed in proportion to their total number of votes.

Because the Comelec violated these legal parameters, the assailed Resolutions must be struck down for having been issued in grave abuse of discretion. The poll body is mandated to enforce and administer election-related laws. It has no power to contravene or amend them. Neither does it have authority to decide the wisdom, propriety or rationality of the acts of Congress.

Its bounden duty is to craft rules, regulations, methods and formulas to implement election laws -- not to reject, ignore, defeat, obstruct or circumvent them.

In fine, the constitutional introduction of the party-list system - a normal feature of parliamentary democracies - into our presidential form of government, modified by unique Filipino statutory parameters, presents new paradigms and novel questions, which demand innovative legal solutions convertible into mathematical formulations which are, in turn, anchored on time-tested jurisprudence.

The Case

Before the Court are three consolidated Petitions for Certiorari (with applications for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction) under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, assailing (1) the October 15, 1998 Resolution[1] of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Second Division, in Election Matter 98-065;[2] and (2) the January 7, 1999 Resolution[3] of the Comelec en banc, affirming the said disposition. The assailed Resolutions ordered the proclamation of thirty-eight (38) additional party-list representatives "to complete the full complement of 52 seats in the House of Representatives as provided under Section 5, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and R.A. 7941.

The Facts and the Antecedents

Our 1987 Constitution introduced a novel feature into our presidential system of government -- the party-list method of representation. Under this system, any national, regional or sectoral party or organization registered with the Commission on Elections may participate in the election of party-list representatives who, upon their election and proclamation, shall sit in the House of Representatives as regular members.[4] In effect, a voter is given two (2) votes for the House -- one for a district congressman and another for a party-list representative.[5]

Specifically, this system of representation is mandated by Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, which provides:

Sec. 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected by a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.

(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party-list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.

Complying with its constitutional duty to provide by law the selection or election of party-list representatives, Congress enacted RA 7941 on March 3, 1995. Under this statutes policy declaration, the State shall "promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of Representatives through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall develop and guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall provide the simplest scheme possible. (italics ours.)

The requirements for entitlement to a party-list seat in the House are prescribed by this law (RA 7941) in this wise:

Sec. 11. Number of Party-List Representatives. -- The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum (20%) of the total number of the members of the House of Representatives including those under the party-list.

For purposes of the May 1998 elections, the first five (5) major political parties on the basis of party representation in the House of Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress of the Philippines shall not be entitled to participate in the party-list system.

In determining the allocation of seats for the second vote, the following procedure shall be observed:

(a) The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they garnered during the elections.

(b) The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one seat each; Provided, That those garnering more than two percent (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes; Provided, finally, That each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats.

Pursuant to Section 18 of RA 7941, the Comelec en banc promulgated Resolution No. 2847, prescribing the rules and regulations governing the election of party-list representatives through the party-list system.

Election of the Fourteen Party-List Representatives

On May 11, 1998, the first election for party-list representation was held simultaneously with the national elections. A total of one hundred twenty-three (123) parties, organizations and coalitions participated. On June 26, 1998, the Comelec en banc proclaimed thirteen (13) party-list representatives from twelve (12) parties and organizations, which had obtained at least two percent of the total number of votes cast for the party-list system. Two of the proclaimed representatives belonged to Petitioner APEC, which obtained 5.5 percent of the votes. The proclaimed winners and the votes cast in their favor were as follows:[6]

Party/Organization/ Number of Percentage of Nominees

Coalition Votes Obtained Total Votes

1. APEC 503,487 5.5% Rene M. Silos

Melvyn D. Eballe

2. ABA 321,646 3.51% Leonardo Q. Montemayor

3. ALAGAD 312,500 3.41% Diogenes S. Osabel

4. VETERANS 304,802 3.33% Eduardo P. Pilapil

FEDERATION

5. PROMDI 255,184 2.79% Joy A.G. Young

6. AKO 239,042 2.61% Ariel A. Zartiga

7. NCSCFO 238,303 2.60% Gorgonio P. Unde

8. ABANSE! PINAY 235,548 2.57% Patricia M. Sarenas

9. AKBAYAN 232,376 2.54% Loreta Ann P. Rosales

10. BUTIL 215,643 2.36% Benjamin A. Cruz

11. SANLAKAS 194,617 2.13% Renato B. Magtubo

12. COOP-NATCCO 189,802 2.07% Cresente C. Paez

After passing upon the results of the special elections held on July 4, 18, and 25, 1998, the Comelec en banc further determined that COCOFED (Philippine Coconut Planters Federation, Inc.) was entitled to one party-list seat for having garnered 186,388 votes, which were equivalent to 2.04 percent of the total votes cast for the party-list system. Thus, its first nominee, Emerito S. Calderon, was proclaimed on September 8, 1998 as the 14th party-list representative.[7]

On July 6, 1998, PAG-ASA (Peoples Progressive Alliance for Peace and Good Government Towards Alleviation of Poverty and Social Advancement) filed with the Comelec a "Petition to Proclaim [the] Full Number of Party-List Representatives provided by the Constitution." It alleged that the filling up of the twenty percent membership of party-list representatives in the House of Representatives, as provided under the Constitution, was mandatory. It further claimed that the literal application of the two percent vote requirement and the three-seat limit under RA 7941 would defeat this constitutional provision, for only 25 nominees would be declared winners, short of the 52 party-list representatives who should actually sit in the House.

Thereafter, nine other party-list organizations[8] filed their respective Motions for Intervention, seeking the same relief as that sought by PAG-ASA on substantially the same grounds. Likewise, PAG-ASAs Petition was joined by other party-list organizations in a Manifestation they filed on August 28, 1998. These organizations were COCOFED, Senior Citizens, AKAP, AKSYON, PINATUBO, NUPA, PRP, AMIN, PCCI, AMMA-KATIPUNAN, OCW-UNIFIL, KAMPIL, MAHARLIKA, AFW, Women Power, Inc., Ang Lakas OCW, FEJODAP, CUP, Veterans Care, Bantay Bayan, 4L, AWATU, PMP, ATUCP, ALU and BIGAS.

On October 15, 1998, the Comelec Second Division promulgated the present assailed Resolution granting PAG-ASA's Petition. It also ordered the proclamation of herein 38 respondents who, in addition to the 14 already sitting, would thus total 52 party-list representatives. It held that "at all times, the total number of congressional[9] seats must be filled up by eighty (80%) percent district representatives and twenty (20%) percent party-list representatives." In allocating the 52 seats, it disregarded the two percent-vote requirement prescribed under Section 11 (b) of RA 7941. Instead, it identified three "elements of the party-list system," which should supposedly determine "how the 52 seats should be filled up." First, "the system was conceived to enable the marginalized sectors of the Philippine society to be represented in the House of Representatives." Second, "the system should represent the broadest sectors of the Philippine society." Third, "it should encourage [the] multi-party system. (Boldface in the original.) Considering these elements, but ignoring the two percent threshold requirement of RA 7941, it concluded that "the party-list groups ranked Nos. 1 to 51 x x x should have at least one representative. It thus disposed as follows:

"WHEREFORE, by virtue of the powers vested in it by the Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code (B.P. 881), Republic Act No. 7941 and other election laws, the Commission (Second Division) hereby resolves to GRANT the instant petition and motions for intervention, to include those similarly situated.

ACCORDINGLY, the nominees from the party-list hereinbelow enumerated based on the list of names submitted by their respective parties, organizations and coalitions are PROCLAIMED as party-list representatives, to wit:

1. SENIOR CITIZENS

2. AKAP

3. AKSYON

4. PINATUBO

5. NUPA

6. PRP

7. AMIN

8. PAG-ASA

9. MAHARLIKA

10. OCW-UNIFIL

11. FCL

12. AMMA-KATIPUNAN

13. KAMPIL

14. BANTAY BAYAN

15. AFW

16. ANG LAKAS OCW

17. WOMENPOWER, INC.

18. FEJODAP

19. CUP

20. VETERANS CARE

21. 4L

22. AWATU

23. PMP

24. ATUCP

25. NCWP

26. ALU

27. BIGAS

28. COPRA

29. GREEN

30. ANAKBAYAN

31. ARBA

32. MINFA

33. AYOS

34. ALL COOP

35. PDP-LABAN

36. KATIPUNAN

37. ONEWAY PRINT

38. AABANTE KA PILIPINAS

to complete the full complement of 52 seats in the House of Representatives as provided in Section 5, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and R.A. 7941.

The foregoing disposition sums up a glaring bit of inconsistency and flip-flopping. In its Resolution No. 2847 dated June 25, 1996, the Comelec en banc had unanimously promulgated a set of Rules and Regulations Governing the Election of x x x Party-List Representatives Through the Party-List System. Under these Rules and Regulations, one additional seat shall be given for every two percent of the vote, a formula the Comelec illustrated in its Annex A. It apparently relied on this method when it proclaimed the 14 incumbent party-list solons (two for APEC and one each for the 12 other qualified parties). However, for inexplicable reasons, it abandoned said unanimous Resolution and proclaimed, based on its three elements, the Group of 38 private respondents.[10]

The twelve (12) parties and organizations, which had earlier been proclaimed winners on the basis of having obtained at least two percent of the votes cast for the party-list system, objected to the proclamation of the 38 parties and filed separate Motions for Reconsideration. They contended that (1) under Section 11 (b) of RA 7941, only parties, organizations or coalitions garnering at least two percent of the votes for the party-list system were entitled to seats in the House of Representatives; and (2) additional seats, not exceeding two for each, should be allocated to those which had garnered the two percent threshold in proportion to the number of votes cast for the winning parties, as provided by said Section 11.

Ruling of the Comelec En Banc

Noting that all the parties -- movants and oppositors alike - had agreed that the twenty percent membership of party-list representatives in the House "should be filled up, the Comelec en banc resolved only the issue concerning the apportionment or allocation of the remaining seats. In other words, the issue was: Should the remaining 38 unfilled seats allocated to party-list solons be given (1) to the thirteen qualified parties that had each garnered at least two percent of the total votes, or (2) to the Group of 38 - herein private respondents - even if they had not passed the two percent threshold?

The poll body held that to allocate the remaining seats only to those who had hurdled the two percent vote requirement "will mean the concentration of representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives to thirteen organizations representing two political parties, three coalitions and four sectors: urban poor, veterans, women and peasantry x x x. Such strict application of the 2% 'threshold' does not serve the essence and object of the Constitution and the legislature -- to develop and guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or group interests in the House of Representatives x x x. Additionally, it "will also prevent this Commission from complying with the constitutional and statutory decrees for party-list representatives to compose 20% of the House of Representatives.

Thus, in its Resolution dated January 7, 1999, the Comelec en banc, by a razor-thin majority -- with three commissioners concurring[11] and two members[12] dissenting -- affirmed the Resolution of its Second Division. It, however, held in abeyance the proclamation of the 51st party (AABANTE KA PILIPINAS), "pending the resolution of petitions for correction of manifest errors.

Without expressly declaring as unconstitutional or void the two percent vote requirement imposed by RA 7941, the Commission blithely rejected and circumvented its application, holding that there were more important considerations than this statutory threshold.

Consequently, several petitions for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, with prayers for the issuance of temporary restraining orders or writs of preliminary injunction, were filed before this Court by the parties and organizations that had obtained at least two per cent of the total votes cast for the party-list system.[13] In the suits, made respondents together with the Comelec were the 38 parties, organizations and coalitions that had been declared by the poll body as likewise entitled to party-list seats in the House of Representatives. Collectively, petitioners sought the proclamation of additional representatives from each of their parties and organizations, all of which had obtained at least two percent of the total votes cast for the party-list system.

On January 12, 1999, this Court issued a Status Quo Order directing the Comelec to CEASE and DESIST from constituting itself as a National Board of Canvassers on 13 January 1999 or on any other date and proclaiming as winners the nominees of the parties, organizations and coalitions enumerated in the dispositive portions of its 15 October 1998 Resolution or its 7 January 1999 Resolution, until further orders from this Court.

On July 1, 1999, oral arguments were heard from the parties. Atty. Jeremias U. Montemayor appeared for petitioners in GR No. 136781; Atty. Gregorio A. Andolana, for petitioners in GR No. 136786; Atty. Rodante D. Marcoleta for petitioners in GR No. 136795; Attys. Ricardo Blancaflor and Pete Quirino Quadra, for all the private respondents; Atty. Porfirio V. Sison for Intervenor NACUSIP; and Atty. Jose P. Balbuena for Respondent Comelec. Upon invitation of the Court, retired Comelec Commissioner Regalado E. Maambong acted as amicus curiae. Solicitor General Ricardo P. Galvez appeared, not for any party but also as a friend of the Court.

Thereafter, the parties and the amici curiae were required to submit their respective Memoranda in amplification of their verbal arguments.[14]

The Issues

The Court believes, and so holds, that the main question of how to determine the winners of the subject party-list election can be fully settled by addressing the following issues:

1. Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list representatives mentioned in Section 5 (2), Article VI of the Constitution, mandatory or is it merely a ceiling? In other words, should the twenty percent allocation for party-list solons be filled up completely and all the time?

2. Are the two percent threshold requirement and the three-seat limit provided in Section 11 (b) of RA 7941 constitutional?

3. If the answer to Issue 2 is in the affirmative, how should the additional seats of a qualified party be determined?

The Courts Ruling

The Petitions are partly meritorious. The Court agrees with petitioners that the assailed Resolutions should be nullified, but disagrees that they should all be granted additional seats.

First Issue: Whether the Twenty Percent Constitutional Allocation Is Mandatory

The pertinent provision[15] of the Constitution on the composition of the House of Representatives reads as follows:

Sec. 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected by a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations.

(2) The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party-list. For three consecutive terms after the ratification of this Constitution, one half of the seats allocated to party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from the labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.

Determination of the Total Number of Party-List Lawmakers

Clearly, the Constitution makes the number of district representatives the determinant in arriving at the number of seats allocated for party-list lawmakers, who shall comprise "twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party-list." We thus translate this legal provision into a mathematical formula, as follows:

No. of district representatives

---------------------------------- x .20 = No. of party-list

.80 representatives

This formulation[16] means that any increase in the number of district representatives, as may be provided by law, will necessarily result in a corresponding increase in the number of party-list seats. To illustrate, considering that there were 208 district representatives to be elected during the 1998 national elections, the number of party-list seats would be 52, computed as follows:

208

-------- x .20 = 52

.80

The foregoing computation of seat allocation is easy enough to comprehend. The problematic question, however, is this: Does the Constitution require all such allocated seats to be filled up all the time and under all circumstances? Our short answer is No.

Twenty Percent Allocation a Mere Ceiling

The Constitution simply states that "[t]he party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party-list.

According to petitioners, this percentage is a ceiling; the mechanics by which it is to be filled up has been left to Congress. In the exercise of its prerogative, the legislature enacted RA 7941, by which it prescribed that a party, organization or coalition participating in the party-list election must obtain at least two percent of the total votes cast for the system in order to qualify for a seat in the House of Representatives.

Petitioners further argue that the constitutional provision must be construed together with this legislative requirement. If there is no sufficient number of participating parties, organizations or coalitions which could hurdle the two percent vote threshold and thereby fill up the twenty percent party-list allocation in the House, then naturally such allocation cannot be filled up completely. The Comelec cannot be faulted for the "incompleteness," for ultimately the voters themselves are the ones who, in the exercise of their right of suffrage, determine who and how many should represent them.

On the other hand, Public Respondent Comelec, together with the respondent parties, avers that the twenty percent allocation for party-list lawmakers is mandatory, and that the two percent vote requirement in RA 7941 is unconstitutional, because its strict application would make it mathematically impossible to fill up the House party-list complement.

We rule that a simple reading of Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, easily conveys the equally simple message that Congress was vested with the broad power to define and prescribe the mechanics of the party-list system of representation. The Constitution explicitly sets down only the percentage of the total membership in the House of Representatives reserved for party-list representatives.

In the exercise of its constitutional prerogative, Congress enacted RA 7941. As said earlier, Congress declared therein a policy to promote "proportional representation" in the election of party-list representatives in order to enable Filipinos belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors to contribute legislation that would benefit them. It however deemed it necessary to require parties, organizations and coalitions participating in the system to obtain at least two percent of the total votes cast for the party-list system in order to be entitled to a party-list seat. Those garnering more than this percentage could have "additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes. Furthermore, no winning party, organization or coalition can have more than three seats in the House of Representatives. Thus the relevant portion of Section 11(b) of the law provides:

(b) The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one seat each; Provided, That those garnering more than two percent (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes; Provided, finally, That each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats.

Considering the foregoing statutory requirements, it will be shown presently that Section 5 (2), Article VI of the Constitution is not mandatory. It merely provides a ceiling for party-list seats in Congress.

On the contention that a strict application of the two percent threshold may result in a mathematical impossibility, suffice it to say that the prerogative to determine whether to adjust or change this percentage requirement rests in Congress.[17] Our task now, as should have been the Comelecs, is not to find fault in the wisdom of the law through highly unlikely scenarios of clinical extremes, but to craft an innovative mathematical formula that can, as far as practicable, implement it within the context of the actual election process.

Indeed, the function of the Supreme Court, as well as of all judicial and quasi-judicial agencies, is to apply the law as we find it, not to reinvent or second-guess it. Unless declared unconstitutional, ineffective, insufficient or otherwise void by the proper tribunal, a statute remains a valid command of sovereignty that must be respected and obeyed at all times. This is the essence of the rule of law.

Second Issue: The Statutory Requirement and Limitation

The Two Percent Threshold

In imposing a two percent threshold, Congress wanted to ensure that only those parties, organizations and coalitions having a sufficient number of constituents deserving of representation are actually represented in Congress. This intent can be gleaned from the deliberations on the proposed bill. We quote below a pertinent portion of the Senate discussion:

SENATOR GONZALES: For purposes of continuity, I would want to follow up a point that was raised by, I think, Senator Osmea when he said that a political party must have obtained at least a minimum percentage to be provided in this law in order to qualify for a seat under the party-list system.

They do that in many other countries. A party must obtain at least 2 percent of the votes cast, 5 percent or 10 percent of the votes cast. Otherwise, as I have said, this will actually proliferate political party groups and those who have not really been given by the people sufficient basis for them to represent their constituents and, in turn, they will be able to get to the Parliament through the backdoor under the name of the party-list system, Mr. President."[18]

A similar intent is clear from the statements of the bill sponsor in the House of Representatives, as the following shows:

MR. ESPINOSA. There is a mathematical formula which this computation is based at, arriving at a five percent ratio which would distribute equitably the number of seats among the different sectors. There is a mathematical formula which is, I think, patterned after that of the party list of the other parliaments or congresses, more particularly the Bundestag of Germany.[19]

Moreover, even the framers of our Constitution had in mind a minimum-vote requirement, the specification of which they left to Congress to properly determine. Constitutional Commissioner Christian S. Monsod explained:

MR. MONSOD. x x x We are amenable to modifications in the minimum percentage of votes. Our proposal is that anybody who has two-and-a-half percent of the votes gets a seat. There are about 20 million who cast their votes in the last elections. Two-and-a-half percent would mean 500,000 votes. Anybody who has a constituency of 500,000 votes nationwide deserves a seat in the Assembly. If we bring that down to two percent, we are talking about 400,000 votes. The average vote per family is three. So, here we are talking about 134,000 families. We believe that there are many sectors who will be able to get seats in the Assembly because many of them have memberships of over 10,000. In effect, that is the operational implication of our proposal. What we are trying to avoid is this selection of sectors, the reserve seat system. We believe that it is our job to open up the system and that we should not have within that system a reserve seat. We think that people should organize, should work hard, and should earn their seats within that system.[20]

The two percent threshold is consistent not only with the intent of the framers of the Constitution and the law, but with the very essence of "representation." Under a republican or representative state, all government authority emanates from the people, but is exercised by representatives chosen by them.[21] But to have meaningful representation, the elected persons must have the mandate of a sufficient number of people. Otherwise, in a legislature that features the party-list system, the result might be the proliferation of small groups which are incapable of contributing significant legislation, and which might even pose a threat to the stability of Congress. Thus, even legislative districts are apportioned according to "the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio"[22] to ensure meaningful local representation.

All in all, we hold that the statutory provision on this two percent requirement is precise and crystalline. When the law is clear, the function of courts is simple application, not interpretation or circumvention.[23]

The Three-Seat-Per-Party Limit

An important consideration in adopting the party-list system is to promote and encourage a multiparty system of representation. Again, we quote Commissioner Monsod:

MR. MONSOD. Madam President, I just want to say that we suggested or proposed the party list system because we wanted to open up the political system to a pluralistic society through a multiparty system. But we also wanted to avoid the problems of mechanics and operation in the implementation of a concept that has very serious shortcomings of classification and of double or triple votes. We are for opening up the system, and we would like very much for the sectors to be there. That is why one of the ways to do that is to put a ceiling on the number of representatives from any single party that can sit within the 50 allocated under the party list system. This way, we will open it up and enable sectoral groups, or maybe regional groups, to earn their seats among the fifty. x x x.[24]

Consistent with the Constitutional Commission's pronouncements, Congress set the seat-limit to three (3) for each qualified party, organization or coalition. "Qualified" means having hurdled the two percent vote threshold. Such three-seat limit ensures the entry of various interest-representations into the legislature; thus, no single group, no matter how large its membership, would dominate the party-list seats, if not the entire House.

We shall not belabor this point, because the validity of the three-seat limit is not seriously challenged in these consolidated cases.

Third Issue: Method of Allocating Additional Seats

Having determined that the twenty percent seat allocation is merely a ceiling, and having upheld the constitutionality of the two percent vote threshold and the three-seat limit imposed under RA 7941, we now proceed to the method of determining how many party-list seats the qualified parties, organizations and coalitions are entitled to. The very first step - there is no dispute on this - is to rank all the participating parties, organizations and coalitions (hereafter collectively referred to as "parties") according to the votes they each obtained. The percentage of their respective votes as against the total number of votes cast for the party-list system is then determined. All those that garnered at least two percent of the total votes cast have an assured or guaranteed seat in the House of Representatives. Thereafter, "those garnering more than two percent of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes." The problem is how to distribute additional seats "proportionally," bearing in mind the three-seat limit further imposed by the law.

One Additional Seat Per Two Percent Increment

One proposed formula is to allocate one additional seat for every additional proportion of the votes obtained equivalent to the two percent vote requirement for the first seat.[25] Translated in figures, a party that wins at least six percent of the total votes cast will be entitled to three seats; another party that gets four percent will be entitled to two seats; and one that gets two percent will be entitled to one seat only. This proposal has the advantage of simplicity and ease of comprehension. Problems arise, however, when the parties get very lop-sided votes -- for example, when Party A receives 20 percent of the total votes cast; Party B, 10 percent; and Party C, 6 percent. Under the method just described, Party A would be entitled to 10 seats; Party B, to 5 seats and Party C, to 3 seats. Considering the three-seat limit imposed by law, all the parties will each uniformly have three seats only. We would then have the spectacle of a party garnering two or more times the number of votes obtained by another, yet getting the same number of seats as the other one with the much lesser votes. In effect, proportional representation will be contravened and the law rendered nugatory by this suggested solution. Hence, the Court discarded it.

The Niemeyer Formula

Another suggestion that the Court considered was the Niemeyer formula, which was developed by a German mathematician and adopted by Germany as its method of distributing party-list seats in the Bundestag. Under this formula, the number of additional seats to which a qualified party would be entitled is determined by multiplying the remaining number of seats to be allocated by the total number of votes obtained by that party and dividing the product by the total number of votes garnered by all the qualified parties. The integer portion of the resulting product will be the number of additional seats that the party concerned is entitled to. Thus:

No. of remaining seats

to be allocated No. of additional

--------------------------- x No. of votes of = seats of party

Total no. of votes of party concerned concerned

qualified parties (Integer.decimal)

The next step is to distribute the extra seats left among the qualified parties in the descending order of the decimal portions of the resulting products. Based on the 1998 election results, the distribution of party-list seats under the Niemeyer method would be as follows:

Party Number of Guaranteed Additional Extra Total

Votes Seats Seats Seats

1. APEC 503,487 1 5.73 1 7

2. ABA 321,646 1 3.66 1 5

3. ALAGAD 312,500 1 3.55 4

4. VETERANS 304,802 1 3.47 4

FEDERATION

5. PROMDI 255,184 1 2.90 1 4

6. AKO 239,042 1 2.72 1 4

7. NCSCFO 238,303 1 2.71 1 4

8. ABANSE! PINAY 235,548 1 2.68 1 4

9. AKBAYAN 232,376 1 2.64 1 4

10. BUTIL 215,643 1 2.45 3

11. SANLAKAS 194,617 1 2.21 3

12. COOP-NATCCO 189,802 1 2.16 3

13. COCOFED 186,388 1 2.12 3

Total 3,429,338 13 32 7 52

However, since Section 11 of RA 7941 sets a limit of three (3) seats for each party, those obtaining more than the limit will have to give up their excess seats. Under our present set of facts, the thirteen qualified parties will each be entitled to three seats, resulting in an overall total of 39. Note that like the previous proposal, the Niemeyer formula would violate the principle of "proportional representation," a basic tenet of our party-list system.

The Niemeyer formula, while no doubt suitable for Germany, finds no application in the Philippine setting, because of our three-seat limit and the non-mandatory character of the twenty percent allocation. True, both our Congress and the Bundestag have threshold requirements -- two percent for us and five for them. There are marked differences between the two models, however. As ably pointed out by private respondents,[26] one half of the German Parliament is filled up by party-list members. More important, there are no seat limitations, because German law discourages the proliferation of small parties. In contrast, RA 7941, as already mentioned, imposes a three-seat limit to encourage the promotion of the multiparty system. This major statutory difference makes the Niemeyer formula completely inapplicable to the Philippines.

Just as one cannot grow Washington apples in the Philippines or Guimaras mangoes in the Arctic because of fundamental environmental differences, neither can the Niemeyer formula be transplanted in toto here because of essential variances between the two party-list models.

The Legal and Logical Formula for the Philippines

It is now obvious that the Philippine style party-list system is a unique paradigm which demands an equally unique formula. In crafting a legally defensible and logical solution to determine the number of additional seats that a qualified party is entitled to, we need to review the parameters of the Filipino party-list system.

As earlier mentioned in the Prologue, they are as follows:

First, the twenty percent allocation - the combined number of all party-list congressmen shall not exceed twenty percent of the total membership of the House of Representatives, including those elected under the party list.

Second, the two percent threshold - only those parties garnering a minimum of two percent of the total valid votes cast for the party-list system are qualified to have a seat in the House of Representatives;

Third, the three-seat limit - each qualified party, regardless of the number of votes it actually obtained, is entitled to a maximum of three seats; that is, one qualifying and two additional seats.

Fourth, proportional representation - the additional seats which a qualified party is entitled to shall be computed in proportion to their total number of votes.

The problem, as already stated, is to find a way to translate proportional representation into a mathematical formula that will not contravene, circumvent or amend the above-mentioned parameters.

After careful deliberation, we now explain such formula, step by step.

Step One. There is no dispute among the petitioners, the public and the private respondents, as well as the members of this Court, that the initial step is to rank all the participating parties, organizations and coalitions from the highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they each received. Then the ratio for each party is computed by dividing its votes by the total votes cast for all the parties participating in the system. All parties with at least two percent of the total votes are guaranteed one seat each. Only these parties shall be considered in the computation of additional seats. The party receiving the highest number of votes shall thenceforth be referred to as the first party.

Step Two. The next step is to determine the number of seats the first party is entitled to, in order to be able to compute that for the other parties. Since the distribution is based on proportional representation, the number of seats to be allotted to the other parties cannot possibly exceed that to which the first party is entitled by virtue of its obtaining the most number of votes.

For example, the first party received 1,000,000 votes and is determined to be entitled to two additional seats. Another qualified party which received 500,000 votes cannot be entitled to the same number of seats, since it garnered only fifty percent of the votes won by the first party. Depending on the proportion of its votes relative to that of the first party whose number of seats has already been predetermined, the second party should be given less than that to which the first one is entitled.

The other qualified parties will always be allotted less additional seats than the first party for two reasons: (1) the ratio between said parties and the first party will always be less than 1:1, and (2) the formula does not admit of mathematical rounding off, because there is no such thing as a fraction of a seat. Verily, an arbitrary rounding off could result in a violation of the twenty percent allocation. An academic mathematical demonstration of such incipient violation is not necessary because the present set of facts, given the number of qualified parties and the voting percentages obtained, will definitely not end up in such constitutional contravention.

The Court has previously ruled in Guingona Jr. v. Gonzales[27] that a fractional membership cannot be converted into a whole membership of one when it would, in effect, deprive another party's fractional membership. It would be a violation of the constitutional mandate of proportional representation. We said further that "no party can claim more than what it is entitled to x x x.

In any case, the decision on whether to round off the fractions is better left to the legislature. Since Congress did not provide for it in the present law, neither will this Court. The Supreme Court does not make the law; it merely applies it to a given set of facts.

Formula for Determining Additional Seats for the First Party

Now, how do we determine the number of seats the first party is entitled to? The only basis given by the law is that a party receiving at least two percent of the total votes shall be entitled to one seat. Proportionally, if the first party were to receive twice the number of votes of the second party, it should be entitled to twice the latter's number of seats and so on. The formula, therefore, for computing the number of seats to which the first party is entitled is as follows:

Number of votes

of first party Proportion of votes of

-------------------- = first party relative to

Total votes for total votes for party-list system

party-list system

If the proportion of votes received by the first party without rounding it off is equal to at least six percent of the total valid votes cast for all the party list groups, then the first party shall be entitled to two additional seats or a total of three seats overall. If the proportion of votes without a rounding off is equal to or greater than four percent, but less than six percent, then the first party shall have one additional or a total of two seats. And if the proportion is less than four percent, then the first party shall not be entitled to any additional seat.

We adopted this six percent bench mark, because the first party is not always entitled to the maximum number of additional seats. Likewise, it would prevent the allotment of more than the total number of available seats, such as in an extreme case wherein 18 or more parties tie for the highest rank and are thus entitled to three seats each. In such scenario, the number of seats to which all the parties are entitled may exceed the maximum number of party-list seats reserved in the House of Representatives.

Applying the above formula, APEC, which received 5.5% of the total votes cast, is entitled to one additional seat or a total of two seats.

Note that the above formula will be applicable only in determining the number of additional seats the first party is entitled to. It cannot be used to determine the number of additional seats of the other qualified parties. As explained earlier, the use of the same formula for all would contravene the proportional representation parameter. For example, a second party obtains six percent of the total number of votes cast. According to the above formula, the said party would be entitled to two additional seats or a total of three seats overall. However, if the first party received a significantly higher amount of votes -- say, twenty percent -- to grant it the same number of seats as the second party would violate the statutory mandate of proportional representation, since a party getting only six percent of the votes will have an equal number of representatives as the one obtaining twenty percent. The proper solution, therefore, is to grant the first party a total of three seats; and the party receiving six percent, additional seats in proportion to those of the first party.

Formula for Additional Seats of Other Qualified Parties

Step Three The next step is to solve for the number of additional seats that the other qualified parties are entitled to, based on proportional representation. The formula is encompassed by the following complex fraction:

No. of votes of

concerned party

------------------

Total no. of votes

Additional seats for party-list system No. of additional

for concerned = ----------------------- x seats allocated to

party No. of votes of the first party

first party

------------------

Total no. of votes

for party list system

In simplified form, it is written as follows:

No. of votes of

Additional seats concerned party No. of additional

for concerned = ------------------ x seats allocated to

party No. of votes of the first party

first party

Thus, in the case of ABA, the additional number of seats it would be entitled to is computed as follows:

No. of votes of

Additional seats ABA No. of additional

for concerned = -------------------- x seats allocated to

party (ABA) No. of votes of the first party

first party (APEC)

Substituting actual values would result in the following equation:

Additional seats 321,646

for concerned = ----------- x 1 = .64 or 0 additional seat, since

party (ABA) 503,487 rounding off is not to be applied

Applying the above formula, we find the outcome of the 1998 party-list election to be as follows:

Organization Votes %age of Initial No. Additional Total

Garnered Total Votes of Seats Seats

1. APEC 503,487 5.50% 1 1 2

2. ABA 321,646 3.51% 1 321,646 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.64 1

3. ALAGAD 312,500 3.41% 1 312,500 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.62 1

4. VETERANS 304,802 3.33% 1 304,802 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.61 1

FEDERATION

5. PROMDI 255,184 2.79% 1 255,184 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.51 1

6. AKO 239,042 2.61% 1 239,042 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.47 1

7. NCSFO 238,303 2.60% 1 238,303 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.47 1

8. ABANSE! 235,548 2.57% 1 321,646 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.47 1

PINAY

9. AKBAYAN! 232,376 2.54% 1 232,376 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.46 1

10. BUTIL 215,643 2.36% 1 215,643 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.43 1

11. SANLAKAS 194,617 2.13% 1 194,617 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.39 1

12. COOP- 189,802 2.07% 1 189,802 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.38 1

NATCCO

13. COCOFED 186,388 2.04% 1 186,388 / 503,487 * 1 = 0.37 1

Incidentally, if the first party is not entitled to any additional seat, then the ratio of the number of votes for the other party to that for the first one is multiplied by zero. The end result would be zero additional seat for each of the other qualified parties as well.

The above formula does not give an exact mathematical representation of the number of additional seats to be awarded since, in order to be entitled to one additional seat, an exact whole number is necessary. In fact, most of the actual mathematical proportions are not whole numbers and are not rounded off for the reasons explained earlier. To repeat, rounding off may result in the awarding of a number of seats in excess of that provided by the law. Furthermore, obtaining absolute proportional representation is restricted by the three-seat-per-party limit to a maximum of two additional slots. An increase in the maximum number of additional representatives a party may be entitled to would result in a more accurate proportional representation. But the law itself has set the limit: only two additional seats. Hence, we need to work within such extant parameter.

The net result of the foregoing formula for determining additional seats happily coincides with the present number of incumbents; namely, two for the first party (APEC) and one each for the twelve other qualified parties. Hence, we affirm the legality of the incumbencies of their nominees, albeit through the use of a different formula and methodology.

In his Dissent, Justice Mendoza criticizes our methodology for being too strict. We say, however, that our formula merely translated the Philippine legal parameters into a mathematical equation, no more no less. If Congress in its wisdom decides to modify RA 7941 to make it less strict, then the formula will also be modified to reflect the changes willed by the lawmakers.

Epilogue

In sum, we hold that the Comelec gravely abused its discretion in ruling that the thirty-eight (38) herein respondent parties, organizations and coalitions are each entitled to a party-list seat, because it glaringly violated two requirements of RA 7941: the two percent threshold and proportional representation.

In disregarding, rejecting and circumventing these statutory provisions, the Comelec effectively arrogated unto itself what the Constitution expressly and wholly vested in the legislature: the power and the discretion to define the mechanics for the enforcement of the system. The wisdom and the propriety of these impositions, absent any clear transgression of the Constitution or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, are beyond judicial review.[28]

Indeed, the Comelec and the other parties in these cases - both petitioners and respondents - have failed to demonstrate that our lawmakers gravely abused their discretion in prescribing such requirements. By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment equivalent to lack or excess of jurisdiction.[29]

The Comelec, which is tasked merely to enforce and administer election-related laws,[30] cannot simply disregard an act of Congress exercised within the bounds of its authority. As a mere implementing body, it cannot judge the wisdom, propriety or rationality of such act. Its recourse is to draft an amendment to the law and lobby for its approval and enactment by the legislature.

Furthermore, a reading of the entire Constitution reveals no violation of any of its provisions by the strict enforcement of RA 7941. It is basic that to strike down a law or any of its provisions as unconstitutional, there must be a clear and unequivocal showing that what the Constitution prohibits, the statute permits.[31]

Neither can we grant petitioners prayer that they each be given additional seats (for a total of three each), because granting such plea would plainly and simply violate the proportional representation mandated by Section 11 (b) of RA 7941.

The low turnout of the party-list votes during the 1998 elections should not be interpreted as a total failure of the law in fulfilling the object of this new system of representation. It should not be deemed a conclusive indication that the requirements imposed by RA 7941 wholly defeated the implementation of the system. Be it remembered that the party-list system, though already popular in parliamentary democracies, is still quite new in our presidential system. We should allow it some time to take root in the consciousness of our people and in the heart of our tripartite form of republicanism. Indeed, the Comelec and the defeated litigants should not despair.

Quite the contrary, the dismal result of the first election for party-list representatives should serve as a challenge to our sectoral parties and organizations. It should stir them to be more active and vigilant in their campaign for representation in the State's lawmaking body. It should also serve as a clarion call for innovation and creativity in adopting this novel system of popular democracy.

With adequate information dissemination to the public and more active sectoral parties, we are confident our people will be more responsive to future party-list elections. Armed with patience, perseverance and perspicacity, our marginalized sectors, in time, will fulfill the Filipino dream of full representation in Congress under the aegis of the party-list system, Philippine style.

WHEREFORE, the Petitions are hereby partially GRANTED. The assailed Resolutions of the Comelec are SET ASIDE and NULLIFIED. The proclamations of the fourteen (14) sitting party-list representatives - two for APEC and one each for the remaining twelve (12) qualified parties - are AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Purisima, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, Ynares-Santiago, and De Leon Jr., JJ., concur.

Bellosillo, Melo, and Vitug, JJ., in the result.

Puno, J., see separate concurring opinion.

Mendoza, J., dissents.

Kapunan, and Quisumbing, JJ., join the opinion of J. Mendoza.

 

Consolidated Table

DISTRIBUTION OF SEATS

 

Group

(1)

Actual votes

received1

(2)

Percentage of

votes cast for

party-list2

(3)

Guaranteed

seat3

(4)

Additional

seats4

(5)

Extra

seats5

(6)

Total6

(7)

Seats in

excess of

3

(8)

Total number

of seats

allowed7

1. APEC

503,487

5.50%

1

5.73

1

7

4

3

2. ABA

321,646

3.51%

1

3.66

1

5

2

3

3. ALAGAD

312,500

3.41%

1

3.55

4

1

3

4. VETERANS FEDERATION

304,902

3.33%

1

3.47

4

1

3

5. PROMDI

255,184

2.79%

1

2.90

1

4

1

3

6. AKO

239,042

2.61%

1

2.72

1

4

1

3

7. NCSFO

338,303

2.60%

1

2.71

1

4

1

3

8. ABANSE! PINAY

235,548

2.57%

1

2.68

1

4

1

3

9. AKBAYAN!

232,376

2.54%

1

2.64

1

4

1

3

10 BUTIL

215,643

2.36%

1

2.45

3

-

3

11. SANLAKAS

194,617

2.13%

1

2.21

3

-

3

12. COOP-NATCCO

189,802

2.07%

1

2.16

3

-

3

13. COCOFED

186,388

2.04%

1

2.12

3

-

3

14. SENIOR CITIZENS

143,444

1.57%

15. Other Parties

5,582,427

Each with less than 2%

TOTAL

9,155,309

100%

13

32

7

52

13

39

 



* At the outset of this case, I offered to inhibit myself from participating in these cases because, prior to my appointment to this Court, I had been a general counsel and director of one of the respondents. However, the Court unanimously resolved to deny my request for the following reasons: (1) I was merely a voluntary non-compensated officer of the non-profit Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), (2) the present case and its antecedents were not extant during my incumbency at PCCI, and (3) this case involved important constitutional questions, and the Court believed that all justices should as much as possible participate and vote. This Court action was announced during the Oral Argument on July 1, 1999.

 

[1] Rollo in GR No. 136781, pp. 62-71. Penned by Comm. Japal M. Guiani, concurred in by Comm. Abdul Gani M. Marohombsar, Al. Haj.; with Pres. Comm. Julio F. Desamito, dissenting.

 

[2] People's Progressive Alliance for Peace and Good Government Toward Alleviation of Poverty and Social Advancement (PAG-ASA) v. Comelec.

 

[3] Rollo in GR No. 136781, pp. 81-109. Per curiam, concurred in by Comm. and Officer-in-Charge Luzviminda G. Tancangco, and Comms. Japal M. Guiani and Abdul Gani M. Marohombsar, Al. Haj. Comms. Julio F. Desamito and Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores dissented; while Comm. Manolo B. Gorospe took no part, being "out of town."

 

[4] See II Record of the Constitutional Commission 253.

 

[5] 10, RA 7941.

 

[6] Commission on Elections, Party-List Canvass Report No. 16 (By Rank); Assailed Comelec en banc Resolution, p. 22.

 

[7] Resolution No. 3047-C, September 9, 1998.

 

[8] People's Reform Party (PRP), Ang Lakas OCW, KAMPIL, Maharlika, Women Power, Inc., NACUSIP, Aniban Ng Mga Magsasaka, Mangingisda at Manggagawa sa Agrikultura Inc., All Trade Unions Congress Party (ATUCP), and Anak-Mindanao (AMIN).

 

[9] More accurately, it should be "House of Representatives."

 

[10] See Dissenting Opinion of Comm. T.D. Flores and the Memorandum for petitioners in GR No. 136786 which was filed with the Court on July 12, 1999 and signed by Attys. Hans Leo J. Cacdac, Raissa H. Jajurie and Manuel Senar.

 

[11] Comms. Luzviminda G. Tancangco, Japal M. Guiani and Abdul Gani M. Marohombsar.

 

[12] Comms. Julio F. Desamito and Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores. Comm. Manolo B. Gorospe did not vote, as he was out of town.

 

[13] The Petitions of PROMDI, ABANSE! PINAY and COOP-NATCCO were dismissed for procedural deficiencies. SANLAKAS did not file any petition.

 

[14] These consolidated cases were deemed submitted for resolution upon receipt by the Court of Intervenor NACUSIP's Memorandum on July 20, 1999. This was signed by Attys. Froilan M. Bacungan, Porfirio V. Sison and Zoilo V. de la Cruz. The writing of this Decision was, however, assigned to this ponente only on September 26, 2000 during the deliberations and verbal discussions of the contentious issues, wherein the Court, by majority vote, upheld his then dissenting views.

 

[15] 5, Article VI, 1987 Constitution.

 

[16] In their Consolidated Memorandum filed on July 12, 1999 and signed by Attys. Rodante B. Marcoleta, Jeremias U. Montemayor, R.A.V. Saguisag, Romeo G. Roxas and Katrina Legarda-Santos, petitioners submitted this similar computation:

208 : = 208/4 = 52 or 208 : 0.8 (0.20) = 52

 

[17] See the Concurring Opinion of Comm. Tancangco, in which she posits that the strict application of the two percent threshold may become a mathematical impossibility, because 52 seats multiplied by two percent yields a total of 104 percent. Though theoretically imaginable, such feared impossibility will not ripen to a judicial controversy, because two percent of the votes will never be achieved by each of 52 parties in the same election. In short, the fear is purely academic. Besides, the mathematical impossibility wrongly assumes that the Constitution requires all 52 seats to be filled up all the time. See also Memorandum for private respondents dated July 9, 1999 and signed by Attys. Arturo M. Tolentino, C. Fortunato R. Balasbas and Miguel Amador S.O. Camero.

 

[18] II Record of the Senate 145, Second Regular Session, Ninth Congress.

 

[19] Transcript, House of Representatives, November 22, 1994, p. 34.

 

[20] II Record of the Constitutional Commission 256.

 

[21] Joaquin G. Bernas, SJ, The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines: A Reviewer-Primer, 2nd ed. (1992), p. 15.

 

[22] 5, Article VI of the Constitution.

 

[23] Quijano v. Development Board, 35 SCRA 270, October 16, 1970; Luzon Surety v. de Garcia, 30 SCRA 111, October 31, 1969, cited in the Memorandum of the Solicitor General, filed on July 12, 1999 and signed by Sol. Gen. Ricardo P. Galvez, Asst. Sol. Gen. Cecilio O. Estoesta and Sol. Ma. Antonia Edita C. Dizon.

 

[24] Supra.

 

[25] In its en banc Resolution No. 2847 dated June 25, 1996, Comelec adopted this simple formula, but discarded it in the assailed Resolutions.

 

[26] In fairness, the Group of 38 explains these differences in the context of its concluding plea to dilute the two percent threshold. See Memorandum for private respondents, pp. 44-46.

 

[27] 214 SCRA 789, October 20, 1992; 219 SCRA 329, March 1, 1993 (Resolution on the Motion for Reconsideration).

 

[28] See Taada v. Angara, 272 SCRA 18, May 2, 1997; Santiago v. Guingona, 298 SCRA 756, November 18, 1998.

 

[29] Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Court of Appeals, 257 SCRA 200, 209, June 4, 1996; Santiago v. Guingona Jr., 298 SCRA 756, 786, November 18, 1998; People v. Court of Appeals and Casan Maquiling, GR No. 128986, June 21, 1999.

 

[30] 2 (1), Article IX-C of the Constitution.

 

[31] Garcia v. Commission on Elections, 227 SCRA 100, October 5, 1993.

1 COMELEC Canvass Report dated June 1, 1998.

 

2 Obtained by dividing the votes received by one party by the total number of votes cast for the party-list system.

 

3 Pursuant to the first clause of R.A. No. 7941, 11(b) which provides: The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to one seat each.

 

4 Pursuant to the second clause of R.A. No. 7941, 11(b) which provides: Provided, That those garnering more than two percent (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes. This is obtained by dividing the total votes received by a 2 percenter over the total votes received by all 2 percenters.

 

5 Allocated by ranking the decimal portions of the resulting products shown in Column 4.

 

6 Sum of integers in Column 4 & 5.

 

7 Pursuant to the third clause of R.A. NO. 7941 which provides: Provided, finally, That each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more than three (3) seats.