By Billy Begas
The House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) has junked the electoral protest filed against Kabataan party-list.
In a six-page resolution, HRET said that You Against Corruption and Poverty (YACAP) party-list has no legal standing to protest the victory of Kabataan party-list in the 2019 mid-term elections.
The resolution states that Kabataan was ranked 51 in the party-list election while YACAP was ranked 58.
It said that the rule limiting an election protest to be filed exclusively by the second and third candidates who obtained the highest number of votes for the contested position is mandatory as expressly stated in Rule 17 of the 2015 HRET Rules and was meant to prevent unnecessary and frivolous actions before the Tribunal.
“On the basis of the aforecited rule, the party list groups which have the legal standing to file the election protest are the AKMA-PTM Party list (ranked no. 52) and SBP Party List (ranked no. 53), having garnered the second and third highest number of votes… Thus, the YACAP party List… cannot claim to be entitled to any of the reliefs sought in the protest,” the resolution read.
The resolution was signed by Supreme Court Associate Justice Risemari Carandang, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, then-Associate Justice now Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, Caloocan City Rep. Dale Malapitan, Davao City Rep. Vincent Garcia, Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun, and Lanao del Norte Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo.
Bulacan Rep. Henry Villarica was on official mission while Antipolo City Rep. Resurreccion Acop did not sign the resolution.
Kabataan Rep. Sarah Jane Elago welcomed the resolution that was made public on Thursday night but was promulgated on March 18.
“Sa kabila ng tumitinding panggigipit at panunupil sa boses ng Kabataan, tangan natin ang lakas ng ating pagkakaisa sa paggampan ng makasaysayang papel bilang pag-asa ng bayan, at ng mandatong maglingkod para sa interes ng kabataan at sambayanang,” Elago said.