By Martin Sadongdong
Despite being on the opposite side of the fence, both the pro-administration Duterte Youth Partylist and left-leaning Kabataan Partylist aim to win a seat at the partylist race to push for the representation of the youth sector in Congress.
Data released by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Tuesday night showed that Duterte Youth sits currently at the 19th spot after obtaining 64,882 votes while Kabataan Partylist was at the 31st place with 47,598 votes. A total of 134 partylist groups competed in the midterm polls.
The data was based on the result of the partial and official tally of the Commission en banc sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) as of 9 p.m.
The figures were obtained after the canvassing of 34 Certificates of Canvass (COCs), thus, representing around 20 percent of the total 167 COCs that will be canvassed by the NBOC.
Kabataan Partylist Representative Sarah Elago expressed hope that the group’s standing will improve as the canvassing of votes continue.
She also called for continued vigilance and demanded the Comelec to take responsibility of all reported irregularities in the midterm polls, including the sudden glitch in the transparency server caused by a “Java error” which the poll body experienced.
“As we wait for the official results, let’s continue to secure our votes, and press for answers on all reported irregularities,” Elago said in a Twitter post-Tuesday.
She also thanked those who supported the group despite of the “harassment” supposedly thrown to them by the administration.
“Congratulations for we have already won over cowardly harassment and desperate attempts to smear our representation! We have soldiered on and waved the banner of struggle with and alongside the people,” she said.
“Much has been accomplished, but there’s more to be done: Organize and unite against the imminent threat of dictatorship, railroading of charter change, further subservience to imperialist dictates, political persecution, among others. The times may be challenging, but it has never been so ripe for us to consolidate and broaden our ranks, and to continue the struggle against systematic oppression, violence, and tyranny,” she added.
Meanwhile, Duterte Youth national chairman Ronald Gian Cardema, who was also appointed by President Duterte as the chair of the National Youth Commission (NYC), had vowed to “scrutinize” left-leaning groups and congressmen once the group wins a seat in Congress.
“Madaming sasabunin ang Duterte Youth Party-List na mga leftist pro-NPA/anti-government na mga congressmen sa Kongreso. Panahon na para mga pro-government/pro-military naman ang mga maging radical sa Kongreso sa pagdadala ng tunay na pagbabago ng ating Pangulo (The Duterte Youth Partylist will scrutinize leftist, pro-communist/anti-government congressmen in Congress. It’s high time for pro-government and pro-military groups to be radical in the Congress and bring true change [in the government] which was started by the President),” Cardema said in a Facebook post before the elections.
According to Section 11 of Republic Act 7941 which provides for the election of partylist representatives, the party-list representatives “shall constitute twenty percent (20%) of the total number of the members of the House of Representatives including those under the party-list.”
According to news reports, this would mean at least 59 seats in the House.
“The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two percent 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 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 seats,” the law added.
The NBOC resumed the canvassing of votes on Wednesday.
The updated partial and official results are released by the Comelec at the end of every canvassing day.