At last the OFWs have come together and recently announced the creation of a national political party to represent their concerns. Do you also feel similarly marginalized and underrepresented yet eager to take a more active part in the legislative process? Then by all means, also set up a party (political, sectoral or a coalition of parties) and be part of the costliest and messiest democratic process we call law-making.
Oh okay, if you mean to be serious. Let’s. First of all, of course, you have to get organized. This could mean lots of (maybe even sickening) meetings and discussions to be able to come up with an agreed upon constitution, by-laws and platform of government, among other things.
Who may participate
Of course, it’s important to determine what exactly you intend to set up:
a) A political party refers to an organized group of citizens advocating an ideology or platform, principles and policies for the general conduct of government and which, as the most immediate means of securing their adoption, regularly nominates and supports certain of its leaders and members as candidates for public office.
In this regard, a national party has a constituency spread over the geographical territory of at least a majority of the regions (i.e., your party must have regional offices in at least 9 of the country’s 16 regions). A regional party has a constituency spread over the geographical territory of at least a majority of the cities and provinces comprising the region (i.e, the party must have chapters and offices in a majority of the relevant region’s cities and provinces respectively).
b) A sectoral party refers to an organized group of citizens belonging to any of the following sectors: labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals whose principal advocacy pertains to the special interests and concerns of their sector.
c) A sectoral organization refers to a group of citizens or a coalition of groups of citizens who share similar physical attributes or characteristics, employment, interest or concerns.
d) A coalition refers to an aggrupation of duly registered national, regional, sectoral parties or organizations for political and/or election purposes.
Once organized, you need to obtain COMELEC registration by filing a petition stating the following:
1. Full name of the political party, organization or coalition of political parties;
2. principal headquarters and post office address for election purposes, including branches and divisions, if any;
3. date and place of organization;
4. date and manner of election or selection of its officers;
5. names and addresses of its organizers and officers, Executive Committee members, Directorate, or Party Convention delegates, if any;
6. extent of constituency;
7. program of government;
8. That it is not a religious sect or denomination;
9. That it shall not pursue its goals through violence or other unlawful means;
10. That it shall uphold and adhere to the Constitution and shall obey all laws and legal orders promulgated by duly constituted authorities;
11. That it is not supported by, nor does it accept financial contribution from any foreign government or their agencies; and
12. Other information that may be material and relevant to the petition.
The party must also submit copies of its constitution and by-laws, party platform, organizational papers, declarations of political creed or code of political ethics and such other documents of similar or equivalent character.
It is also good to know how to maintain the registration. Just remember the reasons by which the COMELEC can cancel a party’s registration, i.e, if the party:
a) is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association organized for religious purposes;
b) advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal;
c) is a foreign party or organization;
d) is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign political party, foundation, organization, whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for partisan election purposes;
e) violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections;
f) declares untruthful statements in its petition;
g) has ceased to exist for at least 1 year;
h) fails to participate in the last 2 preceding elections; or
i) fails to obtain at least 2% of the votes cast under the party-list system in the 2 preceding elections for the constituency in which it has registered.
Participating in an election
Once registered, wait for the elections and, at least 90 days before the scheduled elections, file a manifestation to participate in the party-list system.
At least 44 days before the scheduled elections, the party must then submit to the COMELEC at least 5 names (in order of preference) as possible party-list representative.
No person shall be nominated as party-list representative unless he is (1) a natural born citizen of the Philippines, (2) a registered voter, (3) a resident for at least 1 year immediately preceding election day, (4) able to read and write, (5) a bona fide member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent for at least 90 days preceding election day, and (6) at least 25 years old on election day.
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be 25 but not more than 30 years old on election day; however, any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of 30 during his term shall be allowed to continue until the expiration of his term.
Every voter shall be entitled to 2 votes. The first is a vote for his Congressman (or woman), and the second, a vote for the party, organization, or coalition he wants represented in the House of Representatives.
In determining the allocation of seats for the second vote, the following procedure shall be observed:
First: The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from the highest to the lowest based on the number of votes garnered during the elections.
Next: The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least 2% of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be entitled to 1 seat each Those garnering more than 2% shall be entitled to additional seats in proportion to their total number of votes but no party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to more than 3 seats.
Party-list representatives shall be proclaimed by the COMELEC based on the list of names submitted by their respective parties, organizations, or coalitions according to their ranking in said list.
Term of Office
Party-list representatives have a term of 3 years which shall begin, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election. No party-list representatives shall serve for more than 3 consecutive terms.
Any party-list representative who changes his political party or sectoral affiliation during his term of office shall forfeit his seat. If he changes his political party or sectoral affiliation within 6 months before an election, he shall not be eligible for nomination as party-list representative under his new party or organization.
In case of vacancy in party-list seats, the vacancy shall be automatically filled by the next representative from the list of nominees, in the order submitted to the COMELEC, who shall serve for the unexpired term. If the list is exhausted, the party, organization, or coalition concerned shall submit additional nominees.
Remember that although your party represents your particular group’s interest and concerns, the end result should also be for the good of the nation as a whole.
 Sec.3, Republic Act No. 7941 (An Act Providing For The Election Of Party-List Representatives Through The Party-List System, And Appropriating Funds Therefor), 3 March 1995.
 Sec. 2 Rule 32, COMELEC Rules of Procedure, 15 February 1993.
 Sec. 3, Supra.
 Sec. 6, Ibid.
 Sec. 4, Supra.
 Sec. 8, Supra.
 Sec. 9, Supra.
 Sec. 10, Supra.
 Sec. 11, Supra.
 Sec. 13, Supra.
 Sec. 14, Supra.
 Sec. 15, Supra.
 Sec. 16, Supra.