The distribution of seats in the party-list system always end up controversially. In this May 2019 national election, there’s again an apparent demand to reconfigure or to look at deeper the equal distribution of seats with the total votes almost already tallied.
CIBAC Party-list nominee Atty. Lyndon Cana clearly states the mathematical argument that CIBAC must get three seats instead of the Comelec giving two.
On his FB post, Cana explained the reason CIBAC must be given three seats:
MATHEMATICAL JUSTICE: SO THAT ALL CIBAC SUPPORTERS
AND THE PEOPLE MAY KNOW
The question of whether CIBAC will have a third nominee or not boils down to the application of what is now known as the “BANAT formula” adopted by the Supreme Court in the case of Banat vs. Comelec. Summarized, it goes this way:
Awarding of seats to Party Lists (PL) undergoes three rounds.
In the first round, all PL which have obtained at least 2% of all the votes case for PLs (the minimum required by law to get a seat), get one guaranteed seat each. In this round, 9 PLs, including 4th ranking CIBAC, get one seat each.
In the second round, the formula now becomes the “vote percentage” of the PL is multiplied by the “remaining seats after the first round”, the product of which entitles a PL to another seat for every “whole integer” of the product, “a fraction being considered an integer and no rounding off allowed”.
Thus, in this second round, ACT CIS (the no. 1 PL), and Bayan Muna (the second placer), all get a product in excess of 2%, so they both get two additional seats each. (Only a maximum of 3 seats are allowed per PL). So in this second stage, ACT-CIS and Bayan Muna both get already the maximum 3 seats allowed by law.
With respect to AKO BICOL (AB), the third placer, and CIBAC, the fourth ranked, it appears that they post a less-than-whole 2% product each, with AB scoring somewhere around 1.9%, and CIBAC around 1.7% (canvass of votes not yet complete… we are at 98% canvass as of this writing).
(CIBAC’s current vote percentage is 3.35% of all the votes cast for PL, x 52 remaining seats, because there being 61 seats minus 9 seats awarded in the first round, is 52, so CIBAC’s second round percentage is 1.742%.)
So AB and CIBAC get one additional seat each, because .9% and and .742% are not whole integers and no rounding off is allowed.
Now comes the third round. All the remaining seats not yet awarded, are now distributed to the remaining PLs based on rank until all remaining available seats are occupied.
In this third round, some 40 party lists are waiting in line to receive one seat each till the last seat is occupied according to rank.
And this is where the whole trouble begins. Because CIBAC, which still has a residue of .742% left (making it no. 14 in the ranking for the third round), IS EXCLUDED BY COMELEC in the third round!
What happens then is PLs with LESS THAN WHOLE INTEGERS percentages of their votes, such as those whose votes are less than 200,000, are awarded one seat each, WHILE CIBAC, WHOSE VOTES IS 923,000, is awarded ONLY TWO SEATS, because Comelec’s present rule excludes the “top notchers” (the first group scoring 2% plus in the first round) from the seat allocation in the third round!
Why they are doing that, what is their basis for doing that, is the million dollar question.
All universal and basic notion of “proportionality” and “ranking” is destroyed.
To repeat, a PL with 190,000 votes has one seat, while CIBAC with 923,000 has only two seats.
CIBAC has already submitted its Position Paper on the issue asking Comelec to include us in the THIRD ROUND SEAT ALLOCATION PROCESS, because our residue vote is STILL SO MUCH MORE THAN THE VOTES other PLs have. To emphasize, if PLs with 200,000 votes are able to get one seat in the third round, why is CIBAC EXCLUDED FROM THE THIRD ROUND when it still has 523,000 excess votes of 200,000 plus 200,000 after the second round?
We can only pray that a sense of basic mathematical justice and righteousness grips the Comelec, enough to convince it to adjust their formula or its application, to make it just and fair to the voters who gave CIBAC such a commanding mandate, placing it fourth in a field of 181 contenders.
Please pray with us for mathematical justice. The problem is not with the people or the voters. They have spoken. Resoundingly. The problem is some man-made formula that defies mathematical justice and fundamental common sense.