In the consolidated cases of BA-RA 7941 v. Comelec, GR No. 177271 and Rosales v. Comelec, GR No. 177314, the Supreme Court (see Jay B. Rempillo, SC Orders Comelec to Disclose Party-list Nominees’ Names, Court News Flash May 2007, May 3, 2007) resolved the issue regarding the release of the names of part-list nominees.
In a 15-page unanimous decision, the Court En Banc said that the prohibition imposed on the COMELEC under section 7 of RA 7941 (Party-list System Act) is limited in scope and duration as it extends only to the certified list which the same provision requires to be posted in the polling places on election day. It further said that to stretch the coverage of the prohibition to the absolute is to read into the law something that is not intended.
The Court followed Fr. Bernas' arguments (see previous blog) regarding constitutinal right to information. It held tat “In all, we agree with the petitioners that respondent Comelec has a constitutional duty to disclose and release the names of the nominess of the party-list groups.”
The Court cited section 7, Article III of the Constitution (the right of people to information on matters of public concern) and section 28, Article II of the Constitution (the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest) as bases in ordering the poll body to divulge the said names.