Commission on Elections acting spokesperson Rex Laudiangco on Friday explained why the poll body approved its former commissioner Rowena Guanzon’s bid to become a party-list representative.
Laudiangco told TeleRadyo that Comelec Resolution 10717, which set the November 15 substitution deadline, does not tackle events that take place after the elections.
“The rules do not provide for what must be done after the elections. Like in the case of P3PWD party-list, all their nominees resigned after the polls,” the poll official said.
The lawyer said the poll body approved Guanzon’s bid to replace the group’s original nominees on the basis of Sections 8 and 16 of Republic Act 7941 or the Party-list System Act.
The original set of nominees of Komunidad ng Pamilya Pasyente at Persons with Disabilities party-list, which won a seat in the House of Representatives, resigned on June 14.
“Section 8 of that law states that alterations or change of names cannot happen after they have been submitted to Comelec. But the nominees resigned—and as you already know, the Comelec has no power to force nominees to stay in their position,” Laudiangco said.
“So the Comelec law department saw that the affidavits of withdrawal met legal requirements—they were signed, under oath, and notarized, and P3PWD itself submitted a board resolution about the withdrawal of the acceptance of nomination,” the official said, adding that “their Secretary-General also submitted a signed affidavit on this, and submitted a new list, so they met all the legal requirements.”
Laudiangco noted that Section 16 of the Party-list System Act requires that a group must submit a new list of nominees in the case of vacancy in the seats reserved for their representatives.
“Otherwise po kasi, hindi mapupunan yung vacancy na naganap (the vacancy won’t be filled),” he said.
He noted that this is not the first time this has happened to a party-list group.
Laudiangco had earlier said that those opposed to Guanzon’s substitution as P3PWD party-list nominee have until June 30 to file their petition before the poll body.
He said there are two possible petitions versus Guanzon: one is a petition to deny due course and or cancellation; and two Petition for disqualification. Laudiangco said that on June 30, jurisdiction over such petitions shifts to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
National Youth Commission chairman Ronald Cardema, who was disqualified by Comelec in 2019 as representative of the Duterte Youth Party-list for being overaged, said he would oppose the approval of Guanzon as a substitute nominee.
Cardema had stressed that the deadline for substitution had already lapsed in November 2021.