President Rodrigo Duterte’s political party on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to nullify the resolution issued by the Commission on Elections extending the deadline for the filing of the Statement of Contributions and Expenditures by candidates and their parties in the May 9 polls.
In a 25-page petition, PDP-Laban through its secretary-general, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez stressed that Comelec Resolution No. 10147 dated June 23, 2016 should be set aside for violating the provision of Section 14 of Republic Act 7166 or the Synchronized Local and National Elections and Electoral Reforms Act.
Section 14 mandates all candidates and the treasurer of the political party to file their SOCEs within 30 days after the day of election.
Pursuant to the said law, the Comelec earlier set deadline for the filing of SOCEs on June 8.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, one of the three commissioners who voted against the SOCE deadline extension, vowed to abide by the Supreme Court’s “definitive ruling.’’ The other commissioners have yet to comment on PDP-Laban’s petition.
Comelec extended the deadline until June 30 at the request of the Liberal Party which cited as reasons “the confusion brought by the stringent new requirements for its submission and the voluminous documents that will be attached to the SOCE filing of LP and its presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas.
The Comelec cited the possibility of Vice President-elect Leni Robredo as well as several senators and local winning candidates not being able to assume their posts as the reason for extending the deadline for the filing of the SOCE.
The poll body said the refusal to allow winning candidates from assuming the posts they were voted for due to the failure to file SOCE is in effect disenfranchising millions of voters.
The Duterte administration party insisted that under Section 14 the filing of SOCE is “mandatory and non-extendible.”
“The extension of the deadline for the filing of SOCE of candidates and parties for the last May 9, 2016 national and local elections is illegal and null and void for being in contravention with the mandate of Section 14 of R.A. 7166,” Alvarez said.
The petitioner added the extension of the 30-day deadline is tantamount to amending Section 14 of R.A. 7166, which is illegal since such the duty to promulgate and amend laws belongs to Congress.
The PDP-Laban also agreed with the observation of Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, head of the Comelec-Campaign Finance Office, that the extension was a clear case of political accommodation in favor of LP.
Because of this, the petitioner said the SC should not to tolerate the “whims and caprices” of LP.
“It is very evident that the challenged Resolution No. 10147, which extended the deadline for the filing of the SOCE to June 30, 2016 is clearly an accommodation in favor of the LP. That said, public respondent Comelec en banc acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, when it issued the challenged Resolution No. 10147,” it pointed out.
The SC earlier dismissed a similar petition filed by lawyer Manuelito Luna, nominee for 1-Abilidad Party-List and retired soldier Justino Padiernos of the People’s Freedom Party due to their failure to comply with the requirements under the Rules for the filing of a petition. With Sara Fabunan