The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is evading legal battle by withholding the hard copy of its resolution that extended the filing of Statement of Contributions and Expenses (SOCE) for political parties, including the Liberal Party (LP), for 14 days.
Incoming Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte on Wednesday noted that the Comelec resolution that allowed the LP to file its SOCE one week after the June 8 deadline is of utmost importance in order to allow all interested parties to question the legality of the resolution before the Supreme Court (SC).
The Comelec en banc last week voted 4-3 in favor of extending the deadline.
“Right or wrong, there seems to be a public perception that the release of the resolution is being held in abeyance until after the sought-for 14-day extension lapses so it may no longer be questioned before the Supreme Court,” Alvarez said in a statement.
“If this is true, the Comelec may end up as a damaged institution as it will be a party to two very serious violations–extending the non-extendible deadline in the filing of SOCE and depriving the people of the right to question that extension before the SC,” he added.
Alvarez said the incoming Duterte administration will not tolerate a Comelec that works not to serve the interest of the people but of the powerful like the LP, and that the Comelec should have been the first to uphold the SOCE provision of Republic Act 7166.
The provision states that all candidates, winners or losers, must file their SOCE within 30 days after the elections.
“By acquiescing to the SOCE filing extension, the Comelec became the first to violate RA 7166, as well as its own Comelec Resolution No. 9991, which ruled out late filings and affirmed that the June 8 deadline is ‘final and non-extendible.’ We are supposed to be a government of laws and not of men,” Alvarez pointed out.
“What’s the point of enacting laws if they will not be implemented or, worse, as in the case of the Comelec and RA 7166, the poll body becomes the primary violator of the law it is supposed to uphold and enforce?” he said.
Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, the head of the poll body’s Campaign Finance Office, earlier tendered his irrevocable resignation in protest of the Comelec granting the extension in the filing of SOCE.
Lim is one of the Comelec commissioners who voted against the extension alongside Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista and Luie Guia.
Those who voted in favor of an extended SOCE filing were Arthur Lim, Al Parreno, Shariff Abas and Rowena Guanzon.