• Court junks petition vs SOCE extension

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    The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday junked a petition questioning a Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution extending the deadline for filing of Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) for the May 2016 polls.

    The SC en banc dismissed outright the petition filed by lawyer Manuelito Luna, the 1-Abilidad party-list group and the People’s Freedom Party.

    The petition was thrown out because the petitioners failed to attach a duplicate original or certified true copy of the assailed Comelec resolution.

    The SC also took note that the number of copies required to be submitted was also deficient.

    It rebuked the petitioners for “merely submit[ting]news reports in lieu of the required copy of the assailed resolution. As petitioners failed to state the exact date of promulgation of the assailed resolution, the averments regarding the timeliness of the petition are also defective.”

    The Comelec had been accused of grave abuse of discretion by granting the extension to the Liberal Party headed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

    The petitioners lodged the case via taxpayer’s suit.

    They had asked the SC for immediate issuance of a status quo ante order, which shall restore the condition prior to the extension, meaning setting the deadline for the SOCE filing last June 8.

    The Comelec voted 4-3 on the request of the Liberal Party and its presidential candidate, Manuel Roxas 2nd despite recommendation of the Comelec’s Campaign Finance Office (CFO) to deny the plea for extension.

    The provision states that “[e]very candidate and treasurer of the political party shall, within thirty days after the day of the election, file in duplicate with the offices of the [Comelec] the full, true and itemized statement of contributions and expenditures in connection with the elections.”

    The petitioners said there is “no substantive justification” for the Comelec to disregard the law and that the extension was intended “to accommodate the request of [the LP and Roxas].”

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    2 Comments

    1. Based on previous SC decisions, I expected Atty. M. Luna, et al. to lose. But this decision is based more on a technicality, rather than legal precedence. This is poor lawyering. Imagine, Luna and co-petitioners failed to attach a copy of the Comelec resolution central to their petition! Unbelievable! What a waste of time, money, and resources! It seems few people are capable of doing proper legal research. Had this been done, this frivolous petition may not have been filed. The kind of petition (which the SC had to addres) is one reason why the justice system in the Philippines is so inefficient and slow-moving. Let us hope that the incoming President-elect R. Duterte can do something about this. “Justice delayed is justice denied”.

    2. What we learned is that the petitioners submitted last Monday the newly issued Comelec Resolution No. 10147 to the Supreme Court. Mukhang hindi binigay ng Judicial Records Office ang document sa En Banc. Kasalanan ng SC kung di nila alam na meron na palang resolution nafile sa kanila ng mga petitiones.