Three Comelec execs face contempt over delayed Senior Citizens party-list proclamation

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The Coalition of Association of Senior Citizens, Inc. (Senior Citizens) party-list, which won two seats in the May polls, will cite three Commissioners of the Commission on Elections in contempt before the Supreme Court for delaying the proclamation of the winning party-list group.

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Senior Citizens party-list President Godofredo Arquiza, the party’s first nominee, was referring to Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr., Elias Yusoph and Lucenito Tagle, whom he claimed have told his camp at least four times that he will be proclaimed as a party-list representative provided that Senior Citizens faction leader Francisco Datol Jr. will get to occupy the second seat that the Senior Citizens party-list group won.

Arquiza cited that the said Comelec Commissioners should be held liable, considering that the January 13 Comelec resolution stated that the Senior Citizens faction led by Datul group is fraudulent. The same Resolution, however, tasks the Arquiza and Datul group to settle their intracorporate disputes before the Regional Trial Court.

“We need to cite the three for contempt because they keep on telling us that Datul should be my second nominee, which is illegal. We have enough nominees in line. Besides, they said Datul’s group is fraudulent because Datul fabricated the members of his faction. Why are they asking us to settle it with the Regional Trial Court? They said Datul’s followers were fabricated, then what is there to settle?,” Arquiza said in a press conference.

The Supreme Court already ordered the proclamation of Senior Citizens party-list, which won two seats in May 2013 polls, back in July 8, 2013.

“They are lawyers so I can’t understand why they can’t appreciate the facts here. Why are they forcing us to accommodate Datul?,” Arquiza, a lawyer, added.

Mila Magsaysay, who is the second nominee of the Senior Citizens party-list, then invoked that Datul group’s registration of his Senior Citizens faction has already been cancelled by the Security and Exchange Commission for good.

“Datul has no legal personality anymore. Why does the Comelec continue to insist there is dispute in the first place?,” Magsaysay stressed.

“We really need to do something here because the Supreme Court has already ruled that the Senior Citizens party-list should be proclaimed dating back July last year. If there is indeed dispute, why issue the Resolution six months after? This is detrimental for our Senior Citizens because their term is only three years. Six months have already passed,” lawyer Hernan Nicdao, the counsel of the Senior Citizens party-list, added.

On top of citing the Comelec officials for contempt, the Senior Citizens party-list group is also set to file a petition for certiorari and seek a Temporary Restraining Order on the January 13 Comelec Resolution which is contradictory in nature.

“We will file it as soon as possible,” Nicdao said.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., for his part, urged the poll body to resolve the case of the Senior Citizens party-list soon.

“I hope that they resolve the issue quickly because if there is somebody that needed to be represented and have a voice in Congress, that’s the Senior Citizens,” Belmonte said in a separate talk.

Arquiza, a two-time party-list lawmaker representing the Senior Citizens, is holding office in the House of Representatives despite his non-proclamation of his 2013 win.

Belmonte is at peace with that.

“At any rate, he is bound to become a winner. I can kick him out. But he is not getting nay salary, so we can tolerate him holding office here because the dispute is not on him [being the first nominee]but on the second nominee,” Belmonte said in closing. LLANESCA T. PANTI

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