AUTHOR’S NOTE: After I submitted this column, news broke out that the Comelec, by a vote of four to three, agreed to accept the Liberal Party’s late filing of its Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE). Those who voted against it were Chairman Andres Bautista and commissioners Christian Lim and Louie Tito Guia. The four who supported the Liberal Party were commissioners Arthur Lim, Al Parreno, Sherif Abas and Rowena Guanzon, whom I very erroneously described in the column as a “feisty, principled woman.” I guess her feistiness was all for show. The column’s title has been changed to: “Lackeys and heroes,” from the original, “The Comelec: Aquino’s lackeys or democracy’s heroes?”
Just when they were heaving a sigh of relief that they largely passed the test of integrity and neutrality despite all the claims of anomalies in the recent elections, Comelec members found themselves nearing a defining moment in history in which they could either be condemned as lackeys of an outgoing President and his losing Liberal Party, or praised as democracy’s heroes.
The Liberal Party failed to file its Statement of Contributions and Expenses (SOCE) by deadline on June 8 as required by the Omnibus Election Code, and specifically by the Comelec’s Resolution No. 9991. It was a case of hubris, reflective of the kind of incompetence the Party’s leading members Aquino 3rd and Manuel Roxas 2nd had demonstrated in their six years in office. Hubris because it thought it would win and that there would be a queue of businessmen claiming to be the donors of its huge campaign kitty that was, in reality, funded out of illegally sourced taxpayers’ money. But the Party largely lost, and the businessmen who had been expected to make such claims had vanished.
This failure to file the SOCE by June 8 was an unbelievable colossal error: The penalty would be the disqualification of all their winning candidates, from alleged vice president Leni Robredo, to senators like topnotcher Franklin Drilon, to governors and mayors, and even councilors.
Because it is a huge Party that could easily afford armies of accountants, the only explanation was that its leaders realized that its expenditures could not be explained by contributions, unless it admitted that these included government funds siphoned off for the Party’s campaign.
Indeed, when it tried to file its SOCE six days later on June 14, it claimed that the Party spent only P241 million – for a campaign that involved the highest post of the land to the lowest. That’s utterly incredible.
LP vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo – who relied on the Party’s finances since she was so poor she purportedly regularly uses the public bus to commute – reported contributions of P423 million, the biggest among her peers.
That the Party made a devastating error is crystal clear from the Comelec’s Resolution No. 9991 approved by its present members on October 2, 2015, pertinent provisions of which are:
“The 08 June 2016 deadline shall be final and non-extendible. Submissions beyond this period shall not be accepted.
Previous COMELEC Resolutions … are hereby repealed, insofar as they allowed the belated submission, amendment or correction of campaign finance disclosure statements and reports. “
And the disastrous consequence of not filing on June 8, 2016:
“Persons elected to any public office shall not enter upon the duties of their office until they have filed their SOCE with the relevant Schedules and supporting documents, in accordance with the formal requirements set by these Rules.
The same prohibition shall apply if the party which nominated the winning candidate had failed to file its Statement of Contributions and Expenditures as required herein within thirty (30) days from the conduct of election.”
While that particular paragraph has the clause “until they have filed their SOCE,” the deadline means they will never be able to file it, as the Comelec resolution states very clearly that, “submissions shall not be accepted beyond this period (before or on June 8, 2016).” If the filing is not accepted after June 8, how can it be deemed filed, even if belated?
There is no ambiguity in the Comelec resolutions, and I guess the commissioners didn’t bother to mull the disastrous consequences of not meeting the deadline, as they thought it would be impossible for political organizations that engaged in such a huge undertaking as national elections to miss the deadline. But the Yellow Party is the Yellow Party, as bungling as it is arrogant that it could bend the rules.
The Comelec commissioner in charge of the Campaign Finance Office, Christian Robert Lim, in fact, has officially reported to the body in a memorandum June 15 that the Liberal Party, by not filing its SOCE by deadline, has in effect not filed it.
“To grant the request for extension would not only be unfair to other candidates and parties who complied within the prescribed period but also would be a reversal of the commission’s own resolution on the matter,” Lim noted.
He even pointed out: “It is worthy to note that even presidential candidate and incumbent Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago was able to comply… despite being on medical leave and her confinement in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Makati Medical Center a few days before the deadline. ”
The Rule of Law – and civilization itself, really – rests on the principle that a law must be implemented no matter what, or else delete it from the book. This is expressed dramatically in such poetic, often-quoted Latin adages as “Sed lex, dura lex (“The law may be harsh, but it is the law” ), Fiat justitia ruat caelum (“Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.”)
There is no way for the Comelec to explain away the Liberal Party’s failure to file its SOCE, and to refuse to impose the penalty of barring its candidates from assuming office.
If the Comelec decides not to implement its own rules, the very foundations of our democratic system are subverted. “Democracy” really is merely an abstraction; it becomes real only through laws and regulations, and through the actions and decisions of a constitutional body – the Comelec in our case – whose sacrosanct duty is to implement those laws and rules. Its betrayal of its own rules will mean a degradation of our democratic system.
All of the seven members of the Comelec were appointees of President Aquino, whose terms will end from 2018 to as late as 2022. I would like to believe, though, that they are men (and a feisty, principled woman) of integrity that they would not sell their souls nor sacrifice their reputations just because of the Liberal Party’s hubris and incompetence. I don’t they think they would want their names to be condemned by history as the lackeys of the worst President the country ever had.
They’d be democracy’s heroes by simply following the regulations they themselves made, and our electoral process would be on its way toward really becoming a system for the people to choose their leaders.
This Post Has 48 Comments
Yellow PNoy is on the way out, the COMELEC still afraid/or PAID? or simply members of daang natuwad? And they would still be there in 2022, GOD help the Pinas bayan ko!
If the new President really wants change, He should remove/discard the characters that were installed/appointed by this outgoing incompetent government.
Majority of law-abiding tax payers suffered six years of inefficiency, incompetence and brazen kapalmuks, please give us respite to all of these!
It’s a kangaroo comelec team! May usapan na yan bago pa bumoto. Obvious na gusto lang i-save ang credibility ni Bautista… Pero lahat sila pare-pareho, mga traydor sa bansang Pilipinas..
How sad to read the foregoing bashings on social media. Where have all our manners, respect for one another, kindness, love & understanding of others gone? We can agree to disagree & voice our differing opinions as educated, humane & mature individuals.
Even before the voting of the comelec commissioners, we have already presumed that the deadline would be extended. Why? Those who voted for the extension are: former lawyer of Roxas when the latter was still in DILG; one was appointed by Pinoy for his IT expertise despite having no in depth knowledge at all of the duties and responsibilities of the COMELEC; one is a nephew of IQBAl, the BBL chief negotiator; and the last one was the private prosecutor in the Corona impeachment. What else is new?
If Comelec which is the proper authority to set rules for the election and proclamation of candidates is tainted with blatant disregard for their own rules and allowing foreigners to make a mockery of people’s sovereign will… then it’s crystal clear that they did not do their duty but failed miserably and they destroyed our trust in their competence and fairness… they should be jailed
the day of reckoning is at hand
if the seven of you think that digong and his mindanao boys were born yesterday,then you’ve got another think coming!
tapos na masasayang araw nyo!
as early as now and in order to save face , execute your disappearing acts, for your information, digong requested the 3 PNP generals ot disappear, don’t wait for the Digong to ask the same from you-the magnificent 7 of comelec
For all the mistakes, omission and commission (?)……..impeaching those responsible for making a mockery of the law is in order when the new administration takes over. Charge them too with multiple administrative and criminal cases, so that they will always be busy defending themselves in their waking hours. In the meantime, to have a definitive legal foundation — as this Comelec ruling is a question of law, file a case against it at the Supreme Court.
cant get over this high crime against democracy.
if ther eis no number ti imoeach
what about filing gRAVE abuse of discretion at the SC, or even art 208 of the RPC , i dont know anymore!
LORD GOD of righteousness and justice–take over
Dapat. Gumagawa tayo ng mabuti, tapat sa tungkulin dhl takot tayo gumawa ng mali at makasuhan. Pero cla, pinaglalaruan lng nla ang batas. Pinaglalaruan lng nla tayo. Sarap nmn nyan…?
How much did this outgoing / worst president we ever had, offered to these people.
A couple of million USDs perhaps.. paalis na naman .. ung supposedly naka-budget para sa mga eskwelahan, irrigation nang pananim at health care gamitin na ..
Hope that History will be (severely ) harsh on this Pnoy and his cabal.
impeach those in the lower ROW
apologies fir the error
impeach those in the lower column.
if they will not be impeached– a GREATER POWER will deal with them!
these commissioners will still be here up to 2022? they will be spreading their deadly virus to the incoming Duterte government. if Duterte’s goal is to sanitize the government then he should ask these people to resign from their post out of delicadeza if they have a bit of it, to give the Duterte administration a fresh start. For if not they will infect surely the incoming government.so disheartening!blatant disregard for the rule of law just to please their master.
These deviation from the COMELEC rule for the deadline on SOCE submission may be resolved by a referendum, let the Filipino people decide whether the late filing of the SOCE is acceptable …..until then, based on COMELEC rules the LP is disqualified
I believe what happened is an elaborate show. Bautista may voted against it of course so he would feint n make it look that him being comelec chair isnt bias. Buft its too obvious. Whats wrong us wronf. Why even bother put a rule if its not going to be enforce. This aquno government is so corrupt that it over shadows what marcos did. Truth be told. They have done a lot of things hidden from the public. Just wait for the inconing president to unravel it all.
sana wala n lang batas… ang comelec sila ang communist… hindi yan demokrasya… dictadura yan…yan ang dilaw.
It’s time to make some noise, mass rally from Batanes to Visaya ( don’t include Mindanao) just like peoples power 2016, what are we waiting for ???!!!!!!.
Election cheating is not enough they need to break the rules so they can keep some LPs in power. I hope Du30 will act on this starting June 30. Investigate if there was election cheating and reverse this comelec decision and so NO LP should be allowed to assume position.
atoy, sadly du30 cannot do the reversal of this unpalatable comelec decision being a constitutional body. only the sc can. sadly the sc is also inhabited by benito boy sisi’s minions led by the chief. only way for du30 to cleanse the comelec is to impeach each commissioner. that would be bloody and maybe too costly since he has to bribe congress just like what benito boy sisi did to impeach corona
So, what yah gonna do about it? Filipinos are being cheated openly right before their very eyes but doesn’t do anything but criticize. Dapat na siguro kainin ng lupa ang mga walang kuwentang mga tao na ito para hindi na pamarisan. What a pathetic nation we have become ruled by satanists.
Comelec should follow the Law, but they did not. I hope once President Duterte will impeach them all. Take out all yellow Ribbon in your Government President Duterte.
Those yellows will be the first ones who will be plotting behind Duterte’s back to have him removed one way or another.
Duterte should have Aquino’s pork barrel stealing allies investigated and jailed since De Lima gave them a free pass.
Replacing all the Aquino appointee’s would be a smart move since none of them can be trusted and have shown their incompetence, corrupt practices and disregard for the law and people they are supposed to represent.
Who are these people breaking the law in front of us and make their decision which is illegal?
Breaking the law is not allowed anymore!
The Republic of the Philippines belong to the People.
And the Public Servants need to work honestly and responsibly.
Or else leave or be fired.
Maybe they thought that this “small” detail pitted against the enormity of the massive cheating in the recent election will not be an issue to the people. They are terribly wrong ! Woe unto you 4 Commissioners !
The Comelec is subservient to the Liberal Party. No if and buts about that. We now have clear grounds to impeach the commissioners who have defied the law and their own resolutions.
zIMPEACH THE AQUINO/LACKYES IN THE COMELEC,COMS GUANZON,ABBAS,PARRENO AND ARTHUR LIM!
reminds me of that song “money changes everything “
YOU SEE HERE IN THE PHILIPPINES IT IS EASY TO VIOLATE LAW AND NOTHING WILL HAPPEN IF YOU ARE WITH THE POWER THAT BE., SEEE THAT ADOLF HITLER PNOY IS STILL THE POWERFUL PERSON EVEN IF HE JUST FEW DAYS TO GO. SO THE IMPRESSION IS THAT VIOLATE LAW AND YOU WILL GET AWAY WITH IT BUT IF YOU ARE NOT IDENTIFIED WITH THE POWER IN MALACAÑANG YOU WILL BE IN TROUBLE.
SO THE LAW IS THE LAW MAYBE THE LAW IS HARSH BUT THAT IS THE LAW. SO LETS FORGET WHAT THE LAW IS AND RULE THE COUNTRY WITH THE RULE OF MEN NOT BY THE LAW
I agree! The people in power create the laws but those do not apply to them. Only to the ones they do not know and ordinary citizens. I love the Philippines but I am embarrassed of the people running it for 99% of them are crooks! I cannot wait for this shameful administration to be over so we can take back or nation! MABUHAY!
XWe now have a De Facto government, there will be no binding law that will be greater than the whim of the elite political pirates.
– Danny Cascolan
Mga huling hirit ng “daang matuwid”. Makes me exceedingly disappointed and angry. The yellow has stained almost all institutions of government.
THE LAW MAYBE HARSH BUT THAT IS THE LAW. WE SHOULD FOLLOW THE LAW TO ITS LETTER. OTHERWISE WE AS A COUNTRY WILL NOT BE GOVERN BY ITS LAW BUT THE RULE OF MEN.
Kaya nga may mga abogado to interpret the law, at sila na bahala don..Laht ba gagawan ninyo ng issue? let them give penalty, thats it! Pinoproblema ninyo ang mga bagay na di naman problema..Dala lang panibugho ninyo..
indeed, the Yellow cabal-the Comelec continues to inflict destruction to the country thru the marching orders of their master Abnoy.Dapat bitayin silang lahat at itapon sa Abu Sayyaf lair.
I feel like CURSING these four commissioners who are breaking the law!!
Mga walang hiya! They make the rules and then break them!!!
Get them out of the government- they have no place in the government.
Mga walang hiya!!
Comm. Guanzon feisty and principled? just for the show and pretentions.
Who needs the resolution/rule; the SOCEs; and, the Comelec;? Abolish all of them abd we abolish “Corruption”! Shame on them!.
Iyan ang tinarawag na kagulang-gulang na Comelec CommitErrors.
Is this decision of the Comelec final?
WHY NOT GO TO THE SUPREME COURT?
WHAT ARE THEY AFRAID OFF? b s aquino is gone by july first.
GO TO THE SUPREME COURT TO APPEAL AND / OR REVERSE
THIS DECISION FOR THE SAKE OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE AND
DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW.
Same problem in the Supreme Court, Aquino controlled.
The Chief Justice
Sereno’s real “qualification” was that she was the only nominee Mr. Aquino could be 100-percent sure would do his bidding? Especially when she outdid Hacienda Luisita’s lawyers in arguing for P10-billion compensation for the President’s clan.
those lackeys in the COMELEC are fools. Noynoy is leaving Malacanang soon, why would they let themselves be used by Noynoy? Their loyalty should be to the Filipino people, and not to Noynoy.
Anyway, maybe once Duterte is in Malacanang, COMELEC commissioner would see the light and pass a new resolution nullifying the resolution accepting the late filing of SOCE. if there is a will, there is way.
How I wish I can afford the filing fee and the trip to Manila to challenge Comelec’s ruling in the Supreme Court under Rule 65 for grave abuse of discretion: capriciousness of ruling.
Wala naan nakakapagtaka sa modus operandi nitong Comelec sa issue nng SOCE nang LP. Well, andiyan na iyan, maliwanag na binaluktot na nila ang sarili nilang Resolution para mapagbigyan ang kakampi na political party, ang partido na nang ambush nang mga votos ni BBM.
Una, nag press release sila na dalawa daw sa kanila, ang Bautista at ang isa sa mga Lims na “hindi daw(kunwari lang op kors) sila fvor sa pagbibigay ng extension sa request ng LP na extension”. Op kors, lip service lang iyon statement na iyon to make it appear na may proceso at balance na opinion sa mga Comelec board members kung ano ang mga varying views and opinions….pero, nunca, bago pa man ang lahat ay nagka kotsabahan na ang mga board members na 4-3 decision in favor of granting an extension. Cosmetics na lang yung kunwari si Bote, Si Lim, at ung isa ay against(3), at yung apat ay favor(4).
Inuunggoy tayo at Tzinu Tzuvivo nang mga kumag na iyan, na mga Comelec board…dapat nang ipa impeach lahat iyan, lalo na yang kamag anak ni Noynoy na si Bautista.
Tinatarantado tayo nang Comelec Board na ito. Malinaw na malinaw na INU UNGGOY ANG SISTEMA AT MGA REGULATIONS AT PANUNTUNAN NA SILA MISMO ANG NAG PANUKALA…PARA SA INTERESTS NG MGA KAPWA NILA MGA DILAWS NA LIBERALS…PERO IYONG REQUEST NA INDEPENDENT AUDIT, INDEPENDENT INSPECTION NG MGA COMELEC OSYSTEMS SERVERS…NAGBINGI BINGI AN AT MAGMISTULANG WALANG NAPAPANSIN NA CABA-BALAN ITONG COMELEC NA ITO AT ANG BAUTISTA NA IYAN…..O, BAYAN ANO PA ANG HINIHINTAY NATIN? IPA IMBESTIGA NA IYAN SA PAPADATING NA ADMINISTRASYON…..
di po robot mga pilipino…. touch and go ba talaga…. parang wala lang… sana wala na lang law diba….
ano naman ang gagawin ng darating na administraion? nganga din? katulad mo panatiko,,,magtrabaho ka hoy! di panay sama ng loob at tapos na elksyun..panalo na si LENI LUGAW at talo si bobong marcos.
All commissions, panels and boards of the government, especially under the Yellow Administration, should be evaluated, especially if they act as “one”. Dissolve all of them for the members are not doing what they are supposed to do; they may be just acting in “Unison” for their own and choiced groups’ benefit! Ito ang mga “salot” sa gobyerno! coice
Comments are closed.