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Comelec’s Farcical Five should resign

By the five, I mean the commissioners who shamefully threw into the wastebasket the rules on the filing of candidates’ Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE), which they themselves drafted and adopted just nine months ago, in October 2015:

“The 08 June 2016 deadline shall be final and non-extendible. Submission beyond this period shall not be accepted.” (Comelec Resolution No. 9991)

Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, a former Liberal Party mayor of Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, and whose appointment to the Comelec Manuel Roxas 2nd intensely lobbied for, as alleged by the opposition in 2015, was the most aggressive – and the most ridiculous – in defending the decision she and the four others have taken.

She downplayed their decision in an interview with a TV reporter by claiming that the commission had also allowed the late SOCE submissions “before, during the 2010 and 2013 elections.”

This commissioner didn’t even do her homework, or either deliberately ignored the very clear provision of Comelec Resolution No. 9991:

COMELEC Resolutions Nos. 9849 and 9873, Minute Resolutions Nos. 13-0775 and 13-0823, are hereby repealed, insofar as they allowed the belated submission, amendment and/or correction of campaign finance disclosure statements and reports and the imposition of late penalties for the 2013 National and Local Elections.

These Resolutions 9849 and 9873 were the body’s decisions Guanzon was referring to, which extended the deadlines for the filing of the SOCEs but which were missed by several candidates in the 2013 elections or for which they provided inadequate submissions. The newer resolution in 2015, however, prescribes that such extensions will no longer be allowed.

At least two were righteous: Uppermost row, Commissioners Lim and Guia who voted to implement the SOCE rules; lower rows, clockwise, the Farcical Five, Chairman Bautista Guanzon, Lim, Parreño, and Abas.

What kind of an election body is this, charged with the task of ensuring the procedures for electing our leaders, yet which  breaks the rules it itself established less than a year ago?

The commissioners also disrespected their own rules by not even bothering to repeal their Resolution No. 9991, which categorically stated there could be no extension of the deadline.

This Comelec’s farce in enforcing electoral laws is quite obvious in that it excused the Liberal Party’s failure to submit its SOCE on time even if, as former Supreme Court Justice Artemio Panganiban pointed out in his newspaper column, “no cogent reason was given by the LP why it was not able to file [it] within the prescribed period, given that others were able to do so.”

No cogent reasons

Panganiban explained: “What are the cogent reasons to justify equitably such extension? ‘Cogent’ would be reasons that differentiate the LP’s situation from other parties and that make it impossible for the LP to file its SOCE on time, like (a) a fortuitous event befell it (say, a fire gutted the office containing the records needed to complete its SOCE), or (b) the party treasurer, who is legally required to prepare the filing, suddenly fell seriously ill and no other officer was capable of replacing him or her, or (c) its “duly-authorized representative” bringing the completed SOCE met an accident and was thus, unable to file on time.”

(I had started to mumble an it’s-a-miracle when I read the title and first paragraphs of the column of the former chief justice, who has always used his column to present the legal arguments in defense of Aquino and his gang’s actions. It turned out he’s not changed: He argued only for the Comelec to impose the monetary penalties on the LP, and that its candidates such as Leni Robredo, whom he specifically mentioned, weren’t accountable for their party’s actions.)

But stupid of us, why should we even demand the LP to give “cogent” reasons for its failure to file its SOCE when it was not just the titular party chairman President Benigno Aquino who appointed the Comelec commissioners, but its leaders were known to be good buddies with them, reportedly as in the cases of Senator Franklin Drilon and Chairman Andres Bautista, Roxas with Guanzon, and Aquino himself with Sheriff Abas?

Why, after all, would such a mediocre Comelec bureaucrat as Abas, even if he were the nephew of MILF spokesman Mohagher Iqbal, be appointed as commissioner, if not by Aquino’s calculation that the LP could rely on such a lackey for a swing-vote in a body of seven?

To justify the Comelec’s junking of its own resolutions, Guanzon invokes, as has been her habit, noble principles. “The people voted for them; respect the will of the people. That is the primordial principle in the elections,” she wrote in her Twitter account. “Rules cannot prevail over the sovereign will of the people. The Supreme Court has ruled that many times.”

That, of course, is an argument for the abolition of the Comelec since it is nothing but a body which discharges the Constitution’s provision for a representative form of government, for elections through the ballot, by implementing a huge body of rules and procedures.

Sovereign will

I hope she can provide details on how the Supreme Court decided that  “rules cannot prevail over the sovereign will of the people.” In 2014, the Court upheld the Comelec’s kicking out of Laguna governor ER Ejercito for spending for TV campaign ads an amount more than the allowed P3 per registered voter.

But going by Guanzon’s argument, shouldn’t the sovereign will of Laguna voters be respected, instead of the rule on how much candidates can spend?

Guanzon – who, as expected really, has become the Comelec’s de facto spokesman for this issue – raised the threat of a political Armageddon, claiming that if the body implemented its own resolution, about five senators, 115 congressmen and 40 governors wouldn’t be able to take their seats.

That kind of argument, of course, means that if all these candidates all grossly violated the Omnibus Election Code by, for instance spending more than is allowed by law, they cannot be deprived of their seats because that would be too disruptive.

Even if we assume Guanzon’s arguments to be correct, she must resign just the same, together with the four others who voted with their eyes closed to the Liberal Party’s failure to follow the rules, if they have any decency and patriotism left.

By ignoring the rules they themselves made, they have weakened the integrity and institutional strength of the Comelec. If the body ignores its own rules, what moral ground will it have when it issues other rules for future elections? And why should candidates follow them?

Another reason they should resign is for sheer incompetence, if not stupidity. They craft a rule – which they later claim should not have been made, anyway. They have made Comelec’s rules a farce, these farcical five.

The Comelec spokesman also arrogantly claimed: The law never intended for the results to be so absurd. You have to understand it will have a big impact if the deadline is not extended.”

But it was the commissioners who made the rule the spokesman claimed would lead to absurd results. So shouldn’t the commissioners who issued such a rule, and refused to implement them, be fired?


I made a mistake in putting Comelec Chairman Bautista among the Comelec’s heroes in my previous column, as I was misinformed that he voted not to extend to June 30 the deadline for the SOCEs’ filing. Commissioner Robert Lim, who was in charge of implementing the SOCE rules, recommended that the LP’s request for an extension of the deadline be rejected.

Bautista, however, was only media smart. Yes, he voted for Comelec not to give another deadline. But to consider the SOCEs filed after the deadline as “late filings,” with the tardy parties and candidates punished merely with monetary penalties, was even a more farcical decision: candidates could file their SOCEs three years from now, and it would just be considered “late-filings.”

Other than Bautista and Guanzon, these farcical five include Arthur Lim, Al Parreño, and Sheriff Abas.

Only two commissioners were faithful to their sworn duties: Christian Robert Lim and Luie Tito F. Guia. For some reason, that kind of reminded me of Yahweh’s condition for sparing Sodom, that the city wouldn’t be destroyed and its thousands of people killed if Abraham found 50 righteous people.

I hope two righteous people in the Comelec are enough in this modern age.


This Post Has 34 Comments

  1. Jovelyn Rojas

    What kind of Comelec do we have? Don’t they respect the country’s laws anymore? Those Aquino boys in the Commission should resign for betraying their oath.

  2. Jonard

    To Mr. Tiglao – thank you for your article. There is already a Supreme Court ruling regarding a case of a political candidate from Catanduanes who was unable to file his Certificate of Candidacy within the prescribed time frame and his reasons were : that there was : 1) a brown out and 2) he missed his flight to enable him to file in a timely manner before the deadline set by the COMELEC .

    The Supreme Court ruled that the deadlines set by the COMELEC should be strictly followed and that he can NOT be granted any extensions in filing his Certificate of Candidacy. The Supreme Court added that any “responsible person” should make sure they file all documents with the COMELEC within the prescribed period and should do so BEFORE the deadline to avoid last-minute situations that might bring about problems such as brown outs and missed flights and other flimsy reasons and excuses.

    In the case of the LP they were given 30 days to prepare to file all their voluminous documents – they have all the funds and resources to make this happen but they are just irresponsible in complying with the law and their reason is so flimsy.

    What is worse with the COMELEC Farcical 5 is that they are so swift and fast in granting an extension to the Liberal Party and to Mar Roxas with regards to extending the SOCE Filing – but they were SUPER SLOW in acting on the DISQUALIFICATION CASES of LENI ROBREDO filed on May 2013 – it is now 3 years old and COMELEC just “sat on” these important election offenses cases for the past 3 years – which is still pending until this writing. Leni Robredo VIOLATED Omnibus Election Code SECTION 96 and 98 which is the “soliciting and receiving of FOREIGN-sourced Political Campaign FUNDS” (Section 96) and the NON Declaration /Disclosure/Filing of the ACTUAL NAMES of Political Donors (Section 98) of Leni Robredo in the May 2013 elections when she ran for Congresswoman in Cam Sur. These are SERIOUS Criminal Election Offenses and COMELEC deliberately did NOT act on these cases and people know it is because of the LP /PNoy/Mar/Leni pressuring the COMELEC to just “sit on these cases” . Leni Robredo should NOT even be qualified to run as VP but the COMELEC and LP covered up all these election offenses cases and sat on it to accomodate Mar again to have a VP at the last minute. Leni is a Law Breaker many times over.

    The COMELEC Commissioners who were all appointed by PNoy and who are supposed to be “Daang Matuwid” are the worst LAW BREAKERS and they are proving to be the “Daang Baluktot”.

    Considering all the above plus the fact it is widely known that the LP CHEATED its way to the 2016 elections in cahoots with Smartmatic – most of the LP winners are also “farcical”. We are doubting so much the validity of the “winning LP senatorial, congressional and gubernatorial candidates” in the first place and most likely a great majority of these “winners” are NOT the “real winners” anyway – so WE THE PEOPLE do NOT want all these “LP winners” to “sit down” – contrary to what COMELEC Comm Rowena Guanzon is saying that these winners reflect the “will of the people” – Many people will be sooo happy IF all these LP people will be disqualified with Leni Robredo on top of the list including ALL the LP Senatorial and Congressional winners.

  3. TG

    How do we expect ordinary Filipinos to follow rules and laws if the government officials who made their own rules or laws disobey???????


    The COMELEC is responsible for the SMARTMATIC staff who manipulated the result of the last election. It is even unthinkable to blame the contractor. COMELECas instructed by the LP to let SMARTMATIC manipulated the result. Plain and simple.
    BAUTISTA AND GUANZON putting the blame on the contractor is plain stupid – and they think that Filipinos believe them. And the Senate, the supreme court are plain stupid enough to believe these lies. COMELEC actually let one of the thieves leave the country is adding insult to injury. These are the kind of crooks that Duterte should get rid of. they are doing it in his face.

    1. Juliet kulay blue

      It is time to clean and overhaul the abnoy infested comelec from top to bottom.. make a law prohibits blood related appointee to run in any part of government.

  5. JRT

    The deadline date of submittal of SOCE was not in COMELEC rules to begin with. I know the people who are against the extended deadline of SOCE are frustrated to say the least.
    The mere presentation of expense report can’t be done by a flick of your finger much more to SOCE.
    Whoever set the deadline should be castigated because there is no current rule for SOCE to submitted at any certain date.

  6. Cruel-World

    Walang iba dapat sisihin kundi tayong mga mamayan dahil pinapayagan natin ang mga ganitong pag sala-ula sa atin. May kasabihan “No one can hurt you without your consent.” Eto ang sinasamantala ng mga namumuno sa atin yung pagiging complacent natin. Itanim natin sa isip natin ang ganito “don’t give Satan an inch for he go for a mile.” Kaya dapat tayong mapag-matyag at mapanuri at mag reklamo agad para ma bigyan agad ng pansin ng kina-uukulan at pag di sila kumilos di tayong lahat ang kumilos para sa ikabubuti ng lahat.

    1. Juliet kulay blue

      walang rally against na pro SOCE extension.Kahit isang bayaran ay walang nag pi piket sa harap ng comelec,that means people don’t care,kasi ay galing sa daya ang panalo ng mga lapiang Pork

  7. Cruel-World

    Walang iba dapat sisihin kundi tayong mga mamayan dahil pinapayan natin ang mga ganitong pag sala-ula sa atin. May kasabihan “No one can hurt you without your consent.” Eto ang sinasamantala ng mga namumuno sa atin yung pagiging complacent natin. Itanim natin sa isip natin ang ganito “don’t give Satan an inch for he go for a mile.” Kaya dapat tayong mapag-matyag at mapanuri at mag reklamo agad para ma bigyan agad ng pansin ng kina-uukulan at pag di sila kumilos di tayong lahat ang kumilos para sa ikabubuti ng lahat.

  8. j.basmayor

    These are the most outstanding prefects of Pontius Pilate against “Juan del Cruz” and now they’re “point-scoring” against each other to dodge the bullets going on their direction! Is the election actually the “will of the people” or “will of the COMELEC”?

  9. boyet m.

    I told already many times that in the Philippines, we have now 2 interpretation of laws. One for the LP / KKK and one for the others. Existing laws can always be interpreted in their favor. Kung ayaw nyo manigas kayo.

  10. susan day

    oh! i thot Mr. Bautista did not agree.

    would they? i dont think they have the conscience or sufficient shame to do that if they voted against their rules.

    can we go to the SC to nullify their decision for grave abuse of discretion?

  11. Celez

    I am also a Filipino.. But I am sick of these “FILIPINO CRAP MENTALITY”

    They are playing the law.

    MUST STOP!… go DU30 go….

  12. Ramon

    I am praying for your safety because you are risking your lives exposing anomalies in the government perpetuated no less by the siting President now, Benigno C. Aquino III, who is determined to do away with the constitution by hook or by crook — including your possible murder.

  13. filpro

    well said… ano pa ba ang bago? pera2x lang yan. mga UL*L ang 5 commissioners na ito.

  14. Paul

    kung lagi balik balikan ang maling ginawa sa mga nakaraan at kung un p rin ang basehan ng gagawing desisyon kahit kailan walang mangyayaring pagbabago
    They are the law maker and law breaket at tge same time
    Linoloko lang nila ang sarili nila.,,

  15. nimrod

    Impeach them for violation of public trust and treason …..

  16. ferdinand naboye

    it is very obvious that they are circumventing the law

  17. Atoy

    I hope Du30, Congress n senate will start impeachment against those dishonorable comelec and SC justices in their first few days inoffice.

  18. Butch

    We Filipinos must be STUPID! Here is this 5 Comelec commissioners breaking their own laws and we take it sitting down. Yet, The camp of Bong Bong Marcos just want some clarification on what happened and why the machine had to be opened. The idiot Bautista who happenes to be a cousin of Abnoy wont even reply. Why? They know that by doing so they will open a pandoras l box. This is clear enough evidence that there was rampant CHEATING!!!! I sincerely hope our President D30 will do something about this anomaly and gets rid of these corrupt clowns. God Bless the Philippines.

  19. Kapitan Kidlat

    Kaya hindi pede mga babae ilagay sa puwesto…
    puro sakit sa ulo lang aabutin nyo…
    sabi nga” What boys can do, girls can do better”….hahaa!!!!

  20. aris

    If the will of the people ang pinapairal bkit pinadisqualify nyo si gov e.r ejercito due to over spending lng ng kampanya.. If thats the rule. Sya ay binoto ng mga laguna. Nag file sya ng Soce.Its bcoz he is not LP.kaya pwde disqualify agad no ruling on the will of the people. Ngaun nga LP na un nasa hot seat. Pde na gamitin un rule of the people over rule of law

  21. joey

    It is either the comelec reconsider or vote again against the accepting of late filing or resign due to their failure to implement the rule of law or else be impeach.. The elected official has the mandate of it’s constituent but the constituent did not elect them to break the law!

    1. P.Akialamiro

      At best, the commissioners should resign; at worst, they should be impeached! Shame on them!

  22. Corrie

    Unfortunately, there are still a number of us Filipinos who are bound by colonial mentality but this time looking up to the elite of this country. They are some of us who wish to be numbered among the rich and powerful, never mind that it’s pure social climbing. They are those who worship the road traveled by the elite, that to them by mere mien no way the latter can be unscrupulous. And now, the lackeys of the elite in the COMELEC can just break the rules unctuously, in complete disregard of the sensibilities of the plebs. Regardless of party affiliations, it will do this nation good if we can at least be honest for our own sakes.

  23. Ric Brazil

    Abraham actually succeeded in bargaining with the Lord to a lower number of good people to ten for Him to spare destroying Sodom. As Ed pointed correctly, the Lord allowed Lot’s family to scape to safety and rained Sodom with sulfur just the same. Two good commissioners in Comelec would then, not be able to prevent its annihilation.

  24. Zak Pasiking

    There was a similarity happened in the Bible.

    And the Lord God Commanded the man, “you are free o eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Gen. 2:16 17.

    But Serpent twisted and he said to the woman,” Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the Garden?” You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened , and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Gen. 3:1b 4,5.

    COMELEC RULE: ““The 08 June 2016 deadline shall be final and non-extendible. Submission beyond this period shall not be accepted.” (Comelec Resolution No. 9991)”

    But the serpent commissioner, twisted the rule.

    Are these Serpent COMMISSIONERS can show their faces honestly to their family that they did not follow their own law or brag themselves for twisting the law? Serpent COMMISSIONERS, consequence is awaiting on you…!Shame on you…..!

  25. ernie del rosario

    Alleluia IF (IF,IF,IF…) they resign. But they won’t, ever ! So the move shd be for their fast-tracked impeachment (a la Ombudsman Guitierrez) and conviction within 3 months max from July 1. They should be out before the October synchronized ARMM and ConCon elections otherwise we will again have a farcical election similar with the 2010. 2013 and 2016 elections and a disrupted plan to switch to Federalism. But also review the other Lim’s performance. He might have some matters to answer for in relation with the automated elections. Then that leaves just one – Comm Luie Guia.

  26. P.Akialamiro

    What do you expect from the “Ommission on Connection” (Commission on Election)? We live in a government by ‘selection”; meaning, the government will apply the law on selection basis!

    Abolish the rules; abolish the positions; banish the “omissioners”; and, you are avoiding major corruptions.

    May God bless the Philippines.

  27. Gerry

    There’s only one question to asked to Comelec. “Why did they approve the questioned resolution?” Let’s see what will be their answer.

  28. Ed

    But still Lot and family were ordered to get our of Sodom and God still destroyed it. So Comelec being transgressors of the laws, was used and bended for selective hospitality to LP leaving the entire nation despondent and helpless. We are at this digital age yet people in Comelec relived their darkest crass like the Pharisees to Jesus and Barabas.. Let us watched how Guanzon, Bautista and company will be accorded with their own Sodom and Gomorrah for their impunity of appropriating laws according to their biases or incredible weakness or for selling their souls for thirty pieces of silver. We are in the sorrowful mysteries again and again.

  29. dave diwa

    Namumuro na yang si Guanzon… Nakaka-irita ka na… Wala ka lagi sa tamang hulog…

  30. Guadalupe

    Very good reasoning and argument for the firing of the farcical five including this balimbing Bautista.

    1. fyi

      That’s the Liberal Party pattern

      Protect each other regardless of the law, Can always count on a Aquino appointee to do what they are told.

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