MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – The Supreme Court (SC) stopped the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from implementing its controversial money ban on Friday, May 10, after bankers made this request before the high court.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, upon the recommendation of the justice to whom the case was assigned, issued a status quo ante order preventing the poll body from enforcing Comelec Resolution No. 9688, which limits cash withdrawals to P100,000 from May 8 to May 13, the election day.
In a press conference, SC spokesman Ted Te said the status quo ante order means the Comelec should follow rules that prevailed before the money ban was implemented.
The SC also required Comelec to file a comment on the petition within 10 days.
Bankers on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to stop the Comelec from implementing the money ban, with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) saying it is reluctant to implement this rule.
Even President Benigno Aquino III criticized the resolution, saying he has not given his concurrence for the Comelec to implement this rule. The Constitution requires the President’s concurrence before the Comelec can deputize the BSP.
Previously, the Chamber of Thrift Banks, a group of smaller banks mostly operating in the provinces, also said the Comelec order disrupts their service to their niche clients of small and medium enterprises.
“Hindi ko sinasabing makakapigil ha; ang sinasabi ko makaka-minimize ng vote buying. Kung mas konti ang perang umiikot, mas konti ang vote buying,” said Brillantes, a veteran election lawyer who said his background helps him craft rules like this. (I’m not saying it can prevent it; what I’m saying is, it can minimize vote buying. If little money circulates, then we can minimize vote buying.) – Purple Romero, Paterno Esmaquel II/Rappler.com