MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) came out in full force on Monday, January 11, as it decided to file a new comment on a petition filed by presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe before the Supreme Court (SC).
In an interview with reporters, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said all Comelec members signed the new comment, which was filed Monday afternoon.
Jimenez said it is important that all 7 Comelec members – the chairman and the 6 commissioners – signed the second comment.
This is unlike the first one that was signed only by Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon.
Referring to the second comment, Jimenez said, “It’s an act of the commission en banc and the 7 signatures will reflect that character.”
The Comelec spokesman added, “When the document is signed by all 7, it is considered very clearly, without question, an act of the en banc.”
This is the second of two comments that the Comelec is supposed to file before the SC on petitions lodged by Poe against the poll body.
Guanzon filed the first one before the SC on Thursday, January 7.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista later questioned Guanzon for filing such an “unauthorized” comment.
This prompted Guanzon to strike back and question Bautista for “showing partisanship” in addressing Poe’s petitions before the SC.
Jimenez said the Comelec is still deliberating on its moves regarding the comment filed by Guanzon.
'No grave abuse of discretion'
In its new comment, the Comelec said it did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it ruled against Poe.
"An essential ingredient of orderly and credible elections is for Comelec to ensure the candidates for public office comply with eligibility requirements mandated by the Constitution, without fear or favor," the poll body said.
"In order to succeed, the petitioner [Poe] has to manifestly show before the Honorable Court that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it promulgated its 23 December 2015 resolution."
The Comelec also maintained that Poe is ineligible to run for president, and deliberately misrepresented herself in her certificate of candidacy (COC).
"There is substantial evidence on record pointing to petitioner's deliberate and false material representation in her COC as to her citizenship and residency," read the comment.
Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.