2022 Philippine Elections

Comelec rejects PDP-Laban’s request to reopen COC filing for 2022 polls

Dwight de Leon
Comelec rejects PDP-Laban’s request to reopen COC filing for 2022 polls

FILE PHOTO. President Rodrigo Duterte is joined by PDP-Laban stalwarts Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and Senator Christopher u201cBongu201d during the ceremonial switch-on to signify the power connectivity of the whole Mindoro province to the main grid of the National Power Corporationu2019s Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro Interconnection Transmission Lines in Calapan City on November 18, 2021. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The poll body unanimously junks the ruling party's plea on the grounds that the arguments it presented were not meritorious

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) threw out a petition filed by a faction of ruling party PDP-Laban to reopen the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) and postpone the printing of ballots for the 2022 polls.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the group’s appeal was dismissed unanimously by the en banc on the grounds that the arguments were not meritorious.

For example, the PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi had argued that the ballots cannot be printed yet anyway, due to the pending cases before the Comelec.

But Jimenez said that was a “wrong assertion.”

“This is not the first time we will be going to print [the ballots] with pending disqualification cases. The fact that there are pending disqualification cases has never been a reason for suspending the start of printing ballots,” Jimenez said.

Former senator and ousted dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., in particular, is facing at least five still unresolved petitions against his 2022 presidential bid. The new target date for the printing of ballots is January 17, Jimenez noted.

The poll spokesman also asserted that the one-week period the Comelec set in October 2021 for national and local aspirants to file their candidacy papers is not arbitrary.

“The allegation does not take into consideration other preparatory activities being conducted by the Comelec,” Jimenez said.

In arguing to reopen the COC filing, the Cusi wing had cited outdated provisions of election laws. It mentioned Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 and Republic Act No. 7166, which would have allowed aspirants to file their candidacy papers until the day before the start of the campaign period. It also cited RA 8436, which set the COC filing deadline not later than 120 days before the elections.

RA 9369, however, already amended Section 11 of RA No. 9346, so that the Comelec has the power to set the deadline for the filing of COCs in the elections.

The Cusi faction of PDP-Laban had initially fielded Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa as its standard bearer on October 8, but the former drug war architect withdrew his candidacy on November 13.

As the period for substitution due to voluntary withdrawal lapsed also in November, the Cusi wing had told Comelec it had only two days to “remedy the political vacuum” created by Dela Rosa’s decision to drop out from the race.

The campaign period for national elective posts in the 2022 pols begins on February 8. – Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.