MANILA, Philippines – Presidential candidate and Partido Lakas ng Masa bet Leody de Guzman admitted that there were lapses over the campaign permit issue that inconvenienced their launch on Tuesday, February 8.
De Guzman, during the Pandesal Forum on Wednesday, said the permit from the local government caused the delay in their Commission on Elections (Comelec)-issued permit.
“Definitely mayroong lapses doon. Ang problem doon, dahil sa dami ng requirements na hinihingi ng Comelec. Sa kuwento ng Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) na nag-ayos, nag-require ng permit din sa local government at ‘yong nai-file sa local government ay nakabara doon sa pagpa-file ng permit naman sa Comelec kasi kailangan i-attach daw ‘yon,” the labor leader said.
(Definitely there are lapses there. The problem is the Comelec’s other requirements. According to the representative of the PLM responsible for getting the permit, the local government also required a permit and that permit caused the delay for the filing of the Comelec permit.)
Hours before De Guzman and running mate Walden Bello’s campaign launch on Tuesday, the Comelec announced that the tandem had no permit to hold their campaign rally scheduled at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani. Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said they received a report from the Comelec Metro Manila office that De Guzman did not secure a permit for their event.
Despite delays, De Guzman’s campaign launch pushed through. Afterwards, De Guzman, in an ambush interview, clarified that they already submitted their request for a permit to the Comelec on February 6.
“Merong mga gano’n nga pero nagpasa na, February 6 pa ata (Yes, we have those issues but we already requested a permit, I think we filed it on February 6),” the labor leader said.
During the Comelec briefing on Tuesday, Director Lai David said pushing through a rally without Comelec permit is an election offense: “Definitely, it is an election offense because the requirement is they need to seek a permit first before conducting a campaign. So yes, it is an election offense.”
Under Comelec Resolution No. 10732, any person proven guilty of an election offense can be imprisoned for not less than a year, but not more than six years. The resolution also states that the “guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage.”
Despite their request, the De Guzman camp never got a permit for their Tuesday launch. As part of the rule, the Comelec will take time to process a request for a permit. – With a report from Dwight De Leon/ Rappler.com