MANILA (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo Duterte’s political party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), filed on Thursday with the Supreme Court (SC) a petition that seeks to nullify and revoke the extension of deadline for the filing of Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
The 23-page petition for certiorari was filed by election lawyer George Erwin Garcia on behalf of incoming House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
PDP-Laban assailed Comelec Resolution No. 10147, which allowed the extension to June 30, 2016 from the original schedule of June 8, 2016, for “violating the non-extendible deadline for filing of SOCEs mandated by Section 14 of Republic Act (RA) No. 7166 (An Act Providing for Synchronized National and Local Elections and for Electoral Reforms).”
PDP-Laban accused the poll body of grave abuse of discretion in passing the resolution, stressing that under the cited provision in RA No. 7166, the thirty-day deadline for the filing of SOCEs which begins a day after the elections, is “clearly and unarguably mandatory and non-extendible.”
PDP-Laban said the Comelec exceeded its rule-making power and did not have any authority from Congress to amend the provision of the said law.
“[A] reading of Section 14 of RA No. 7166 would easily reveal that there is no delegated authority from Congress for Comelec en banc to fix the period to file SOCEs,” the petition read.
PDP-Laban cited and adopted no less than Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim’s dissenting opinion that the extension was an “accommodation in favor of the Liberal Party (LP),” which made the plea.
LP is the political party of Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III.
Lim resigned as head of the Comelec Campaign Finance Office (CFO) because of the extension grant.
“This is wrong. Comelec en banc should not tolerate much less accommodate the whims and caprices of the LP. As a regulatory body, Comelec en banc’s primordial consideration is to implement the mandate of the law,” the petition read.
An earlier petition assailing the extension of the deadline for filing of SOCEs, filed by 1-Abilidad Party-list, was dismissed by the high court due to mere technicalities, such as non-submission of an original or certified true copy of the assailed Comelec resolution. (MNS)