Comelec urged to ban entertainment portion, celebs in 2022 poll campaigns

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) Second Division has denied the motion to recall its order extending the deadline granted to former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to answer the petition that seeks to cancel his candidacy for president.

In its decision promulgated on Tuesday but made available to the media on Thursday, the Second Division noted that the Comelec “has the authority to suspend the reglementary period provided by the rules in the interest of justice and speedy resolution of the cases before it.”

“Under this authority, the Commission is similarly enabled to cope with all situations without concerning itself about procedural niceties that do not square with the need to do justice, in any case without further loss of time, provided that the right of the parties to a full day in court is not substantially impaired,” the decision read.

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Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. files his certificate of candidacy (COC) for president last October 6, 2021, at the Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent in Pasay City. ( Fernandez)

“In view of the foregoing, the Commission (Second Division) hereby resolves to deny the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners,” the decision read.

On November 18, the Comelec’s Second Division granted Marcos’ appeal for another five days from November 17 to submit his reply to the petition that seeks to cancel his certificate of candidacy.

The deadline for Marcos’ camp to reply to the petition filed on November 2 was originally on November 16, as indicated in the summons issued by the Comelec.

The petitioners, however, cited Section 4 (6) of Rule 23 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure, as amended by Comelec Resolution No. 9523, which provides for no ground for any extension of time for filing an answer.

The petitioners also stated that the November 18 order of Comelec did not extend anything as the period for filing a verified answer had already lapsed on November 16.

But in its latest decision, the Comelec said that under Section 4, Rule 1 of the 1993 Comelec Rules of Procedure, the Commission has the power to suspend its rules.

The said section states that: “In the interest of justice and in order to obtain speedy disposition of all matters pending before the Commission, these rules or any portion thereof may be suspended by the Commission.”

“It is worth stressing that a case is best decided when all contending parties are able to ventilate their respective claims, present their arguments and adduce evidence in support thereof. The parties are thus given the chance to be heard fully and the demands of due process are subserved,” the Second Division said.

“Verily, in the exercise of its power to suspend its rule under the provisions of Rule 1, Section 4 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure, in the interest of justice and the significance of the case at hand, the Commission (Second Division) deems it proper to allow both parties to be heard. Thus the instant Motion is denied,” the division added.

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