De Lima: Maybe what Cusi-led faction really wants is no-election scenario
MANILA, Philippines — A no-election scenario in May 2022 might really be the goal of the PDP-Laban party under Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi when they filed a petition seeking to reopen the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs), detained Senator Leila de Lima claimed on Monday.
In a hand-written note, De Lima explained that the Cusi faction’s petition before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) not only wants to reopen the filing of COCs, but also to defer the printing of the ballots before all disqualification petitions are settled.
What this would do, the Senator hypothesized, is that no ballots would be printed in time for the upcoming May 9, 2022 elections — especially as most disqualification petitions are resolved after elections, and opening the filing of COCs would give way to another “slew of petitions”.
“The petition uses as an excuse the pending petitions for the disqualification of Marcos, Jr. as well as the appeals for accreditation of party list groups. The Cusi petition claims that until all these cases are resolved, Comelec should not print ballots for the 2022 Elections, and thus it should open the period for filing COCs again,” De Lima said.
“Taken to the extreme, if COMELEC has to wait for all disqualification and accreditation cases to reach final judgment, no ballots will ever be printed on time for election day. This is because most of these cases usually remain unsettled beyond election day […] Is Cusi saying we should as well wait for all those cases to be resolved, ad infinitum?” she asked.
Due to this possibility, De Lima claimed that this may have been the plan all along — to defer the elections itself.
“Maybe this is what the Cusi Wing wants all along, for elections to be postponed indefinitely until they get their act together. The holding of constitutionally-mandated elections cannot be left to the inability of any political party to field standard bearers on time,” De Lima asserted.
“That would be subjecting democratic elections to the whims and caprices of incompetent party leadership. Cusi and the leadership of PDP-Laban have no one else to blame but themselves. The whole country and its democratic exercises should not bear to suffer the failings of this so-called party of the majority,” she added.
Earlier, Cusi said in a statement that naysayers should let Comelec decide on the issue they raised, noting that it is well within PDP-Laban’s right as a national party to file petitions based on legal arguments.
According to Cusi, the “petition is based on a constitutional precept on the exercise of suffrage.”
However, De Lima was not alone in thinking that a no-election scenario is the endgame for the Cusi-faction’s petition: senatorial candidate Lutgardo Barbo, the vice chairperson of the other PDP-Laban faction under Senators Koko Pimentel and Manny Pacquiao, also believes that the petition is only a selfish ploy for the other PDP-Laban wing.
But aside from a no-election scenario, De Lima also blasted the ruling party for seemingly feeling privileged enough to actually ask Comelec to bend their rules.
“The petition of the PDP Laban-Cusi Wing to open anew the period for filing COCs reeks of privilege,” she said.
“The so-called dominant majority party, but without standard bearer candidates for President and Vice President, is basically asking for the exclusive privilege to be exempted from the deadline for filing COCs, after all candidates serious enough to run for election in 2022 have dutifully filed their COCs within the deadline set by the COMELEC. There should be no exemptions from this deadline, not even for the party of the President,” she added.
PDP-Laban is without a standard bearer in the 2022 presidential race, after Senator Ronald dela Rosa and eventually Senator Bong Go backed out from their respective presidential bids.
However, Cusi remained adamant that the party will remain strong due to the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte.
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