Ochoa, Comelec face suit over ARMM poll postponement
MANILA, Philippines — The Partido Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP) has announced its plan to file a case against Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa and the Commission on Elections as soon as the bill postponing this year’s Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections is signed into law.
“The moment it [bill] is signed, we will sue the Executive Secretary and we will sue the Comelec,” PDP executive director JV Bautista said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Bautista said Ochoa would be named as respondent to the case, being the implementor of the law while the Comelec would also be included as a “nominal party” to the case.
“Because when there’s a law the Executive is the implementor of the law. We can’t sue the President since he is immune from lawsuits,” he said.
In the case of the Comelec, Bautista said it has to be included as a party to the case “so that the Supreme Court can compel them to proceed with the ARMM elections this year.”
But before they could file the case in the Supreme Court, Bautista said President Benigno Aquino III should first sign the bill into the law. After all, he said, the bill was certified as urgent by Malacanang.
“It was certified because it’s not an ordinary bill and yet when the bill was passed, they dont want to sign it because apparently there’s a tactic here that they are trying to observe…Apparently, the intention is to allow the bill to pass into a law without the President signing it,” he said.
And despite Malacanang’s statement that the President would sign the bill on June 30, Bautista stressed the group’s position that the presidential action on the bill should not be delayed because the issues were “urgent” “paramount,” which would need to be resolved by the Supreme Court.
In the case that they would file, Bautista said the PDP would question the constitutionality of postponing the ARMM polls scheduled in August this year and synchronize it with the 2013 national elections.
Instead of postponing the ARMM elections to 2013, Bautista said their group would ask the court to hold the elections on the second Monday of September this year in accordance to the Organic Act of ARMM.
“The August 8 is the date fixed by Republic Act 9333. However, the position of the party is that 9333 is itself iviolative of the Organic Act of ARMM and is therefore, illegal and unconstitutional,” he said.
Bautista said the PDP would also question the legality of allowing the President to appoint the officers-in-charge of the ARMM in case the election would be postponed to 2013.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.