Comelec at a loss over seniors party
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday said it was not its intention to ignore the Supreme Court order asking it to proclaim the two nominees of the Coalition of Association of Senior Citizens Inc.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillates said the poll body had tried its best to adhere to the high court ruling but that it could not get any cooperation from the two rival factions of the party-list group.
“We followed the SC order. We reviewed the two factions but they refused to cooperate,” he said.
The high court last July reversed a Comelec decision disqualifying the Senior Citizens party-list from participating in the elections last May, for allegedly violating numerous violations of elections rules and its own by-laws.
Last Monday, the poll body issued a resolution saying it could not comply with the high court’s order to proclaim two nominees of the Senior Citizens group because of an unresolved dispute within the group.
It said it was leaving the matter of determining the party list’s members and officers to the regional trial court (RTC).
The two factions of the Senior Citizens party list have separately named Godofredo Arquiza and Francisco Datol Jr. as the group’s first nominee.
The Comelec said it had attempted several times to have the two factions reconcile and arrive at a settlement regarding their authority and responsibilities, if only to allow the Senior Citizens group to have representation in the House.
“Unfortunately, the commission’s call for reconciliation fell on deaf ears,” the Comelec said.
Brillantes said the poll body will just let the regional trial court resolve the party-list group’s leadership issue.
“We don’t think the SC will determine which the legitimate faction is because it is not a trier of facts. Most likely, they will also refer it to the RTC,” he said.
Brillantes said that as soon as it is determined which is the legitimate faction, the Comelec will have no problem proclaiming their nominees.
Arquiza has asked the high court to cite the Comelec in contempt “because they blatantly and contemptuously defied” the high tribunal’s order.
The Senior Citizens group obtained 677,642 votes in the May elections, entitling it to two seats in the House of Representatives.