DQ’d bet hales Comelec to SC
Lawyer Apolonia Comia-Soguilon has asked the Supreme Court to compel the Commission on Elections to recognize her as the valid substitute of deceased presidential candidate Roy Señeres.
In a 16-page petition filed with the high court on Tuesday, Soguilon, standard bearer of the Partido ng Manggagawa at Magsasaka-Workers and Peasants Party (PMM-WPP), together with party secretary general Melchor Chavez, said the Comelec violated the law when it disallowed her to substitute for Señeres, who died last Feb. 8.
Soguilon and Chavez asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order and a preliminary writ of mandamus compelling Comelec to include her in the list of official candidates and to include her name in the official ballots currently being printed.
Comelec began the printing the ballots last Feb. 15.
Soguilon said she was only verbally informed by Comelec chair Andres Bautista about the decision to disallow her substitution and has yet to receive a copy of the ruling.
In the petition, Soguilon and Chavez said the high court should declare null and void several provisions in Comelec Resolution No. 9984, issued Aug. 18, 2015, which listed rules on party conventions, nominations and filing of certificates of candidacies (COC).
Section 19 of the resolution prohibits the substitution for any independent candidate and provides that the substitute of a candidate who died or was disqualified by final judgment may file a COC up to mid-day of Election Day, provided that the substitute and the substituted have the same surnames.
In an interview, Soguilon argued that the resolution was a mere internal rule of Comelec that should not contravene the Omnibus Election Code, in particular Section 77, which provides that when a candidate dies, withdraws or is disqualified, he or she may only be replaced by a person belonging to and certified by the same political party to which the deceased or former candidate belonged.
The resolution, she added, illegally amended or extended the substitution provision of the Omnibus Election Code, which Congress had enacted.
Thus, Soguilon said the Comelec committed grave abuse of jurisdiction tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction in promulgating its resolution.
Three days before he died, Seneres submitted a statement withdrawing his candidacy for health reasons, but because it was not submitted in person, the Comelec did not immediately approve it.
Señeres’ family later submitted a manifestation before the poll body stating that the late congressman had expressed no desire to be substituted nor stated that he would be endorsing another candidate.
Soguilon, however, said it was not up to the family but to the party to nominate a substitute.
“[We] respectfully submit that the one who has or which has the prerogative to nominate a substitute for an official candidate who died is the political party which nominated him, and not the family members of the deceased nor the Comelec. In this case, the late Seneres [was] not a disqualified candidate; hence, he can be substituted by petitioner who has all the qualifications required by the Comelec,” she added.
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