Macalintal to Comelec: Don’t accept Lim’s resignation
Accepting the resignation of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Christian Robert Lim would set a “very bad precedent” for the succeeding decisions of the Comelec en banc, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said on Tuesday.
Lim offered to leave his post as the poll body’s campaign finance office head after majority of the Comelec en banc recently decided to grant the request of the Liberal Party and defeated presidential candidate Mar Roxas to extend for 14 days the filing of the statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE).
Lim said the policy shift was unacceptable for him.
Macalintal, chief legal counsel of LP member and Vice President-elect Leni Robredo, said the Comelec en banc should reject Lim’s resignation.
“To allow Lim to resign from said post will set a very bad precedent in that anytime an action of a Comelec official is not approved by the Comelec en banc, he or she could just leave his assigned duties and responsibilities,” Macalintal said in a statement.
“If that would be the policy, then Comelec officials might as well resign every time the Supreme Court junks or reverses Comelec’s decisions,” he said.
“And there were lots of them in the past and we never heard of any resignation by any of the Comelec officials who rendered said decisions,” the veteran lawyer added.
He said Lim, who recommended as Comelec’s finance office head to junk LP’s request for extension, should not be so thin-skinned if the action of his office was not approved by the en banc.
“His hurt could always be assuaged with the balm of a clear conscience,” Macalintal said.
Aside from Lim, Comelec chairman Andres Bautista himself and another senior Commissioner Luie Guia voted against the extension.
Commissioners Rowena Guanzon, Albert Lim, Al Parreño, and Sheriff Abas voted in favor of the extension.
Had the Comelec thumbed down LP’s request, the winning candidates of the erstwhile ruling party, including Robredo, would not be able to assume their positions.
According to Macalintal, Lim recommended during the May 2013 elections the admission of SOCEs which were filed beyond the deadline. The Comelec en banc approved his recommendation.
“Now Lim did not want any ‘extension’ because ‘it would be unfair to other parties who complied within the prescribed period and would be a reversal of the commission’s own resolution on the matter,'” he said.
He said Lim was referring to Section 2, Rule 10 of Comelec Resolution No. 991 which provides that the “June 8, 2016 deadline (to file SOCE) shall be final and non-extendible and submission beyond this deadline shall not be allowed.”
“But the absurdity of not allowing the submission of SOCE beyond the deadline is so obvious because all losing candidates may not just file their SOCEs and would just pay a fine ranging from P1,000 to P30,000 and thereafter be exempt from being investigated by the Comelec since they are no longer allowed to file their SOCEs. If this is not clear absurdity of such rule then what is,” he said.
The seasoned poll lawyer added that Bautista had the “most logical and legal” position on the issue—to allow the late filing of SOCE but with fine as provided for by law.
“Hence, those who were not able to file their SOCE on time should still be required to file the same and pay the fine required by law to prevent the absurd if not ridiculous rule of not admitting SOCE beyond the deadline as explained above,” he said. TVJ/rga
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