COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rene Sarmiento told reporters Friday that the schedule of the printing of ballots may still be adjusted due to the delay in decisions concerning disqualification cases.

“There might be an adjustment on the date on the printing of the ballots because we have to cleanse the list of candidates, of those who qualified,” said Sarmiento.

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The Comelec official however assured that the commissioners are fast tracking the resolutions on disqualification cases pending before the poll body since this might affect the schedule of ballot printing.

The poll body has earlier announced the printing of ballots will start on January 25.

Sarmiento added that Comelec chairman Jose Melo already reminded the first and second division to work double time on the cases assigned to them.

In the first division where Sarmiento belongs, cases still pending include petitions to disqualify presidential bets Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Manny Villar, Gilbert Teodoro, vice-presidentiable Mar Roxas, and senatoriables Sergio Osmena III and Franklin Drilon.

On Erap's disqualification

The Comelec official also cleared that while a motion for reconsideration for Joseph "Erap" Estrada's disqualification is still pending, Estrada's name will still be included in the ballot.

The second division of the poll body on Wednesday denied the disqualification cases filed against the former President.

In the motion for reconsideration, lawyer Evillo Pormento argued that the second division interpreted Article VII Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution wrongly stating that: "The President shall not be eligible for any re-election."

Pormento further said the commission should re-visit the Journal of the 1986 Constitutional Commission and read the deliberations of the Constitutional Commissioners on the particular law.

The lawyer also contested the statement of the second division that they leave it up to the Filipino people to judge the qualifications of Estrada for President through their votes.

“But by leaving the matter of choosing the next president, regardless of his qualifications and/or disqualifications, to the will of the Filipino people, the Comelec second division has washed its hands like the biblical Pontius Pilate", Pormento said in his 18-page petition. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)