SC junks petition vs extension of Soce filing

MANILA -- The Supreme Court (SC) dismissed Tuesday the petition seeking to nullify the resolution of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that approved the extension on the deadline of the filing of the statement of contributions and expenditures (Soce) in the May 9 polls.

In an en banc session on Tuesday, SC dismissed the petition for certiorari with application for a status quo ante order filed by loosing partylist group 1-Abilidad first nominee lawyer Manuelito Luna and retired Army Colonel Justino Padiernos of the People's Freedom Party to void the poll body's resolution dated June 17.

"The Court resolves to dismiss the petition for failure to comply with the requirements of the Rules of the Court. Notably, petitioners failed to attach a duplicate original or certified true copy of the resolution along with the requisite number of copies required," read the decision.

SC spokesperson Theodore Te said that the petitioners, instead of submitting the original copy of the Comelec resolution, attached news reports in the petition filed before the SC last Monday, June 20.

"Petitioners merely submitted mere reports in lieu of the required copy of the assailed Resolution. As petitioners failed to state the exact date of promulgation of the assailed Resolution, the averments regarding the timeliness of the Petition are also defective," the Court said.

Section 5, Rule 64 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure states that the failure of a party to comply with the requirements provided by the Court shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition.

The magistrates then reminded all the petitioners that the "Court cannot act upon a petition for certiorari that does not contain the assailed issuances and wholly relies upon printed news accounts."

"In sum, the failure of the instant petition to comply with these basic requirements constitutes sufficient reason for dismissal," the Court added.

According to Te, the petitioners can still refile their petition and comply to the rules of the SC.

"They can still comply," Te said.

The partylist group last week filed a petition that would stop the implementation of the Comelec's decision to extend filling of Soce from the June 8 "non-extendable" deadline to June 30.

Petitioner Luna said that the Comelec's ruling finds no basis in the law. The petitioners also stated that the Comelec gravely abuse discretion when it extended the statutorily imposed deadline of filing.

"As an administrative agency the commission is duty-bound that to strictly enforced the provisions of Sec, 14 RA 7166 and any election laws for that matter. It is constitutionally and statutorily mandated to enforce and administer all election laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative referendum and recall," the petition reads.

Comelec however said that its decision to grant Liberal Party's request is backed by laws and precedent.

It also added that vote of the people during the May 9 elections may be disenfranchised if the poll body chooses not to accept the late SOCEs, including that of the LP and its standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II. (Sunnex)

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