SC stops Guanzon’s party-list substitution bid

June 29, 2022 Hector Lawas 229 views

THE Supreme Court (SC) has issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from issuing a Certificate of Proclamation to the substituting nominees of the P3PWD Party List led by former poll body commissioner Ma. Rowena Amelia V. Guanzon.

This, as the Comelec issued a statement saying that it will comply with the high court’s TRO and to file its comment on the petition of the Duterte Youth against Guanzon.

“It is to confirm the receipt of the Temporary Restraining Order issued by the Honorable Supreme Court in GR No. 261123 “Duterte Youth vs. the COMELEC, the House of Representatives and P3PWD Party List”. The Clerk of the Commission received our copy this afternoon. ”

“As always, COMELEC will comply with the TRO and its directive to file Comment. We will seek representation of the OSG as a matter of procedure,” Comelec acting spokesperson Atty. John Rex Laudiangco.

Last week, the Duterte Youth party-list filed a petition before the SC questioning the substitution of Guanzon as P3PWD party-list nominee.

Represented by Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, Duterte Youth Party-List Rep. Marie Cardema and National Youth Commission Chairman Ronald Cardema also asked the high court to issue a TRO and/or preliminary injunction directing the (a) respondent Comelec to refrain from issuing a Certificate of Proclamation to the substituting nominees led by Ma. Rowena Amelia V. Guanzon and;

(b) Respondent House of Representatives to refrain from allowing Guanzon and substituting nominees to assume the office of Member of the House of Representatives during the pendency of this instant petition.

According to the Cardema couple, the SC should annul the resolution of the respondent COMELEC approving the substitution of P3PWD’s nominees for having issued in grave abuse of discretion.

They added that P3PWD Party-List filed its new substitution documents way beyond the Comelec Substitution Deadline of November 15, 2021 (in cases of voluntary withdrawal), and beyond the added Comelec Substitution Deadline of May 9, 2022 (Election Day) in rare cases of death or incapacity.

“Comelec cannot violate its own rules specially for a group who pre-planned this mockery of the Comelec Deadline Rules,” the Cardemas said.

They continued that giving due course to the P3PWD substitution was not only a violation of the Comelec Deadline Rule, but will in fact be a violation of Republic Act No. 3019 (The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and of RA 6713 (The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees).

“The two legal hallmarks against graft, corruption, & abuse of public offices are very clear on the prohibited acts for public officials including recently retired public officials, RA 6713 Section 7. Prohibited Acts & Transactions, states that “Public Officials shall not have direct or indirect material interest in any transaction requiring approval of their office. These prohibitions shall apply for a period of one (1) year after resignation, retirement, or separation from public office,” they said.

The filing of the Duterte Youth complaint stemmed from a Comelec decision, in a majority vote last June 15, allowing Guanzon to sit as the new first nominee of winning party-list group P3PWD.

Laudiangco said the Comelec en banc has decided to “give due course” to the P3PWD’s new list of nominees.

The poll body granted the request of P3PWD’s five original nominees to withdraw their certificates of nomination, and gave due course to a new list of nominees led by Guanzon.

“The above-mentioned legal hallmarks of the government against graft and corruption and abuse of public offices are enough valid reasons why petitioning new first nominee, Rowena Amelia V. Guanzon, should be stopped by the Supreme Court to substitute, or else such Comelec decision will immediately contribute to the violation of these strict laws on graft and corruption,” Atty. Topacio, for his part, said.