MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A "Duterte-inspired" group filed a petition before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to strike out all campaign spending reports that were filed late, including that of the Liberal Party (LP).
Leon Peralta of the newly-formed Liga ng Eksplosibong Pagbabago filed a 12-page petition on Monday, June 20, to expunge all late Statements of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCEs) from the Comelec's records.
"The protection of the law must be on the side of the law-abiders, not the side of the law-breakers," said Peralta.
The petition also sought to declare acceptance of late SOCEs as an "impeachable betrayal of public trust." The group also wants to "enforce the rule of succession where law-abiding next-in-rank candidate shall take the place of the violators."
This was after the poll body voted 4-3 on Thursday to extend the filing of SOCEs to June 30, from the earlier "final, non-extendible" June 8 deadline.
The LP requested the extension after it missed the deadline set in Comelec Resolution 9991, in accordance with Republic Act 7166.
The en banc's decision prompted Commissioner Christian Robert Lim to resign as the head of the Comelec Campaign Finance Office (CFO). He was among the 3 who voted against the extension.
Leon Peralta holds copy of petition to strike out Comelec's decision to accept late SOCEs, incl. LP's @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/B0xkWyLw8c — Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) June 20, 2016
Peralta argued that there were more candidates like him who submitted on time compared to "violators" like the LP. Peralta ran for Quezon City mayor as an independent candidate, but lost.
Had the Comelec voted against the extension, winning LP members would not have been allowed to assume office as a consequence. Comelec Resolution 9991 had stated that submissions beyond June 8 "shall not be accepted."
Peralta: Mas maraming sumunod sa batas (on SOCE filing) kaysa sa Liberal Party. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/AMk8lGStNq — Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) June 20, 2016
Whistleblower and retired Lieutenant Colonel George Rabusa accompanied Peralta in filing the petition at the Comelec headquarters in Manila.
Peralta said that they are also preparing for further legal action against the acceptance of late SOCEs.
He added that if their petition would be dismissed by the Comelec, it will serve as a "prelude" for them to file impeachment proceedings against the 4 Comelec commissioners who voted in favor of the SOCE filing extension: Rowena Guanzon, Sheriff Abas, Arthur Lim, and Al Parreño.
As this developed, a separate petition was filed against the SOCE filing extension, but this time with the Supreme Court.
GMA News reported that retired Army colonel Justino Padiernos and lawyer Manuelito Luna pleaded the SC to issue a status quo ante order against the Comelec. – Rappler.com
Michael Bueza is a researcher and data curator under Rappler's Research Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.