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Judiciary denies petition to nullify GE MOA, COMELEC declares lull period

The University Student Government’s (USG) Judiciary branch denied the petition filing for the imposition of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the USG General Elections (GE) Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)  in a decision released last March 10.

Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat) President Robbie Arcadio and Vice President for External Affairs Anjho Cruz originally pushed for the nullification of the MOA between the political parties and the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) for the proceedings of the GE, and suggested that a TRO be placed in the meantime while investigations are being carried out.

In the decision, the Judiciary argued that nullifying the MOA would potentially cause a failure of elections, leaving majority of the seats in the student government vacant. The Judiciary further explained that a TRO could not be given because the delay of elections would only be a “fruitless effort”, citing the TRO on the plebiscite earlier this academic year as an example of its consequences.

From left to right: Judiciary Chief Magistrate Angel Pascual, COMELEC Chairperson Aaron Quidilla, Tapat President Robbie Arcadio
From left to right: Judiciary Chief Magistrate Angel Pascual, COMELEC Chairperson Aaron Quidilla, Tapat President Robbie Arcadio

 

Late additions

According to the petitioners, they found no problems in the carrying out of the MOA until they discovered Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon) had yet to field candidates in the College of Science (COS) when the deadline for passing their Certificate of Candidacy (COC) lapsed last March 4, 6 pm.

However, COMELEC permitted Santugon to file candidacies under the agreement that the party will be given one minor offense per batch unit and an additional minor offense for the College Assembly President (CAP) filed late. Last March 5, during the mandatory COMELEC seminar, there were already official COS candidates running for Santugon.

Tapat asserted that COMELEC allowing Santugon to file candidacy after the deadline violates the second clause in the MOA which states, “The filing of candidacy shall officially open on February 23 (9:00 AM) and end on March 4 (6:00 PM), 2015. Submission of the Candidacy of the [involved parties] after the deadline will not be accepted.” The petitioners also added that the decision was made without the consent of the parties involved in the contract, which they claim was also a violation of the MOA.

Furthermore, Tapat attested that COMELEC violated the 15th clause which demands the party to submit a hard copy and soft copy list of all the campaign details to all the parties involved in the GE at the same deadline for filing candidacy. Failure to do so, as the clause states, would incur one minor offense per day of non-submission.

The petitioners also contested that COMELEC gave a “lump-sum” of four minor offense to both parties to account for the errors found in the COCs, citing that “Four minor offenses were a better alternative than assessing offenses to the parties concerned.” Tapat contested that there is no legal basis for COMELEC to impose those four minor offenses because imposition of such was listed in neither the MOA nor the Election Code.

Accounting for the number of offenses imposed by COMELEC, Tapat already incurred four minor offenses from the arbitrary issuance due to incomplete requirements, while Santugon incurred seven minor offenses, four from the same cause and another three from filing their COS candidates late.

 

In our defense

Santugon President Pam Ramos confirmed that the party indeed submitted the COCs for COS candidates after the deadline, but argued that they were merely seconds late when the COMELEC closed their doors, making them unable to pass the documents. She also said that, “We acknowledge that we had a little mistake of not being on time, [but] we were responsible enough to accept the sanctions that were given to us.”

Arcadio felt that the decision of the Judiciary to deny the petition was unjust. “The issues brought up in the petition were not even mentioned, and the ruling, to me, seemed to be more about convenience and less about doing what was just and right,” he furthered.

He also said that they are currently looking into the matter. However, Arcadio clarified that they would accept the decision if no further developments take place.

COMELEC Chairperson Aaron Quidilla shared as of press time that they are trying their best to resolve the issue. In the meantime, COMELEC has suspended all forms of campaigning until the issue is resolved. This suspension was put into place on March 11.

 

By Frank Santiago

By Iliana Tan

22 replies on “Judiciary denies petition to nullify GE MOA, COMELEC declares lull period”

i think Arcadio is right in his statement because it IS in the rules to pass their candidates before the deadline, ““The filing of candidacy shall officially open on February 23 (9:00 AM) and end on March 4 (6:00 PM), 2015. Submission of the Candidacy of the [involved parties] after the deadline will not be accepted.” it is CLEARLY stated that after the deadline, candidacies wont be accepted. The COMELEC should look further into this or it will produce more issues about being unjust/bias/not following the rules.

Rules are rules. Yes, we should respect the rules. However, when Santugon was late COMELEC accepted their COC’s. The irony of this is that the office that is supposed to protect the integrity of these rules was the one who broke them first by allowing both parties to file. They even gave sanctions to both parties for filing late. Which means they were conscious of the choice they made in late candidates to submit their COC’s.

Furthermore, it is written in Code of Conduct that once the COMELEC has announced a candidate during COMSEM, they are considered official candidates. COMELEC announced all 75 candidates for Santugon. Tapat’s standard bearer was there but was called out due to ineligibility.

You see, COMELEC had more than one chance to implement the rules from the Code of Conduct and MOA but did not do so. Therefore, why are they penalizing both Tapat and Santugon if they themselves are at fault?

Yes, Tapat and Santugon are at fault but so is COMELEC. Both parties and COMELEC are at fault in this situation.

I was a witness in the USG office. Ramos and her party were really just seconds late but they were ready with their envelopes and they were sealed. On the other hand, Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista did get in on time BUT were fixing their envelopes INSIDE the COMELEC room, which should also be considered as late. I completely disagree that Tapat did not do anything wrong when in fact they committed violations as well.

I was also a witness. I saw that the COMELEC chair grew wings and ordained himself as the One Just Ruler of DLSU. He even made me his Justicar and named me the Kilabot ng DLSU.

Yeah. Nice try, bub.

so in what way would TAPAT’s “sealing of the envelopes inside the COMELEC room” weaken their argument? just shows that they actually RESPECT THE DEADLINE.

The rules clearly states that ” Submission of the Candidacy of the [involved parties] after the deadline will not be accepted.” if so, why were they given a sanction instead? when no exception was provided. It’s truly disappointing that bodies that are tasked to implement these regulatory measures are the same hypocrites that bend them.

How hard is it to not file requirements on time? You have the entire year to prepare them, and most of the requirements can be found in your house, i.e. ID Pics, flowchart, EAFs, certificate signed by certain people, brown envelopes, maaking tapes, and markers. You must be a special kind of stupid to miss the deadline and do anything last minute. Tumakbo/nagpatakbo pa kayo.

Let elections fail, let DLSU have a year without the USG. Then everyone will finally realize how we can still LIVE without them, and how irrelevant they our to our lives.

Woah, never looked at it that way. Good one. I actually want to see this scenario play out now.

i dont think this should be an issue at all because the COMELEC ACCEPTED the late requirements of Santugon. even if it was stated that the late requirements are not valid any more for submission; the comelec still ACCEPTED these requirements. they shouldnt call for ineligibility of nominees when they, in the first place, already accepted the forms for candidacy

Even if. This is why the problem started. They allow the people to get away even if they didn’t follow the agreement. Not just happening in dlsu but all around us. Comelec, please do your job properly. To those running whether from a party or independently, keep going, stop spreading rumors about other people and please do what is best for the students and not for you.

COMELEC didn’t disqualify. They invalidates. Disqualification assumes there was a valid candidacy but they did something worthy of removal. Invalidation means comelec declared that no candidacy existed to begin with – as a way to rectify a mistake.

Submission of forms do not guarantee a valid candidacy and it is still the prerogative of comelec to declare that.

This is an issue not because of your idiotic opinion but because people like you prefer to make it an issue. Idiot.

I remember clearly when Tapat was the one who was late in submitting requirements back in GE 2010, they weren’t accepted by COMELEC for whatever reason they had. Now tables are turned and they’re forgiving Santugon? Srsly such an obvious f-up of the system.

Hay kasi naman they were given more than a week and more than enough time to file their candidacy and they wait until the LAST trickling second. Now everything’s a mess!!!

Ugh I really hate how some Santugon people are telling students to not vote or vote abstain. Gosh, are you people that desperate to win?

Would you happen to have a screen cap/evidence? Baka pwedeng isubmit somewhere to expose them!!!!!! so tired of political parties! Anyone who cares about the students should just run independently!!!!!!!!

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