Comelec unanimously junks PDP-Laban faction's bid to reopen COC filing

Comelec unanimously junks PDP-Laban faction's bid to reopen COC filing
Members of the Cusi wing of PDP-Laban clench their fists in the signature pose of President Rodrigo Duterte during their national convention on September 8, 2021.
PDP-Laban Cusi wing

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections unanimously dismissed the petition of a faction of the administration party to reopen the filing of certificates of candidacy, citing among its arguments a "political vacuum" caused by their candidate's withdrawal from the presidential race.

The Comelec has yet to release the decision on the petition but its spokesperson James Jimenez made the announcement.

The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan wing led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi pleaded in December for the Comelec to resume accepting certificates of candidacy, saying the poll body ended the filing period too soon.

The Cusi faction said then that the Comelec is still working on pending petitions and cannot yet print official ballots even if the period for filing COCs and substitutions has already passed.

It added that the poll body did not have enough time “to remedy the political vacuum” created by Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa’s withdrawal from the presidential race, itself a last-minute decision by the Cusi wing.

This move by the Cusi faction of the PDP-Laban raised concerns that the elections might be delayed were the Comelec to grant its petition.

So much so that Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who is running for president, said most senators agreed that they can elect a new Senate president before Congress adjourns who will act as president until a new president or vice president is elected.

A rival faction of the PDP-Laban led by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III also cautioned against the petition, saying it "may result in delaying and derailing the electoral process" and would risk "failed elections to prolong their hold on power."

The Cusi-led faction had planned to field the tandem of Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go and President Rodrigo Duterte in the elections but had Dela Rosa file his COC for president instead with Go as a last-minute candidate for vice-president.

In a flurry of substitutions last November, Go moved up as presidential candidate of a minor allied party while Duterte said he would instead run for senator. Both also withdrew their candidacies in December, leaving the administration party with no official candidate for president. — with a report from News5

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