This is to amend a portion of Resolution No. 3258, entitled: CALENDAR OF ACTIVITIES AND PERIODS OF PROHIBITED ACTS IN CONNECTION WITH THE MAY 14, 2001 NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS, approved on 28 September 2000 by changing the date of the start for holding political conventions to nominate official candidates for national and all local positions and to set on November 15, 2000 as last day for registration of political parties.
Earlier, the Commission explained succinctly the significant reasons for advancing the dates for filing certificates of candidacy.
We argued in this wise:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
There are certain provisions in our election laws which make elections messy. They induce disorderly elections. Some of them refer to the dates for filing certificates of candidacy.
Under Sec. 5 of R.A. 7166, the campaign period for national positions is 90 days before election while it is 45 days before election for local positions. Under paragraph 3 of Sec. 11 of R.A. 8436, the law on the use of automated election system, the deadline for filing certificate of candidacy shall not later than one hundred twenty (120) days before election. Under Sec. 75 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC for brevity), the certificate of candidacy (COC henceforth) shall be filed on any day from the commencement of the election period but not later than the day before the beginning of the campaign period. Experience tells us that candidates prefer to file their certificate of candidacy on the last day to file the same.
Within a certain period from the deadline of filing COCs certain actions may be filed with the Commission against some candidates. These action are:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
[B] Within twenty-five (25) days from the time of filing of the Certificate of Candidacy – a petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy (Sec. 78, OEC) may also be filed. The law requires that this shall be decided, after due notice and hearing, not later than 15 days before election if the candidate is running for a local position. This leaves the Commission only five (5) days to issue summons, wait for the filing of verified Answer, issue notice of hearing, and conduct hearing to allow all parties to adduce evidence. No tribunal can do all these things in five days.
[C] Any day after the deadline for filing of Certificate of Candidacy but not later than the date of proclamation (Rule 25 of COMELEC Rules of Procedure) a petition to disqualify a candidate may be filed.
In the 2001 elections, the positions to be voted for in the entire country are:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
1 party list;
208 Congressional seats;
78 positions for Governor;
78 positions for Vice-Governor, Provincial Board Member in 78 provinces;
1,610 City and Municipal Mayor;
1,610 City and Municipal Vice-Mayor, Councilors in cities and Municipalities.
Twenty three (23) positions in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao will also be voted for. If a plebiscite in fourteen (14) provinces and ten (10) cities will be held before the May 14, 2001 elections to determine the expansion of the ARMM area, there might be more than 23 positions to be voted for.
Comelec records show that in the 1998 elections, there were 17,458 positions vied for, including those for President and Vice-President. There were 64,336 who filed their certificate of candidacy. Of this, there were 561 cases that the Commission heard which belong to the class of petitions to disqualify, petition to declare one a nuisance candidate or petition to deny due course to a certificate of candidacy or to cancel certificate of candidacy. This is roughly 3% of total positions vied for. In 2001 elections, we should have more than 17,458 positions because although we will not vote for the position of President and Vice-President, there will be twenty three (23) positions in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the list to be voted for. In addition, some provinces, cities and municipalities may have their classifications upgraded by then and will thus enjoy a bigger membership in their sanggunians. These figures give us a clue as to the number of cases that will be filed with the Commission after the deadline for filing of COCs.
Granting that we will have the same number of cases of this nature in 2001 election even if there will be more positions to be vied for, and this is not to include yet all other cases that will be filed with the Commission – the scenario is already very burdensome.
Consider that there are only 2 divisions in the Commission to hear these 561 cases exclusive of the others of different class. It is like having 2 courts only for these cases in the entire country. Worse, in case of appeal from the Division ruling, the case goes up to the Commission en banc which means it is still US hearing or resolving the case. This explains why some of the cases of this nature are resolved only after election.
To make the elections orderly, it is necessary that we issue resolutions in these cases before the election. How can we cope when the period to hear and resolve them before election is too short?
There is an added but stronger reason to advance the dates for filing certificates of candidacy other than the above.
Partial automation in the 2001 elections will take place. The target is fifty percent (50%) of the votes will be covered by the automated vote counting system and the remaining fifty percent (50%) will use manual counting of votes.
In manual counting of votes, COMELEC issues ballots where the voters write the names of the candidates he is voting for. But where automated vote counting is in use, the ballots contain the pre-printed names of all the candidates and the voters puts a mark before the pre-printed name of the candidate to indicate his vote. That mark is the one counted by the automated counting machine. The machine produces a consolidated report of all votes counted for each candidate and it prints an election return where all votes of the different candidates are reflected.
Printing of ballots for manual counting is simple but printing of ballots for automated counting is sophisticated. Ballots for manual count are in blank because the voter fills it up with the names of the candidates he has chosen. Hence, the time to print them, the time to verify their serial numbers, time to pack and ship to their destinations are the only ones factored in the ballot preparation. But in preparing ballots for automated count, the candidates’ names to be pre-printed in the ballot must already exclude those who are declared nuisance candidates, those disqualified, and those whose certificate of candidacy had been denied due course or cancelled. Which means that the Commission must have finished hearing and have, in fact, resolved all these cases by then. This can only be done if enough lead time is given to the Commission to resolve petitions of this kind.
Otherwise, the names of those who should not be voted for anymore will still be in the ballot and cause confusion to the votes. A good numbers of these votes will be wasted and that is disenfranchisement of voters.
All these made imperative the advancing of the dates of filing of COCs.
In Sec. 29 of
Sec. 28 of R.A.
8436 it provides:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
We in the Commission invoke the laws aforecited giving us authority to advance the dates for filing certificates of candidacy if we are to prevent a disorderly election in 2001.
There’s some concern from political parties. They ask:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
If the deadline to file Certificate of Candidacy is advanced, what happens to the provision in R.A. 7166, Sec. 6 that prohibits the holding of political conventions for nomination of official candidates earlier than 165 days for senators and seventy five (75) days election for Congressmen and all other local positions? Because of the necessity to advance the deadline to file certificate of candidacy, there’s also a necessity to advance the period to hold political convention. In fact, the Commission has advanced the dates to hold political conventions to nominate official candidates to November 15 up to December 15, 2000 for both national & local positions. Similarly the last day to file petition for registration of political parties and sectoral parties and organizations had also been advanced to November 15, 2000.
It must be made clear, however, that advancing the dates for filing certificate of candidacy is only to comply with our mandate to conduct orderly elections. The period to campaign which are - 90 days before election for national positions and 45 days before election for local position still apply.
On the issue as to when candidates are deemed ipso facto resigned, that paragraph of Sec. 11 of R.A. 8436 is enlightening. It provides:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
For this purpose, the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy/petition for registration/manifestation to participate in the election shall not be later than one hundred twenty (120) days before the elections: Provided, That, any elective official, whether national or local, running for any office other than the one which he/she is holding in a permanent capacity, except to president and vice-president, shall be deemed resigned only upon the start of the campaign period corresponding to the position for which he/she is running: Provided, further, That, unlawful acts or omissions applicable to a candidate shall take effect upon the start of the aforesaid campaign period."
The above provision explicitly covers elective officials only. How about those who hold appointive positions? Sec. 66 of the Omnibus Election Code will apply to them.
WHEREFORE, the Commission RESOLVED as it hereby RESOLVES, to amend a portion of Minute Resolution No. 3258 by adding the following insertions:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
15, 2000 to December 15, 2000 -
It is understood that should Congress, at a later date, decide that the election in the ARMM be preceded first by a plebiscite to expand the ARMM Region, the date to file certificate of candidacy in the ARMM shall be adjusted to conform to what Congress shall provide.
This Resolution shall take effect on the seventh (7th) day following its publication in two (2) daily newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines.
The Director, Education and Information Department, this Commission, shall cause the immediate publication of this resolution in two (2) daily newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines and shall furnish copies thereof to all Regional Election Directors, Provincial Election Supervisors, Election Officers and all Departments, Bureaus, Offices and Agencies deputized by the Commission.
Let the Executive Director implement this resolution and give the widest dissemination.
(Sgd.) HARRIET O. DEMETRIOU, Chairman
(Sgd.) JULIO F. DESAMITO, Commissioner
(Sgd.) TERESITA DY-LIACCO FLORES, Commissioner
(Sgd.) LUZVIMINDA G. TANCANGCO, Commissioner
(Sgd.) RALPH C. LANTION, Commissioner
(Sgd.) RUFINO S.B. JAVIER, Commissioner
(Sgd.) MEHOL K. SADAIN, Commissioner
Promulgated: 20 October 2000.