SC overturns decision to disqualify Camarines Norte gubernatorial bet

Marje Pelayo   •   September 13, 2019   •   1117

MANILA, Philippines – Voting 8-6, the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday (September 10) granted the petition of Camarines Norte gubernatorial candidate Edgardo Tallado who questioned his disqualification by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the last May 19 elections.

Tallado was allowed to run after the SC issued a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) following Comelec’s decision to disqualify him from the race.

The SC decision, penned by Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, stated that the Court En Banc overturned the Comelec’s decision to disqualify Tallado to run in the gubernatorial race.

The SC Public Information Office will issue a copy of the decision through its website once they receive the official copy from the Office of the Clerk of Court En Banc.

Concurring with Bersamin were Justices Diosdado Peralta, Alexander Gesmundo, Andres Reyes Jr., Jose Reyes Jr., Amy Lazaro-Javier, Henry Jean Paul Inting and Rodil Zalameda.

Dissenting were Justice Francis Jardeleza, Antonio Carpio, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, and Rosmari Carandang.

Comelec had disqualified Tallado to run due to what the poll body says as questionable years of service as governor of Camarines Norte, pointing out that should they grant Tallado’s certificate of candidacy, it would have already been his 4th term as governor.

The law provides that gubernatorial post is only limited to three consecutive terms.

However, Tallado took his case to the Supreme Court questioning the decision of the Comelec, insisting that he is still eligible to run for the May 2019 polls as he was suspended from office in 2015 and was reinstated only in 2018.

Tallado won as the governor of Camarines Norte after garnering 149,002 votes against his rival Cathy Barcelona-Reyes who had 104,635 votes.

Comelec has yet to comment on the matter as it yet to receive a copy of the SC decision. — Marje Pelayo

Court of Appeals’ Jhosep Lopez appointed as Supreme Court associate justice

Robie de Guzman   •   January 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Court of Appeals Justice Jhosep Lopez to the Supreme Court.

Documents posted on Supreme Court’s Twitter account show that Lopez will take the place vacated by Justice Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla, who retired last year at 62.

Lopez is a former Manila City councilor and government prosecutor.

He joined the Court of Appeals in 2012.

Comelec looks into longer voting hours for 2022 election

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 20, 2021

Manila, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday (January 20) said it is looking into having longer voting hours for the 2022 elections.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, during a Senate hearing, said the agency is mulling over possible election adjustments amid the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the options include extending the election up to three days while the other option is to have longer voting hours.

Jimenez raised concerns over the having the election last for two to three days.

“Medyo wary kami sa two to three days of election (We are a bit wary of extending the election for two to three days ). Comelec is actually tending towards longer elections hours. Nakikita po natin sa ibang bansa, especially iyong malalaking elections (We saw in other countries, especially those with big elections), they do have elections that last for up to 12 hours,” he said.

“As far as the two to three days of elections, there’s been a lot of concern about that, there’s a lot of worry of what happens at night, I suppose,” he added.

Comelec is also planning to increase polling places to limit the number of voters per precinct and lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission. However, Comelec said they would need bigger venues and additional personnel to ensure health protocols are followed.

Early voting for the vulnerable sectors, which include senior citizens, is also being looked into by Comelec.

Jimenez added they are also looking into bringing ballots to quarantine centers for individuals exhibiting symptoms or are positive for COVID-19 virus.

“There will be more people who will be in quarantine, who will be allowed to vote otherwise. Kaso hindi naman natin sila pwedeng tanggalan ng right to vote just because may sakit sila, (We cannot deprive them of their right to vote just because they are sick),” he said.

Meanwhile, the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) said there should also be a risk assessment especially for voters who are returning to their respective provinces.

“The requirements of the face masks, face shields can be property requirements that could disenfranchise some vulnerable groups of voters, even the test that are required before you enter into the provinces where you should be voting,” he said. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Supreme Court resets oral arguments on Anti-Terror Law to Feb. 2

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The oral arguments on the controversial anti-terrorism law have been moved to February 2, the Supreme Court announced Friday.

This is after staffers of Solicitor General Jose Calida tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Considering the meritorious request of Solicitor General Jose Calida that his Assistant Solicitor General and some staff who will attend the oral arguments have been tested positive for COVID-19, you are hereby informed, per instruction of the Honorable Supreme Court, that the oral arguments is reset to February 2, 2021 at 2:30 p.m.,” the Clerk of Court said in a statement.

“No further postponement will be allowed,” it added.

The high court originally scheduled the oral arguments on January 19.

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