By William Depasupil | The Manila Times
THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) upheld its five-day extension for presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos to respond to a disqualification case that was filed against him.
In a three-page ruling, the Comelec Second Division, chaired by Presiding Commissioner Socorro B. Inting, denied the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners on its ruling granting Marcos the extension.
The petitioners Fr. Christian Buenafe, co-chairman of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines; Fides Lim of the political prisoners' group Kapatid; Ma. Edeliza Hernandez, executive director of the Medical Action Group; Celia Lagman Sevilla, Roland Vivaldi, and Josephine Lascano, the group that filed the first disqualification case against Marcos, said the period to file a verified answer lapsed on November 16.
In denying the group's motion, the ruling said that it was within the Comelec's authority to grant the extension beyond the deadline.
The Second Division cited Section 4, Rule 1 of the 1996 Comelec rules of procedure provides the power of the Commission to suspend its rules or any portion thereof.
"The Comelec therefore has authority to suspend the reglementary period provided by the rules in the interest of justice and speedy resolution of the cases before it," the ruling read.
"Under this authority, the Commission is similarly enabled to cope with all situations without concerning itself about procedural niceties that do not square with the need to do justice, in any case without further loss of time, provided that the right of the parties to a full day in court is not substantially impaired," it added.
Comelec records showed that Marcos' motion for extension to file an answer was granted by the Second Division on November 18.
On November 17, petitioners filed an opposition motion not to grant Marcos' motion for extension, that the respondent be barred from submitting controverting evidence, and that the respondent be barred from submitting his memorandum.
But the Second Division set aside the petitioners' opposition motion, saying that "justification was found in the motion for extension to file an answer".