OPINION: LP SOCE case being eyed for oust-Leni operation?

Ellen T. Tordesillas

Posted at Jan 13 2017 01:39 PM

Amid the many items in media not favorable to Vice President Leni Robredo- LeniLeaks, banned from Cabinet meetings, disinvited by Malacanang in the New Year Vin d'honneur, drop in satisfaction ratings – another one came up the other day.

We were told that the Supreme Court is expected very soon to release its decision on the case concerning the extension of the deadline by the Commission on Elections for the filing of statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE) for the Liberal Party last June.

“If the High Court decided that there was a breach of the rule by the Comelec, the election of all Liberal Party candidates would be invalidated. That would include the election of Robredo,” a friend told me.

That jolted me. I had forgotten the LP SOCE case.  All along,  I thought  the only case challenging Robredo’s election to the vice presidency is the election protest by her closest opponent, former senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. which is before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal composed of the Supreme Court justices.

Like all election protests that take forever, Marcos’ complaint is not expected to be decided soon.

My friend said anti-Robredo forces saw the LP SOCE case as the easier way to do away with Robredo. “It’s ‘cleaner’,” he said adding that the case is the negligence of the LP people.

Aside from Robredo, six senators and big number of congressmen and local officials will be adversely affected if the SC decides that there was a breach of the Comelec rule.  

It will be recalled that the LP failed to file its SOCE on the June 8, 2016 set by  Comelec Resolution No. 9991. The resolution said, “The 08 June 2016 deadline shall be final and non-extendible. Submissions beyond this period shall not be accepted.”

LP candidates, except LP’s standard bearer Mar Roxas, were able to file their respective SOCE’s on time.

Under the law, fines would be imposed on the violators but the ultimate penalty would be non-assumption to the positions they were elected to.

Comelec’s Campaign Finance Office rejected LP’s request to extend the deadline but the poll body in a 4-3 en banc decision extended the deadline to June 30. LP was able to comply under the extended deadline.

Two petitioners, however, asked the High Court to nullify Comelec’s en banc decision to extend the deadline of fling.

The source said given the controversial 9-5 ruling by the Supreme Court on the burial of the late  dictator, Ferdinand E. Marcos, at the Libingan ng Bayani, the supporters of Duterte-Bongbong Marcos are hopeful that the SC will nullify the Comelec extension of the deadline which, they think, will also invalidate Robredo’s oath-taking as vice president.

There’s a contrary view to that.  Some lawyers believe the Supreme Court will consider the serious consequences of nullifying the Comelec extension of deadline for SOCE filing as it would be thwarting the will of the people.

We get the feeling that all these anti-Leni issues are part of conditioning the public’s mind for the hatchet job they are planning on Robredo. No less than the Press Secretary is pushing the Leni-leaks story.

It is also worth noting that the public did not show concern when Robredo was banned from Cabinet meetings which led to her resignation as Housing secretary. Her satisfaction rating even declined.

Are they up for the Robredo-kill?
                                                              
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