SC stops 'cash ban'

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 10 2013 09:56 AM | Updated as of May 11 2013 05:43 AM

MANILA - The Supreme Court on Friday issued a status quo ante order halting the Commission on Elections "cash ban," aimed at preventing vote-buying in Monday's polls.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno issued the status quo ante order in her capacity as chief magistrate. SC Public Information Officer Theodore Te said the order is effective immediately. 

The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) earlier asked the SC to stop the Comelec from implementing the cash ban, which prohibits the withdrawal of more than P100,000 from banks and other financial institutions, and the "possession, transportation and/or carrying" of more than P500,000 in cash up to May 13, election day.

The BAP petition stated that the poll body "acted without jurisdiction" in issuing the resolution, "acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" because the ban violated the 1987 Constitution, and "acted without jurisdiction" because the ban "invalidly amended Republic Act (RA) No. 9160 (Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001).

Sought for comment, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said he is OK with the SC order since there are only 3 days left before the elections. He also said the High Court may have acted on the petition without reviewing the supplemental resolution issued by Comelec on Thursday. 

"We issued a supplemental resolution. I don;t think it was in the petition. We will just explain before the SC," he told ANC. 

"We will just not implement [the resolution]," he added. 

The Comelec said on Thursday that it was amending the resolution and would add a provision giving banks the discretion to allow withdrawals of more than P100,000 for their clients who would regularly withdraw more than this cap.