House panel tackles bill fast-tracking electoral protest cases

Zandro Ochona, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2021 10:44 PM

MANILA - The House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms is set to fine tune a bill meant to speed up electoral protest cases and another bill to introduce hybrid election in the upcoming 2022 polls.

The committee, chaired by Negros Occidental Rep. Juliet Marie De Leon Ferrer, formed a Technical Working Group (TWG) on Wednesday, to fine tune House Bill 2761 or the proposed “Fair Electoral Protest Act,” authored by Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez.

“This bill takes into account the very lengthy electoral protest proceedings that is being done starting from the barangay captain to the municipal officials, then the city or provincial officials, and even sometimes in the other tribunals,” Rodriguez said in his sponsorship speech before the committee.

The measure seeks to address the aspects of electoral protests such as the costly electoral protest fees, to require the ousted winner due to protest to shoulder the cost of the protest proceedings as punishment as well as put a time limit to the resolution of the protest to hasten the proceedings.

Election lawyer Emil Marañon said the panel has to carefully consider to what extent HB 2761 can violate the provision of the Constitution, since the power to promulgate rules are exclusive to the respective electoral tribunals. 

These electoral tribunals include the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), Supreme Court and House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET).

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