Comelec commits not to implement 'new normal' campaign rules until court resolves TRO petition

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2022 07:46 PM

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An estimated 40,000 Ilonggos showed up to express their support for the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo at the Iloilo Sports Complex on February 25, 2022. VP Leni Media Bureau, handout

MANILA — The Commission on Elections committed not to implement its Resolution 10732, which, among others, sets the 'new normal' campaign rules, until a petition against it is resolved, an order Wednesday from the Baguio court handling the case showed.

According to a copy of the document seen by ABS-CBN News, the pledge was made by Atty. Romeo Aguilar who appeared for the Comelec during a hearing by the Baguio City Regional Trial Court Branch 5 on the propriety of extending the 72-hour temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued last Monday on Resolution 10732.

In praying for a resetting of the hearing on the application for a TRO against the Comelec Resolution, Aguilar "made a commitment that in the meantime that the propriety of extending the TRO is not heard and resolved, the COMELEC will observe the status quo which means that the Resolution No. 10732 will not be implemented," the court order read.

Kay Liggayu, one of the petitioners against the Comelec Resolution, told ABS-CBN News that the Comelec requested for a resetting of schedule because its main office will send a representative from its Law Department for the case.

The next hearing is set on April 4.

“The order that was issued by the RTC today is a status quo order," said Liggayu.

"That temporary restraining order (issued on Feb. 28) is good only for 72 hours. Now, kailangan, before the expiration of the 72-hour TRO, dapat magkaroon na ng hearing. That's why, we had a hearing today because we’re also requesting a writ of preliminary injunction at least good for 20 days,” the lawyer added.

Liggayu explained that the restraining order is not just for the permit requirement so that candidates' volunteer groups can hold face-to-face campaign activities, but for the entire Resolution 10732.

With Wednesday's order by Judge Maria Ligaya Itliong-Rivera, “All volunteers and volunteer groups can now conduct election campaign activities without the requisite permit from the Comelec,” said Liggayu.

The order is effective nationwide because both the main office and regional office of the Comelec in the Cordllera Administrative Region are impleaded, added the lawyer.

Under Comelec Resolution 10732, candidates and their volunteers or supporters are required to get a campaign permit from the local government unit to be submitted to the local election officer, before mounting a face-to-face campaign event.

Presidential candidate Leody de Guzman was earlier flagged for not getting a permit for his camp's proclamation rally last Feb. 8, the start of the official campaign period, although the Comelec has not gone after him.

Some election lawyers had already raised concerns over the resolution, with one saying it is "potentially unconstitutional."

- reports from RG Cruz and Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

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