Strict campaign rules still in effect despite Baguio court's TRO: Comelec

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2022 04:22 PM

 An enthusiastic crowd of young supporters welcome Vice President Leni Robredo to Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro at a People’s Rally on Thursday, March 3, 2022. VP Leni Media handout
An enthusiastic crowd of young supporters welcome Vice President Leni Robredo to Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro at a People’s Rally on Thursday, March 3, 2022. VP Leni Media handout

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday said its controversial "new normal" campaigning rules are still in effect even after a Baguio City court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO). 

In an ambush interview, Comelec acting chairperson Socorro Inting said the Baguio City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 5's order suspending Resolution 10732 or the "new normal" guidelines is only applicable to the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). 

"Jurisdiction of Baguio RTC is only within CAR… They have not acquired jurisdiction over us," Inting said. 

On Monday, the Baguio court granted a TRO in favor of petitioners seeking to nullify Comelec Resolution 10732, which, among others, requires supporters and volunteers of candidates to obtain permit from the poll body before conducting face-to-face campaign activities.

In a succeeding court hearing, Comelec-CAR represented by Atty. Romeo Aguilar agreed not to implement the contested rules until the petition to extend the earlier TRO is resolved. 

The petitioners argued that the Baguio court's order is effective nationwide because both the main office and regional office of the Comelec in CAR are named respondents.

But Inting rejected their interpretation, saying the resolution is still effective nationwide. 

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