Press Release
December 19, 2015

Drilon: Comelec, public must uphold, observe elections laws

Amid the noise of the disqualification cases filed against candidates in the 2016 elections, the Commission on Election (Comelec) must uphold and the public must observe the country's election laws and its regulations for a fair, credible and orderly election next year, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said.

"We have rules which are necessary for an orderly society," Drilon said during this week's Kapihan sa Senado, when sought for comment on statements made by former President Fidel Ramos to leave the disqualification cases against presidential aspirants in the hands of the people to decide.

"If we just say that we let the people decide, then we might as well throw all the rules out of the window, let's discard all the rules, and let everybody run," Drilon stressed.

The former Justice Secretary said there are rules that govern the conduct of elections in the country, which the Comelec is duty-bound to observe and implement.

He added that these rules are in accordance with the Constitution that provides clear guidelines regarding the conduct of elections in the country.

"We have basic rules which in any civilized society will be necessary in order to prevent disorder. So if you are saying just let the people decide, precisely there are rules in order that people can rationally decide," Drilon said.

He pointed out that it is due to these rules and regulations that the Comelec has to validate every certificate of candidacy (COC) filed before it and prevent nuisance candidates from running.

"Why do we disqualify people because they are nuisance candidates? Because we have certain rules to follow," he added.

He pointed out that if the Comelec will go along with the let-the-people-decide philosophy, then the poll body erred in voiding the COCs filed by the other 125 presidential aspirants.

"If we are to apply the let-the-people-decide philosophy on the disqualification cases against Senator Grace Poe and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, then the Comelec should have also allowed 'Archangel Lucifer,' 'Kuya P,' 'Kapitan Kuryente,' and all other individuals who filed their COCs to run for president," Drilon said.

"We cannot provide exemptions to individuals under our laws and regulations while denying the same to others. If we leave the case of Poe and Duterte in the hands of the people to decide, then we should also ask them to decide on the fate of the 125 nuisance candidates who want to run for president. A situation like that is unacceptable," the Senate chief concluded.

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