Comelec to go ahead with printing of ballots despite TROs

By Ferdinand Patinio

January 25, 2022, 9:38 pm

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will proceed with the printing of the ballots for the May 9 elections despite the temporary restraining orders (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court (SC) in favor of the declared nuisance candidates.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said Tuesday the names of senatorial aspirant Normal Cordero Marquez, vice presidential bet Wilson Caritero Amad, and party-list group Juan Pinoy were not included in the official ballot as the serialization of the ballot has been completed.

“By the time the TROs came out, the serialization of the ballot has already been completed so the ballots were ready to go. So, there was nothing to do but to just go ahead and print the ballots,” he said in a virtual press briefing.

Jimenez said it was the Comelec en banc’s decision to go on with the printing despite the TROs.

“Remember the TRO again, the ballots have been serialized so, at that point, the only thing left to do was to start the printing,” he added.

He said it was not the first time that the poll body received a TRO from the SC but it still proceeded with the ballot printing.

“As far as I know, this is not the first time. This has happened before,” he said.

Jimenez, however, said the poll body is prepared in case the high court orders to stop the printing of the ballots after Marquez sought another intervention from the SC.

“Well, if there is a ruling from the Supreme Court, then the Comelec stands ready to abide by a lawful ruling of the Supreme Court. But as of right now, if he feels obviously that he is aggrieved, it is his right to seek redress. We will see what happens with that petition,” he said. “I have yet to receive that the Supreme Court ordered stoppage of printing again, considering what is at stake, considering the timelines we are operating under, the Supreme Court has thus far not issued such order.”

For the aggrieved parties, Jimenez said “remedies are available and we would encourage them to avail of those.”

No rules on unspent campaign donations

Meanwhile, Jimenez said there are no rules on what a candidate must do regarding unspent campaign donations.

“There are no rules requiring its disposition in any specific way,” he said.

He was reacting to Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso’s admission that he kept more than PHP50 million in excess campaign funds from his failed senatorial bid in the 2016 elections.

“The only rule that there is can actually be found is the revenue regulations issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which state very clearly that unspent campaign funds shall be treated as income and shall be subject to the payment of the appropriate income tax,” he said.

Jimenez said the ultimate disposition of the leftover campaign funds is between the candidate and the donor.

“If the donor sees nothing objectionable with that sort of use of the money that they gave, then that’s it. Again, subject to the payment of appropriate taxes,” he added. (PNA)