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An election lawyer has said that vice president-elect Leni Robredo can still assume her post with or without the filing of the Statement of Contributions and Expenditures by the Liberal Party since she had filed her own SoCE.
Atty. Romulo Macalintal explained that the will of the people cannot be set aside on mere misdoing or omission of the political which nominated a winning candidate.
Macalintal said the provision of Section 14 of Republic Act 7166 that failure of the political party which nominated the winning candidate to file the SOCE could prohibit the latter from assuming the office for which he or she was elected is of doubtful constitutionality because “it violates the bill of rights provision that no person shall be deprived of his life, liberty, or property without due process of law or without having been heard.”
“And the right to occupy an elected position cannot be deprived a winner without giving him or her the chance to be heard. In a word, their right to assume the offices for which they were elected is not dependent on whether their parties’ had filed the parties’ SoCE but should be reckoned from the candidates’ having filed their own individual SoCE,” said Macalintal in a statement.
He said the failure of the LP and standard-bearer Manuel A. Roxas II to file their SoCE on time is a simple case of late-filing and not considered as “non-filing.”
At most, Macalintal said, the LP and Roxas might be asked to pay a fine ranging from P1,000 to P30,000 in the discretion of the Comelec as provided for under Paragraph 4 of Republic Act 7166.
“Thus, it is too premature to say that Robredo and other winning candidates could not assume office since their said assumption is still on June 30, 2016 and for sure by that time the LP have already filed its own SoCE,” he said. (Leslie Ann G. Aquino)