Press Release
January 7, 2022

Dispatch from Crame No. 1201:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the need for the COMELEC to immediately throw out the Cusi petition


The silence of Malacañang on the Cusi petition to reopen the filing of COCs and postpone the printing of ballots is deafening. Coming from the party of the President, the petition is impliedly supported by the administration in the absence of any pronouncement to the contrary coming from Malacañang.

On the other hand, despite the outlandish nature of the petition, the COMELEC has chosen to let it subsist for the time being, instead of dismissing it outright for being highly irregular.

Let us be clear. The presumed grounds relied on, i.e., the pendency of disqualification and accreditation cases, has existed for as far back as there have been elections; and yet, it has never been an impediment to the holding of timely elections. Kahit nga ang disqualification case noon na tinangkang isulong laban kay FPJ, o ang kwestyon sa accreditation ng party list Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga, o "MAD", ay hindi naging hadlang sa pagtuloy sa 2004 at 2001 elections. Walang espesyal sa mga kasong pending sa COMELEC ngayon.

In short, there is no precedent for a petition of this kind, simply because the finalization of the list of candidates has always been imbued with urgency for the COMELEC to still entertain any petition of such kind that would effectively delay an already tight election schedule. COMELEC's preparation for the elections always operated on the basis of clockwork implementation, leaving no room for delays, much less a deliberate scheme to set the schedule back to October, four months before election day. So there is absolutely nothing special about the Cusi petition that would warrant it to be taken seriously enough by the COMELEC, for the latter to allow its masterminds and proponents to succeed in their bid to delay - nay, derail - this fundamental democratic process.

Because this is what the Cusi petition is all about. It is nothing more than a deliberate scheme to set back the election clock to October.

The only thing notable about this scenario is the significance of the date February 2, 2022 - the date when the Chairperson and two (2) Commissioners of the COMELEC itself are due to retire.

Unless COMELEC throws it out at once, instead of blatantly wasting time until their retirement, there are ample grounds to speculate that the scheme is indeed being pushed in order to bring about a no-election scenario. This is because by February 2, all COMELEC commissioners will be Duterte appointees.

Duterte is also expected to replace the three outgoing Commissioners with loyal appointees. By that time, it won't be difficult for the Cusi petition to breeze through the COMELEC, especially if the new Chairperson and Commissioners will be coming from the party leadership of the PDP-Laban Cusi Wing itself. This is not so farfetched, considering the rumor going around that the Secretary General of the Cusi Wing, Atty. Melvin Matibag, is being groomed as the next COMELEC Chairperson.

If that happens, as they say, "tapos na ang boksing" or, more appropriately, tapos na ang eleksyon. Because of this, I am fully supporting the plan of the Senate leadership to elect, before Congress adjourns in June 2022, a senator serving as the interim Senate President who will take over as caretaker President of the Republic in accordance with Sec. 7, Art. VII of the 1987 Constitution, in the event that the Cusi "no-el" scheme comes to fruition with the connivance of the COMELEC.

Tama na ang pag-dribble sa issue. Otherwise, the date 2-2-2022 will live on in infamy. Ito ay maaaring petsa ng tuluyang pagtampalasan ng mga kampon ni Duterte sa ating Konstitusyon at Demokrasya. Sobra na. Tama na. I-dismiss na ang petition na yan. ###

(Access the handwritten version, here:

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