COMELEC SOCE Debacle: ‘Sovereign will of the people’ is NOT a valid argument @commrguanzon!

There is something fundamentally wrong about Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon’s defense of the decision of the COMELEC en banc to bend election rules to accomodate the Liberal Party’s late submission of its Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).

COMELEC Commissioner Rowena Guanzon invokes 'the people's soveriegn will' in her flawed defense of the en banc ruling.

COMELEC Commissioner Rowena Guanzon invokes ‘the people’s soveriegn will’ in her flawed defense of the en banc ruling.

According to COMELEC rules, all candidates and their nominating parties had until the 8th of June to submit their SOCEs. This deadline, according to the same rules, is non-extendable. The Liberal Party failed to comply, instead, submitting its SOCE on the 14th of June, six days past this deadline. The COMELEC, in an en banc ruling decided to accept it in direct violation of its own rules.

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Taking to social media to air her views on the matter, Guanzon cites the notion of the “sovereign people’s will” as the doctrine at stake in this on-going debacle…

In a series of tweets on Friday, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon defended the en banc’s decision to extend the deadline of SOCE submission.

Guanzon is one of four commissioners who voted in favor of the extension, along with Arthur Lim, Sheriff Abbas, and Al Parreño.

“The people voted for them; respect the will of the people. That is the primordial principle in the elections,” she wrote.

She said the law does not prohibit extension, adding that the poll body had already extended the deadline in 2013 and 2010.

“Procedural rules cannot prevail over the sovereign will of the people. The Supreme Court has ruled that many times,” said Guanzon.

The trouble with Guanzon’s argument is that it muddles together two separate issues — (1) this “will of the people” she cites and (2) the role of the COMELEC in governing the expression of that will.

In the circumstances surrounding the SOCE debacle, nobody is disputing the supremacy of this “people’s will”. Indeed, the COMELEC is recognised as the sole authority in the noble duty of honestly and transparently channeling this “will” via the electoral systems and processes that it implements and governs.

The effecting of these systems of channeling and governance necessarily requires consistently-applied rules. In that regard, the COMELEC did that part of their job competently as well, making all these rules readily-accessible for scrutiny by the public via its excellent website.

Suffice to say then: the COMELEC had, erstwhile competently, laid the foundation for an orderly elections to transpire and, arguably, a transparent means for the people’s will to be expressed via an institutionalised process.

Guanzon, therefore, issues an astoundingly flawed argument when she now excuses the COMELEC’s summary changing of its own rules. In a Facebook post, noted columnist Inday Espina Varona debunks that argument quite succinctly…

Candidates and parties are obligated to act in a way that protects the voters’ choice — starting with following rules and laws, as they are sworn to do.

It is NOT the Comelec’s job to bend backwards for the candidates in the name of voters. That is as sorry an excuse as I’ve ever heard.

The meaning of 'people power' has since been buried under an avalanche of misguided Filipino thinking.

The meaning of ‘people power’ has since been buried under an avalanche of misguided Filipino thinking.

The COMELEC, in short, is acting unfairly. To an easy target such as Filipino voters, it had applied its rules to the letter so much so that it took a Supreme Court order for the COMELEC to desist from its threat to deactivate registered voters who failed to comply with a rule requiring them to submit to a biometrics data collection procedure. Using that as a precedent, the COMELEC should have acted in a similarly consistent manner by applying its established rules to resolve the SOCE debacle and defer to the Supreme Court to issue a final ruling on the matter.

Indeed, the whole idea that the “sovereign will of the people” is an end and a doctrine in and of itself is but a tired and long-discredited relic of 1980s “people power” political rhetoric. The idea that people can simply band together in big numbers and shout down institutions and established authority has been perverted far beyond all recognition. It has evolved from being a source of pride for Filipinos to being an abject embarrassment. Guanzon’s public statements demonstrate that these forms of sloppy thinking continue to prevail in the Philippines’ political discourse which is in dire need of an overhaul.

As evident in the way Filipinos — including prominent and supposedly educated ones like Guanzon — apply this flawed thinking to their politics, the prevalence of such wrong notions in the national debate could have ramifications that could hobble the Philippines’ march towards modernisation and maturity over the long-term.

[Photo courtesy]

26 Replies to “COMELEC SOCE Debacle: ‘Sovereign will of the people’ is NOT a valid argument @commrguanzon!”

  1. “To Guanzon, here are some for our “will of the people”

    We, the filipino people have lost trust in COMELEC because of people like you who have perverted the institution to the very core to suit your own ends.

    We, the filipino people have had enough of your empty rhetorics such as this sovereign will of the people rubbish… Whats next? Will of God? Fuck you COMELEC.

    Since the filipino people have lost trust in your institution, it would be better just to turn it upside down, investigate it by a body appointed by the real will of the people, erring officials penalized and/or jailed, then dissolved to be replaced by a real election institution with afresh set of people to run it.

    So once again…. fuck you COMELEC.

  2. The ‘will of the people’ is total BS.This ruling is the ‘will of 4 out of 7 commissioners’. How many of the LP congressmen,mayors etc. that would be unable to hold office received 50% of the votes of their electorate? Electorate,not votes cast. Are we even talking about the ‘will of the majority? To extend this to the extreme,if less than 50% voted for any presidential candidate,would the will of the people be that the position would be left vacant,as the majority have (not) voted?

    Will COMELEC have to issue a written judgement,together with dissenting opinions,in due course,or will it be done via social media? I suppose by then everybody bar a few diehards will have moved on to the next topic of the day,and the foreign investors the country needs will have reinforced their views that a written contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on,and not only do the goalposts keep moving,you can’t be sure they even exist.

  3. Its totally fucked up! They have to nerve defying the law! Very disappointing from government officials thats why Philippines have gone backwards to poverty stage because of this kinds of people!

  4. In this day and age, political criminals are not afraid to show how dirty the politics here, The International Community is watching since typhoon yolanda and the crisis in west Philippines Sea. I think UN should impose economic sanctions against this criminals or It can snowball to something worst than ordinary political crisis.

  5. Quoting this:

    “She said the law does not prohibit extension, adding that the poll body had already extended the deadline in 2013 and 2010.”

    Those Laws/Resolutions were already “REPEALED” I repeat “REPEALED”(revoked/removed/ammended/etc.) by the Dec. 2015 Law/Resolution 9991 Rule 10. She’s twisting the laws those said laws as if it was still existing which were actually even erased on their site since it was “REPEALED”.

    Atleast Mr.Lim stepped down of office after what they have done from “BREAKING THE LAW” damaging their credibility as lawyers. These kind of people should have their licenses revoked and banned from ever taking office in government for eternity.

  6. law was established for a reason, to have an order on things and facilitate a better institution. Whether a law is less or more important than any other law, it is still should be upheld and follow by the authority and the people. Nobody should be above the law, all law breaker should be punished in accordance to law they break…no more and no less. Even a simple elementary student understand these, and those guys called themselves lawyers….what a big big joke?

  7. My ass it’s because of “sovereign people’s will”. They break the rule simply because the people concerned are from LP. Breaking the rules for a bunch of law breakers. No irony there though. It’s COMELEC under the strings of those who assist the LP to win via cheating. Is why the sovereign people’s will really is for COMELEC and LP cheating to stop.

  8. Revisiting this article,a thought struck me.Would Commissioner Guanzon be as keen on the ‘sovereign will of the people’ expressing itself as a lynch mob hellbent on suspending her from the nearest tree?

  9. “Sovereign will of the People” ? What, if the “Sovereign will of the people”, was Taken Over by the “Will of the HOCUS PCOS Machine”?

    Guanzon’s absurd argument, to justify her accommodation of the Liberal Party”s SOCE, is the most nonsense argument, I have ever heard. The decisions of four corrupt people; she claimed to be the : “Sovereign will of the people”…

    The COMELEC itself has lost its credibility. It became the tool of Aquino , to commit electoral fraud.

    A thorough investigation of the whole SMARTMATIC electoral system. A complete overhaul of the COMELEC is needed. Those who committed fraud; and allowed themselves to be used by Aquino to commit electoral fraud; must be investigated; and if found wanting in their duties: they must be prosecuted and punished…unless this is done, the tainted credibility of the COMELEC cannot be restored…

    We must clean our house…there are many pests in our house, playing around like rats, like Guanzon and her cahoots…

  10. if they will follow the law, leni will be disqualified and bongbong will be the vice president. if they violate the law, they will let leni take the oath as vice president, then disqualify her so that the senate president will be the vice president. the SC will decide a disqualification after leni take her oath.

    just distribute hacienda luisita to the farmers and it’ll be all over no more to die for.

  11. Fuck you LP!

    You had how many days to prepare the SOCE? From the start, you could have kept and documented the receipts of the contributions received + 30 days after election day… You failed to do so. Now you and your puppets claim “will of the people”.

    You want the will of the people? Kiss my hairy ASS.

    1. No way, because Guanzon and her other corrupt cahoots, claim themselves to be : “the Will of the Filipino people”…Aquino and the Cojuangcos are the people behind the shadows pulling the strings of these COMELEC puppets. Hacienda Luisita is the root of all these evils !

      1. It’s all a “Chekwa” conspiracy to invade the country from within, by destroying its political and economic infrastructure first, before the actual invasion begins.

  12. Need I point out that there is law in place and you can’t just “tweak” it for the sake of convenience? If they think that the law needs fixing for the “will of the people” then by all means fix it…but do it in the proper way not in some half-assed spur-of-the-moment action.

    Need I bring up the “allowed” unconstitutionality of the DAP/PDAF is due to “good faith” excuse?

    1. I can come your house and rob you. Then, tell the Court : “I did it in good faith”…I will be then not be punished for robbing you; because I robbed you in good faith…

  13. “Will of the people” has always been the will of the few in power. Still the case unless people really get their act together to bowl over the few.

  14. The will of the people AKA pnoy will prevail in SC decision..First time comelec ever win in |SC..Anything geos as long pnoy still in power

    1. Yeah, SC is also composed of corrupt piece of crap judges ever since the housewife brainless puppet cory aquino came in power hence are Justice System became a joke. They definitely will favor the yellows and disregard those solid evidences for breaking the “Rule of Law” as long as their pockets are filled with millions of pesos.

      Really hope Pres. Duterte will remove all yellow administration officials since they mostlikely won by election fraud with the help of that “Law Breaker” Comelec Officials!

  15. There’s more to this than the delay in submission. Look at the figures: Leni Robredo officially declared P420M, LP P240M. That is about a mere P660M so far! Incredible! How much will Roxas declare? At, say, P500M, that would mean just over P1B total SOCE. Only P1B?! These SOCEs could be used to nail the LP for underdeclaration of contributions and expenditures.

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