By Ben Rosario
The state’s guarantee of fairness in trade competition and in the election will be put to test in a case filed by a Marikina City congressional bet before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
In a disqualification case filed before the Comelec, former ABS Party-list Rep. Eugene de Vera called for the exclusion of Liberal Party (LP) candidate Stella A. Quimbo, who is seeking the congressional post that will be vacated by her husband, third-term Rep. Miro Quimbo.
Before filing her certificate of candidacy (COC) as substitute candidate on November 22, 2018, the LP congressional candidate was still active as commissioner of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), an independent government body tasked under the law to enforce and implement the administrative provisions of Republic Act No. 10667 or the Philippine Competition Act.
De Vera has asked the Comelec to cancel Mrs. Quimbo’s COC for violation of a provision of RA 10667 that restricts PCC commissioners from running in the “election immediately succeeding their cessation from office.”
Under the law, Commissioner Quimbo may only be qualified to run as barangay official on the election that will follow her resignation as PCC official.
RA 10667 was passed during the 16th Congress as a measure that seeks to promote fair competition in trade and prohibit anti-competitive agreement, anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions, and other unfair trade practices.
Ensuring fairness and prohibiting collusion among competing business enterprises, the law created PCC to guarantee the strict implementation of the law and thus requires strict rules of conduct for appointed commissioners.
Rep. Quimbo strongly backed passage of the measure whose principal authors included current Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and incumbent Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro, a former congressman.
In his petition, De Vera asked the Comelec to declare Quimbo “ineligible” as a candidate for congressman and cancel her COC.
Should the Comelec fail to resolve the case before election day, De Vera urged election officials to be directed to exclude the votes received by Quimbo.
According to De Vera, his congressional rival made a false statement in her COC when she claimed to be qualified to run for a congressional post although the law clearly indicates she is not.
Meanwhile, Marikina City Rep. Bayani Fernando, who is seeking re-election aired hopes the Comelec will consider the urgency of resolving the case in the “interest of fairness.”
Fernando said the resolution of De Vera’s petition is of primordial interests among Marikina folk.