By Ben Rosario
Even before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal could start accepting electoral protests, a former congressman has aired intention to seek the annulment of the proclamation of his winning rival.
Former Rep. Eugene De Vera said he could be the first filer of a petition for quo warranto against his opponent in Marikina City after the Commission on Elections failed to resolve a case he filed before the poll body.
Chaired by Supreme Court Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, the HRET may accept election protests as soon as the winning congressional candidates have been proclaimed, have taken their oath as members of the House of Representatives and has officially assumed the office.
De Vera said the start of accepting protests could be the day the Lower House started its first session day under the 18th Congress.
The former ABS Partylist congressman admitted that he has lost hope in seeing the Comelec reach a decision to the petition for the cancellation of certificate of candidacy filed by Liberal Party bet Stella Quimbo, who resigned as commissioner of the Philippine Competition Commission to run for congressman.
The Comelec’s First Division was unable to resolve the case 15 days before election day on May 13 as required under the Omnibus Election Code, said De Vera.
“The law is clear about this, it is mandatory for the Comelec to decide on the case 15 days prior to election day. It did not,” said De Vera.
De Vera was a former member of the 17th Congress who was removed from his post after the ABS Partylist which he represented, voted to replace him. The move came days after he questioned Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez for supporting now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the ouster of Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as speaker.
De Vera maintained that Quimbo, wife of incumbent Rep. Miro Quimbo, is barred from joining the elections under Republic Act 10667 or the Philippine Competition Act.
Under RA 10667, PCC commissioners are prohibited from running in the “election immediately succeeding their cessation from office”.
Before filing her certificate of candidacy as substitute candidate on November 22, 2018, the LP congressional candidate was still active as PCC commissioner.
De Vera has asked the Comelec to cancel Mrs. Quimbo’s certificate of candidacy 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 for 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 the passage of the measure whose principal authors included current Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and incumbent Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro, a former congressman.