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Derailed elections equals civil war?

12:47 AM March 21, 2016

The case that former senator Richard Gordon filed against the Commission on Elections highlighted how Philippine laws merit only selective compliance even among government offices: The Supreme Court had to enjoin the Comelec to issue vote receipts for the 2016 elections as required by law. But the Comelec now counters that doing so may imperil the 2016 elections.

At the same time, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that Sen. Grace Poe is qualified to run for president.  Many quarters see this as a flawed decision, suggesting once more how compliance with Philippine laws may be highly selective.

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Indeed, a law may be needed to more closely detail qualifications for public office. But no law has been filed for this purpose, encouraging selective compliance with our laws. Indeed, recent claims by the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay—that the release of a Commission on Audit report on an overpriced Makati building is merely a political gambit—further reinforce public impression that Philippine laws can be bent as needed by any party to suit its specific need.

Laws are so loopholed that compliance becomes difficult; especially when enforcement is even more sloppy, the result can only be chaos.

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In the event that the 2016 elections are indeed derailed, will this mean an automatic extension of President Aquino’s term of office? If this happens, will Filipinos be the usual meek lambs that will just accept this turn of events? Or could there be another

Edsa, given the present dissatisfaction about rampant corruption, nonexistent jobs, congested traffic and other ills long deemed unacceptable by the general public?

The risk of a civil war seems all too real if selective compliance is allowed to flourish further in the run-up to the May 2016 balloting. We hope that the contending political forces realize the danger and take steps to move the country away from that precipice.

—JOSE OSIAS, [email protected]

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TAGS: Comelec, Commission on Elections, Elections 2016, former senator Richard Gordon, SC, Supreme Court, vote receipts
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