By Rey Panaligan
The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed the ruling of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) which recognized the group of Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III as the legitimate officers of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
In a resolution dated June 18 but released on Tuesday, the SC denied the plea of the group of Rogelio V. Garcia to nullify the list of signatories and officers of PDP-Laban submitted by Pimentel before the May 13, 2019 mid-term elections.
In 2018, Garcia convened the members of PDP-Laban and ousted Pimentel and then House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez from the top posts of the ruling political party. Garcia came out as president.
When the Comelec ruled on Nov. 28, 2018 in favor of Pimentel’s group and the list of officers he submitted to the poll body, Garcia challenged the ruling before the SC and sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order or an injunction.
In resolving Garcia’s petition, the SC said:
“After a judicious study of the case, the Court resolves to dismiss the instant petition for failure of petitioner Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, represented by Rogelio V. Garcia, national president, to sufficiently show that the public respondent Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in declaring the Sworn Information Update Statement (SIUS) and List of Authorized Signatories filed by respondent Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel IIII to be the legitimate and official SIUS and list of PDP-Laban for the May 13, 2019 national and local elections in its Nov. 28, 2018 resolution.
“As correctly found by the Comelec, without a direct challenge questioning the legitimacy of the group of Senator Pimentel as the officers of PDP-Laban, and a consequent adverse ruling by the Comelec against such officers, it must continue to recognize them as the legitimate officers authorized to act for and in behalf of PDP Laban.”
But the SC pointed out that its ruling on the petition filed by Garcia “is without prejudice to the filing of a direct challenge by petitioner (Garcia) questioning the legitimacy of Senator Pimentel’s group before the Comelec.”
“Consequently, the application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction is denied,” the SC ruled.