Carpio shudders at no-el scenario in May 2022: 'Delikado yun'

Published October 1, 2021, 6:15 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Depsite the obvious challenges presented by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the May 2022 national and local elections must take place, or else the country might find itself in a dangerous scenario.

(Mark Balmores/ File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Retired Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio gave this warning to Filipinos during the Oct. 1 edition of the Friday News Forum, where he discussed the possibility of “no-el” or no elections come May 9, 2022.

“It’s very dangerous. We should avoid it (no-el) at all cost,” said Carpio, a senior convenor of opposition force 1Sambayan.

“I think there will be an election [because] we don’t have a choice. There is no legal ground to cancel the election or postpone it,” the said when asked if he thinks the polls next year, au not push through because of the health crisis.

He said that not having a new set of elected leaders, especially in Malacañang, will pave the way for a military takeover of the country.

“Kapag walang na-elect, that means wala tayong presidente legally. Wala tayong legal president noon of June 30, [2022] (If nobody gets elected, that’s means legally, we don’t have a president. By noon of June 30, 2022, we won’t have a legal president).

“Who will take over the country? Who will run the country? Ang sasabihin ng military, wala kaming commander-in-chief eh, kami na ngayon ang commander in chief (The military will say, there’s no commander-in-chief, so we are now the commander-in-chief),” Carpio said.

According to him, a no-el scenario in 2022 will render the constitutional line of succession inapplicable. This is because there won’t be a president, a vice president, or House members around since all of their terms will have been expired.

The only high elected officials left would be the 12 remaining senators, but they won’t be able to elect a president since 12 doesn’t make up a majority in Congress, the former magistrate said.

“If [President] Duterte thinks na susunod sa kanya military (that the military will follow him), I doubt it. Kasi (Because) the military will follow the chain of command. Titignan nila, ikaw ba ang presidente? Tapos na yung term mo (They will ask, are you the president? Your term is over), you are not the president anymore.

“Delikado yun (That’s dangerous). We will be in uncharted waters if we don’t hold the elections. We must not allow that situation to happen,” Carpio futher said.

He said that such scenario is the exact reason why he rejected the idea of a junta in the aftermath of President Joseph Estrada’s resignation in 2001.

“Sabi ko (I said), no [to the junta]. You have to follow the succession. Succession is important because only the successor can become commander-in-chief sa [in the] military. Why is the military following the civilian president? No matter what sumusunod sila (they follow). Because commander-in-chief nila (it’s their commander-in-chief).

“Kapag nawala yung commander-in-chief nila, may rason sila, wala kaming commander-in-chief, kami ngayon ang highest in command. Kami ngayon ang masusunod (If there commander-in-chief I gone, they will have a reason to say, we don’t have a commander-in-chief, we are now the highest in command. We are now in charge),”