Comelec division junks disqualification bid vs. Makabayan bloc, Colmenares

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The Commission on Elections First Division dismissed a case that sought to disqualify the registration of the Makabayan bloc and former senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares from last year's elections due to insufficient evidence. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 25) — The Commission on Elections First Division dismissed a case that sought to disqualify the registration of the Makabayan bloc and former senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares from last year's elections due to insufficient evidence.

In a resolution dated January 30, shared on Tuesday, Comelec said petitioner Angela Aguilar's argument calling for the disqualification had "no leg to stand on."

On April 26, 2019, Aguilar sought to disqualify the registration of Bayan Muna Party-List, Anak Pawis Party-List, Kabataan Party-List, Alliance of Concerned Teachers Party-List and General Assembly Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leader and Action Party-List and Colmenares as candidates for the 2019 national and local elections due to alleged ties to communists. Colmenares ran under the opposition-led party Otso Diretso during the senatorial race.

Comelec said the petition claimed that the accused were connected with the New People's Army and had used their campaign to call for the President's ouster with tarpaulins bearing "OUST D30," "PATALSIKIN SI D30 ABUSADO" and "PATALSIKIN PASISTANG D30."

The Party-List System Act states that advocating violence or unlawful means and failing to comply with election-related laws, among other conditions warrant a cancellation of registration.

The Makabayan bloc and Colmenares denied links to the NPA and argued that the banners with the subversive statements were faked.

Comelec said Aguilar failed to provide independent proof to confirm the authenticity of the tarpaulins. She only submitted an affidavit that was already similar to her petition, Comelec said.

The agency added that there was also no evidence submitted to show that the Makabayan bloc or Colmenares were behind the posting of the said tarpaulins.

The commission also noted Aguilar's failure to appear in court hearings and even during the pre-marking of evidence, which the agency ruled as showing "lack of genuine interest" to pursue the case.

"It must be borne in mind that the burden of proof rests on Petitioner's shoulders. For, 'it is well-settled that he who alleges must prove'," the resolution stated.