LDP v COMELEC
The General Counsel of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), a registered political party, informed the COMELEC by way of Manifestation that only the Party Chairman, Senator Edgardo J. Angara, or his authorized representative may endorse the certificate of candidacy of the party’s official candidates. The same Manifestation stated that Sen. Angara had placed the LDP Secretary General, Representative Agapito A. Aquino, on “indefinite forced leave.” In the meantime, Ambassador Enrique A. Zaldivar was designated Acting Secretary General. However, Rep. Aquino filed his Comment, contending that the Party Chairman does not have the authority to impose disciplinary sanctions on the Secretary General. As the Manifestation filed by the LDP General Counsel has no basis, Rep. Aquino asked the COMELEC to disregard the same.
Whether or not the ascertainment of the identity of the political party and its officers is within the COMELEC’s jurisdiction
The COMELEC correctly stated that “the ascertainment of the identity of [a] political party and its legitimate officers” is a matter that is well within its authority. The source of this authority is no other than the fundamental law itself, which vests upon the COMELEC the power and function to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election. In the exercise of such power and in the discharge of such function, the Commission is endowed with ample “wherewithal” and “considerable latitude in adopting means and methods that will ensure the accomplishment of the great objectives for which it was created to promote free, orderly and honest elections.” However, by giving both wings representatives in the election committees, the COMELEC has eroded the significance of political parties and effectively divided the opposition. The purpose of according dominant status and representation to a minority party is