Labor leader and presidential aspirant Leody De Guzman pushed ahead with his proclamation rally at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City despite lacking a permit for the gathering.
The Commission on Elections said De Guzman and running mate Walden Bello did not file for a permit, National Comelec Campaign Committee (NCCC) director Elaiza Sabile-David explained during a news conference.
De Guzman, however, said they were awaiting a response on their campaign application permit.
“Yu’n na lang ang hinahabol. ‘Yung lawyer ng Partido ng Lakas ng Masa ay inaayos na ‘yung permit sa Comelec (We’re trying to catch up on that, our lawyer was getting the permit with the Comelec),” he said.
Earlier in the day, the Comelec said there was no record of a campaign application permit filed for de Guzman’s camp.
“Definitely, it is an election offense because the requirement is they need to seek a permit first before conducting a campaign. It is an election offense,” Comelec Director David said when asked about the gathering.
Supporters of De Guzman held a caravan from Cainta, Rizal before proceeding to the venue of the rally.
The labor leader said they chose the venue due to the accessibility of those who would want to witness their rally.
He said he wanted people from all walks of life to be part of the historic moment of their campaign.
Under the “new normal” campaign guidelines of the poll body, crafted in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, applications must be filed 72 hours prior to the election-related or campaign-related event.
“Hindi po ipinagbabawal mangampanya ang kahit sino, pero yung mga public events—yung mga mass gatherings—yun ang nire-regulate natin, hindi yung right to campaign,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez explained.
“I just want to make that very clear because I’m a little concerned na, you know, something might be lost in the message na people might suddenly think na ipinagbabawal ang pangangampanya,” he added.
“Hindi po totoo ‘yan. What’s being regulated is the mass gathering—so yun po ang subject ng ating regulation. They can still campaign
using other modes of campaigning but they cannot hold mass gatherings without a permit,” Jimenez said.
David also said that De Guzman’s group would not be able to secure a special permit, even if they tried to send an application within the day.
“Hindi na po. Filed out of time na po siya. Ma-dedeny na po application nila ngayon,” David said.
So far, 71 applications have been received by the campaign committee.
Applications (1 each) from the camps of presidential aspirants Vice-President Leni Robredo and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno were denied
after having been filed out of time, the NCCC said.
De Guzman said he is still checking with his camp if they have secured a permit to hold their proclamation rally.
“I do not know yet. I have not yet spoken to the organizer, my party, about the proclamation today. I’ll check if it’s done or not but our problem is the rally is all set, that’s a problem,” De Guzman told reporters.
“We are in such a situation now that we are obliged to continue, a lot of preparations have been made,” he added in Filipino.
De Guzman added that they are ready to face repercussions.
“The party will just deal with what the repercussions will be…in that framework because we are already ready… we just know how to
explain to the Comelec ‘the activity we will launch,” he said.
“We will look into it, if it reaches there, of course, if it reaches disqualification, it is severe. I hope it will not come to that point. If there are shortcomings, I hope it does not reach disqualification and we will look into that,” the labor leader said.