Supreme Court temporarily stops NP-NPC merger
By Edu Punay
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday temporarily stopped the merger of the Nacionalista Party (NP) of presidential candidate Manuel Villar and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) headed by businessman Eduardo Cojuangco.
The Court issued a status quo ante order stopping the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from implementing its earlier decision allowing the merger, according to Court administrator and SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez following the full Court session of the magistrates in Baguio City.
The Court granted the relief sought in a petition filed by the Liberal Party (LP) led by presidential candidate Sen. Benigno Aquino III seeking to scrap the merger, which it branded as “bogus.”
Marquez said the Court at the same time directed the Comelec, the NP and NPC to comment on the petition filed by the LP, the oldest political party in the country.
In its petition for certiorari and prohibition with urgent application for temporary restraining order/status quo ante and/or writ of preliminary injunction, the LP stressed that the alliance was a “bogus coalition formed solely to rob from the Liberal Party the recognition as the dominant minority, which it held during the 2007 senatorial elections.”
The LP said the merger was a “sham, highly dubious and shameless.”
It noted that even NPC chairman Faustino Dy Jr., who signed the resolution for the NP-NPC alliance on behalf of the NPC, had admitted under oath before the Comelec that the merger was not approved by the NPC National Convention, which is a requirement under its constitution and bylaws.
The LP added that Dy acknowledged that there was no consultation made with the members of the NPC prior to its decision to merge with NP.
“The NP-NPC was never formally, and much less, genuinely organized by the NPC. It was but a mere piece of paper purposely designed to emasculate the chances of other registered political parties who rely on their own truthful qualifications in their application for the dominant minority party status,” it argued.
The LP, for its part, hailed the High Court’s decision saying that “ a coalition of political parties must not be just a piece of paper that can be registered whimsically, most especially when such purported coalition is not only dubious in its existence but is also severely tainted with bad faith and is intended to have undue advantage against those who are faithfully complying with the law.”
“We stand firm in our belief that this supposed coalition serves only the interests of those who wish to remain in power and preserve the rampant system of corruption in our country. The party remains vigilant in light of this decision, and is hopeful that the Supreme Court, in situations that might later arise, will continue to uphold the truth and deliver judgments that are fair, just, and have only the people’s interests at heart, as is its duty,” LP president Sen. Manuel Roxas II said. – Aurea Calica