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More than 500 election cases face dismissal by Comelec by the end of the year

from NAMFREL Election Monitor Vol.2, No.24
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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) posted on their website on November 9 a Notice to the Public signed by Law Department director Atty. Esmeralda Ladra, which states:

"Please be advised that the records of the cases listed hereunder are no longer available at the Law Department. Hence, all parties concerned and/or their counsel may file their manifestation of intention to actively pursue the case and submit copies of all their pleadings and evidence filed with the Investigating Officer for purposes of reconstitution on or before December 31, 2011 at the Investigations and Prosecution Division, Law Department, Commission on Elections, 8th Floor, Palacio del Gobernador Bldg., Intramuros, Manila from 8:00 o’clock in the morning to 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon.
Failure of the parties or of their counsel to do so, their cases shall be deemed ABANDONED and consequently, will be DISMISSED."
The Notice lists down more than 500 election cases:
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- 380 cases as of August 2011 under the heading "Inventory of Election Offense Cases pending Preliminary Investigation (1997-2000) - Only the case number is known to the Law Department and investigating officers no longer connected with the Commission"
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- 35 cases as of August 2011 under the heading "Inventory of Administrative Cases pending Investigation (1997-2006) for Reconstitution - Records in the Law Department were burned down with the Comelec Main Bldg. in March 2007 / Field Officers and some of the investigating officers are no longer connected with the Commission"
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- 131 cases as of August 2011 under the heading "Inventory of Election Offense Cases pending Preliminary Investigation (1997-2006) for Reconstitution - Records in the Law Department were burned down with the Comelec Main Bldg. in March 2007 / Field Officers and some of the investigating officers are no longer connected with the Commission"
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- 13 cases as of August 2011 under the heading "Inventory of Administrative Cases (1997-2007) - Only Case Number known to the Law Department and the Investigating Officers no longer connected with the Commission"
The sheer number of cases with records lost in a fire and some other reasons indicate that the Comelec may need to improve their record-keeping and archiving efforts at the least. One of these cases up for dismissal due to lost records was one filed on May 6, 1998 by the Comelec against "Joseph Estrada et al." Another case, filed on January 6, 1999, listed "Atty. Ray Sumalipao, et al" as respondent. The case was assigned to former Comelec commissioner Atty. Virgilio Garcillano for investigation.

Sources inside the Comelec said in many of the cases, the complainants simply "lost interest" in pursuing the case. On the list however, more than 50 of the cases have the Commission on Elections listed as Complainant, and in many instances, the respondents are Comelec employees. In 2003, at least five cases were filed by Comelec against several Boards of Canvassers. As they are on this list, it means that these cases against Comelec personnel have not been properly investigated or resolved.

The complete list of cases facing dismissal is available here: http://bit.ly/u9yuCG
 
 
 
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