April 17, 2013

Liquor Ban Philippines 2013: Comelec Extends Liquor Ban To Five Days, May 9-13

Comelec logo
Image credit: www.comelec.gov.ph
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has extended the liquor ban in the Philippines from two to five days before the May 2013 National and Local Elections in the Philippines. As indicated in the Comelec Resolution number 13-0322, the liquor ban will start on May 9 (Thursday) up to Election Day on May 13 (Monday).

According to the Comelec, the extension in the number of days was brought about by a request by MMDA Chairman Atty. Francis N. Tolentino. The MMDA Chairman submitted a letter of request last January 15, 2013.

Director Esmeralda Amora-Ladra of the Law Department issued a Memorandum on the proposed Liquor Ban extension last February 15.

Comelec's new resolution has amended its previous resolution no. 9385 (Rules and Regulations on the Liquor Ban in connection with the May 13, 2013 Automated Synchronized National, Local and ARMM Regional Elections).

Below is the complete transcript of the Comelec's minutes extending the liquor ban period during the National and Local Elections in the Philippines.

MINUTE RESOLUTION NO. 13-0322

IN THE MATTER OF EXTENDING THE PERIOD OF THE LIQUOR BAN FOR THE MAY 13, 2013 ELECTIONS
Date: 26 February 2013

This pertains to the Letter dated January 15, 2013 of Atty. Francis N. Tolentino, Chairman, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority requesting to extend the period of the Liquor Ban for the May 13, 2013 Elections; and the Memorandum of Director Esmeralda Arnora-Ladra, Law Department on the matter.
The Letter of MMDA Chairman Tolentino reads:
"This refers to the liquor ban to be implemented by the Commission on Elections in connection with the 2013 National and Local Elections.
Pursuant to Section 2 of Resolution No. 9582 issued in 18 December 2012, the Comelec has decreed that the liquor ban shall be in force effect on the day before the election (May 12, 2013) and on election day (May 13, 2013).
Furthermore, Section 3 thereof provides for an exemption for Hotels and other establishments and duly certified by the Department of Tourism as tourism- oriented and habitually hi the business of catering of foreign tourist, provided they serve a prior written authority upon showing that there are justifiable reasons therefor from the action officers enumerated in Section 4 thereof Section 3 further provides that only foreign tourists taking intoxicating liquor in said authorized hotels or establishment are exempted from the prohibition.
It is the undersigned's position that the two-day liquor ban is inadequate in addressing the evils and problems related to the taking of intoxicating drinks given that the election period covers 13 January 2013 to 12 June 2013, and it impringes on the fiesta season of the country between April and Mai/ of 2013, where alcoholic drinks is a common fare.
The unfettered consumption of alcoholic beverages nationwide especially during this periods does not aid hi the intelligent discussion of election issues by our citizens.
In addition, records of the MMDA indicate huge number of road accidents, causing deaths, injuries and damage to properties, 59 in 2010, 146 in 2011, and 95 in 2012.
With the election fever and the house to house campaigning of candidates, consumption of alcoholic drinks is common fare. This situation does not augur well in areas where rivalries for same positions or even part]/ rivalries are heated.
The gun ban which started on 13 January 2013 lasts for the rest of the election period, it applies to licensed gun owners who are a small percentage to the alcohol imbibing citizens when access to alcohol is not limited.
Given the deleterious and far-reaching effects of alcohol, it stands to reason that the liquor ban should be in effect for a longer period, just as the gun ban.
Taking into account the economic impact of the liquor ban, the exemption granted under Section 3 of Resolution 9582 should remain as it is.
The undersigned believes that the Comelec has enough powers under the Constitution to implement a liquor ban with longer duration. Article IX-C of the Constitution provides:
Sec. 2 The Commission on Elections shall exercise the following powers and functions:
(1) Enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall.
XXX
Under the Omnibus Election Code (OEC), the Comelec can promulgate rules and regulations implementing the provisions' of the OEC, the Constitution and other laws related to the conduct of elections 'for the purpose of ensuring free, orderly and honest elections'. (Section 52OEC)
While Section 261 (dd) of the OEC provides for the liquor ban only during voter registration days, day before the election and election day, said provision should not be interpreted in a very restricted manner. Under the rides of statutory construction, it is not the letter but the spirit and intent of the law that is important and which matters. In this case, the conduct of an orderly and peaceful election matters most.
It is most respectfully requested that the liquor ban be extended and be in force and effect during the election period or such other longer period as may be determined by the Comelec."
On February 15, 2013; Director Esmeralda Amora-Ladra, Law Department; submitted a Memorandum on the proposed extension of the Liquor Ban, the pertinent portion of which reads;
"xxxxxxxxx
While it is true that the Commission is vested by the Constitution the power to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of elections, this power of the Commission is not limitless - such power is limited to the enforcement and administration of existing laws and regulations. In the instant case, the second paragraph of Section 52 (m) categorically instructs in this wise:
'Unless indicated in this Code, the Commission is hereby authorized to fix the appropriate period for the various prohibited acts enumerated herein, consistent with the requirements of free, orderly, and honest elections.'
Emphasis, supplied."
Acting on the foregoing request of MMDA Chairman Atty. Francis N. Tolentino, the Commission after due deliberation RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to extend the period of the Liquor Ban from two (2) days to live (5) days. Thus, the Liquor Ban shall be in force and effect effective May 9, 2013 (Thursday) to May 13, 2013 (Monday, Election Day).
RESOLVED, moreover, to amend COMELEC Resolution No. 9385 (Calendar of Activities and   Periods of Certain Prohibited Acts   in connection with the May 13, 2013 National and Local Elections) and COMELEC Resolution No. 9582 (Rules and Regulations on the Liquor Ban in connection with the May 13, 2013 Automated Synchronized National, Local and ARMM Regional Elections) insofar as the period of the Liquor Ban is concerned.
Let the Education and Information Department publish this resolution in two (2) daily newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines.

SO ORDERED.
(Sgd.) SIXTO S. BRILLANTES, JR.
Chairman
Voted in Favor
LUCENITO N. TAGLE

Commissioner
(Sgd.) ELIAS R. YUSOPH
Commissioner
(Sgd.) CHRISTIAN ROBERT S. LIM
Commissioner
(Sgd.) MARIA GRACIA CIELO M. PADACA
Commissioner