Macalintal and LP are clutching at straws if they will insist that late filing is allowed and that it is meted simply a fine. They will have to argue their case at the Supreme Court, for I have a feeling that this issue will reach the High Court.
On the argument that RA 7166 provides for fines, this does not in any way negate forfeiture of seats for both can be imposed on a non-filer. Furthermore, it must be pointed out that the law imposes fines on the act of failure to file SOCE, and not on its late filing.
On the argument that RA 7166 has downgraded non-filing of SOCE as no longer an election offense but just an administrative offense, unfortunately the same law did not downgrade the penalty for non-filing which is still forfeiture of seats.
On the argument that the law intended for allowing late filing, if that is the case then the law should have granted the COMELEC the power to extend the 30 days it specified. Unfortunately, RA 7166 does not empower the COMELEC to do so, and any extension of the 30 days will amount to an amendment of the law which only Congress has the power to do. This is precisely why COMELEC through Rule 10 repealed all previous Rules it issued in past elections which allowed for late filing beyond the 30 days, for such were blatant encroachments into the powers of Congress to legislate.
If the law did not authorize the COMELEC to extend to a new deadline, then having a late filing becomes a legal fiction for it can become an inordinate act without a reckoning end time that would define the treshold for late filing.
So, for now LP, Robredo, the 5 LP Senators-Elect and all winning LP candidates are in deep deep poop!
Antonio Contreras as posted on Facebook: