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SC justices back Sereno in SQA order vs. Comelec money ban

Supreme Court magistrates have formally supported the status quo ante (SQA) order issued by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno stopping the implementation of the Commission  on Elections (Comelec) resolution against large cash withdrawals before the May 13 polls.

To recall, an SC resolution days before the elections said the order was "[g]iven by authority of Chief Justice [Maria Lourdes Sereno] upon written recommendation of member in charge."

In a two-page resolution on the matter issued June 4, the SC en banc "confirmed" Sereno's order against Comelec Resolution 9688, which disallows cash withdrawals exceeding P100,000 per day and the carrying of P500,000 cash from May 8 to 13, 2013.

"The Court Resolved to Confirm nunc pro tunc the Status Quo Ante Order issued on May 10, 2013," read the resolution signed by lawyer Enriqueta Vidal, SC Clerk of Court.

Nunc pro tunc is a phrase that theoretically applies to rulings or acts that are allowed to be done after the time expires.

Sereno's SQA order stemmed from a petition filed by the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) accusing the Comelec of acting outside its jurisdiction when it issued the controversial ban.
"The powers conferred to Comelec under the Constitution... do not include the power to impose limitations on the withdrawal of cash, encashment of checks, conversion of monetary instruments into cash, and the possession or transport of cash," the petition read.
The petitioners said the ban violated the due process clause of the Constitution. "The means it employs are not reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of its purpose and are unduly oppressive upon individuals," they said.

Comelec issued the resolution supposedly to prevent vote-buying on the days leading to the midterm elections.

The poll body, following Sereno's order, later on amended the resolution in which discretion was left to bank tellers and officials whether to allow cash withdrawals of P100,000 and above. — Mark Merueñas/KBK, GMA News