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SC formally closes issue on Comelec liquor ban


After the Commission on Elections (Comelec) earlier abandoned its pursuit for a longer liquor ban period during the election season, the Supreme Court has formally closed its doors on the issue.

In a one-page resolution signed by SC Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal, the high court dismissed for being moot and academic a petition filed by the Food and Beverage Inc. and International Wines and Spirits Association seeking to stop Comelec Minute Resolution No. 13-0322 on a five-day liquor ban.

The high court junked the case upon the request of the poll body, through a manifestation filed last May 9, which informed the SC that the Comelec had already recalled the contested minute resolution through Resolution 9691, bringing back the liquor ban duration to the original two days, from May 12 to 13.

"The Court resolved to... consider this case as closed and terminated; and inform the parties of such termination," the high tribunal ruled.

The extended liquor ban was supposed to have started last May 9 and lasted until May 13, Election Day. On May 8, however, the high court issued a temporary restraining order, cutting the liquor ban period back to just two days.

In their petition, Food and Beverage Inc. and International Wines and Spirits Association said the extended liquor ban will cause "irreparable injury" to the beverage industry. They also accused the poll body of acting "in excess of its jurisdiction" when it allegedly modified the provision of Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, which specifies the prohibited acts during election period.

Following the SC's TRO, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said on the same day that the poll body was unlikely to contest the SC stop order.

Brillantes admitted that the Comelec had "not been pushing hard for" the extended liquor ban anyway. The following day, on May 9, the poll body issued Resolution No. 9691, reverting to the two-day liquor ban. — Mark Merueñas/BM, GMA News