TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- The Commission on Election (Comelec) En Banc recently dismissed the protest against the elected mayor of Gonzaga town in Cagayan province.
In an 11-page decision, the Comelec commissioners ruled over the earlier resolution of the Comelec Second Division cancelling the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) of then mayoralty candidate Marilyn Pentecostes.
Earlier, Juanito Salvanera, relative of Pentecostes’ rival for the mayoralty position Rene Salvanera, filed to cancel the COC of Pentecostes for alleged material misrepresentation in her years of residency in the Philippines.
Salvanera said Pentecostes misrepresented her number of years staying in the country when the latter wrote 63 years in her COC, when in fact, she was a naturalized American from 2000 to 2015, therefore, the one year residency requirement could not “anymore be ascertained.”
The Second Division ruled that Pentecostes “falls short of the qualifications” and should be held liable for committing false representation in her COC.
But the Commissioners said Pentecostes, in her petitions, proved the fact that she had made Gonzaga town as her new domicile a year before the election, making her eligible to run for the mayoralty position.
“The burden of proof, therefore, shifted to her (Pentecostes) to prove that she effectively made Gonzaga, Cagayan her new domicile of choice as a matter of defense. Respondent’s evidence sufficiently proved this fact,” the decision said.
It added the Second Division has no jurisdiction on deciding whether Pentecostes complied with Section 5 (b) of the RA 9225, or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003.
The commissioners said that the Second Division should have only scrutinized solely on the basis of alleged falsity on Pentecostes representation regarding her residency.
“…an issue (on Section 5 (b) of RA 9225) is not raised in the Petition and was not made triable issue…the Commission should have not resolved such issue. Here, the issue was never pleaded in the Petition,” the decision said.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista and Commissioners Christian Robert Lim, Al Parreno, Luie Guia, Arthur Lim, Ma. Rowena Guanzon and Sheriff Abas signed the decision. –Northernforum.net