Aga Muhlach asks CA to stop his removal from voters' list
MANILA, Philippines - Actor Ariel "Aga" Muhlach asked the Court of Appeals on Thursday, January 3, to stop a lower court from ordering his and his wife's - actress Charlene "Mae" Gonzalez-Muhlach - removal from the voters' list in Camarines Sur.
The couple asked the CA to issue a temporary restraining order even as the regional trial court of San Jose, Camarines Sur, has yet to enforce its decision compelling the Election Registration Board (ERB) to remove the two from the voters' list.
Lawyer Romulo Macalintal said that if they will be excluded from the list, Aga may be disqualified from running as congressman of the 4th district of Camarines Sur. Muhlach is running under the ruling Liberal Party.
The regional trial court upheld on Dec 17, 2012 a decision by the Municipal Circuit Trial Court which said the ERB should exclude the Muhlach couple from the voter's list because they failed to meet the 6-month residency requirement.
Macalintal said though that the 6-month period of residency will begin 6 months before the elections - in this case, that's on on November 14, 2013 - and not before the deadline for voter's registration. Macalintal said this is what the CA said in its decision involving Rep Romeo Jalosjos Jr. The CA, in 2010, ruled in favor of Jalosjos because the 6-month residency period had yet to start when the petition for his exclusion from the voters' list was filed.
The RTC and MCTC, Macalintal said, erroneously ruled that the Muhlach couple should have met the 6-month residency period first before filing their application for voters' registration on March 19, 2012.
The Muhlach couple established their residence in Camarines Sur in February 2012.
"This is clear abuse of discretion because the law is very clear in that a voter must be a resident of the place for at least six months before the election and not before registration. Since the courts found that the Muhlachs have been residing in San Jose as of February 17, 2012 then it is as clear as the sunlight that they have more than complied with the 6-month residency before the May 13, 2013 elections, or a period of one year and 3 months from February 17, 2012 to May 13, 2013," Macalintal said. - Rappler.com