Elected twice, mayor is disqualified, SC decides only now

Rommel Arnado won as mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, in 2010 and in 2013. The Supreme Court decides only now that he was disqualified in 2010.

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court dismissed on Tuesday, July 2, the motion for reconsideration of Rommel Arnado, who was disqualified from the 2010 mayoral race of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, only during this year’s campaign season.

On April 16, 2013, the Supreme Court interpreted that Arnado’s continued use of his US passport as of 2010 means he had taken back his Oath of Renunciation. Holding dual citizenship, he was then disqualified to run for public office.

In that ruling, the high court subsequently installed Casan Maquiling as the winning candidate in the 2010 elections, saying Maquiling was considered the winner “as he obtained the highest number of votes from among the qualified candidates.”

In a 9-6 vote on Tuesday, the high court said Arnado failed to present any argument to justify the reversal of the court’s April decision. Justice Arturo Brion issued a dissenting opinion with 5 other justices.

Read: SC disqualifies Kauswagan mayor

Philippine laws require those running for public office to be Filipino citizens. Section 39 of the Local Government Code specifies, “an elective local official must be a citizen of the Philippines.”

But Arnado refused to adhere to the SC ruling and barricaded the entrance of the town hall days before the May 2013 elections.

In May 2013, Arnado ran for re-election under the Liberal Party banner and won against Florante Capitan.

Read: Lanao Norte mayor clings to post despite SC ruling

In June, an improvised explosive device was reportedly found outside Maquiling’s house. Authorities believe the threat was connected with his rivalry with Arnado. – Rappler.com

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