LP neophytes lose their bid for House seats
MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court dismissed on Tuesday, October 22, the cases involving two Liberal Party (LP) neophytes fighting for their seats in the House of Representatives.
Voting 5-4, the SC en banc denied the petitions filed by winning Marinduque Rep Regina “Gina” Reyes and defeated Quezon congressional candidate Wigberto “Toby” Tañada Jr to claim the congressional seats they vied for in the May midterm elections.
The Commission on Elections disqualified her for failing to renounce her American citizenship only a day after the May 13 midterm elections on grounds that she is an American citizen and had failed to comply with the one-year residency requirement.
Prior to the disqualification, Reyes — daughter of incumbent Gov Carmencita Reyes — defeated reelectionist Rep Allan Velasco, son of SC Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr, by a lead of around 4,000 votes.
The SC affirmed its earlier June 25, 2013 decision, prompting Reyes to accuse the senior Velasco of “wielding his influence” to make the tribunal uphold her disqualification to favor his son.
SC spokesman Theodore Te told a press briefing that the June 2013 ruling dismissed the petition for reconsideration for its "failure to show grave abuse of discretion" on the part of the Comelec. The court ruling affirmed the Comelec decision which, in effect, disqualified Reyes from running in the May 2013 elections.
The decision, penned by Associate Justice Jose Perez, was concurred in by Justices Teresita De Castro, Roberto Reyes, Bienvenido Reyes, and Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno. Dissenters included Associate Justices Marvic Leonen, Arturo Brion, Martin Villarama, and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. Five justices did not take part in the proceedings, including Associate Justice Velasco himself.
Meanwhile, the SC denied the petition of Tañada which challenged the proclamation of rival Angelina "Helen" Tan.
The court explained that since Tan had already assumed office, the case should be forwarded instead the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET).
On June 29, the Comelec granted Tañada's petition to credit to him the votes cast for a disqualified bet that shared his surname and nullify Tan's proclamation.
Tañada got 80,698 votes, while Tan got 84,782 votes. Alvin John Tañada, who was disqualified after his name was printed on the ballots, garnered 7,038 votes.
Despite the Comelec ruling, Tan was sworn into office on the same day by a Regional Trial Court judge. - Rappler.com