LP kicks out Camarines Norte gov over mistress scandal

MANILA, Philippines – In the aftermath of an infidelity scandal that went viral online in late 2014, Camarines Norte Governor Edgardo “Egay” Tallado looked at the bright side of things. 

At least, he told supporters then, the issues surrounding him were connected to his personal life and not to corruption.

But the ruling Liberal Party, to which he belongs, doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the governor. In a resolution dated June 15, 2015, the LP kicked out Tallado after he was found “guilty of committing grossly immoral conduct.”

Tallado made headlines late 2014 after his wife, Josie, went missing on October 17, 2014. Josie herself later revealed that she had gone into hiding because of threats to her life by her own husband.

Josie said the governor accused her of uploading photos of him and his alleged mistress on Facebook. She also claimed to have seen on the governor’s cellphone a sex video of Tallado and his mistress.

Later, photos of Tallado with a naked woman who was not his wife went viral on social media.

In its resolution, the committee said that the ruling party’s “Tuwid na Daan” (Straight Path) – its catchphrase for its anti-corruption and transparency drive – also includes “maintaining leaders with high moral fiber and integrity.”

“The LP can only be as reputable as its members. To enable the LP to be an effective instrument in achieving the Tuwid na Daan, it is necessary that its members should strive at all times to uphold the honor and maintain the dignity of the party, even in their private lives,” said the resolution.

The committee noted that only “grossly immoral” acts would merit removal from the party. The LP concluded that Tallado had committed a “grossly immoral act,” citing the Supreme Court’s decision in Garrido v Garrido and Valencia.

“Immoral conduct is gross when it is so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act, or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree, or when committed under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as to check the community’s sense of decency,” the SC ruling in the case stated.

Given the SC’s definition of “grossly immoral acts” and the public’s reaction to Tallado’s photos with his supposed mistress, the committee said the governor “not only casted doubt as to his moral integrity but it also tarnished the good name and reputation of the LP as a whole.”

“Although the LP has no business in meddling with its members’ marital problems, the magnitude of the scandal is so overarching that it did not only smear [Tallado’s] image, but also that of the party,” the resolution read.

“The committee hereby resolves to remove respondent Tallado from the roll of LP members,” read the resolution, which was signed by the following LP officials: 

Other reasons for dismissal junked

The decision stemmed from two different complaints filed by Tallado and Daet, Camarines Norte, Mayor Tito Sarion.

Tallado first filed a complaint against Sarion, which asked for the latter’s removal from the LP because of his alleged disloyalty to the party, his spreading of rumors against Tallado, and for having supposedly “lost his political following in his own municipality.”

Sarion answered back by filing a complaint against Tallado, also accusing him of disloyalty to the party, violating Sarion’s right to due process, “immorality and commission of acts inimical to the interest of the party,” and the commission of dubious acts which led to “several criminal and administrative cases” over human rights violations and illegal mining operations.”

The LP, in its resolution, said there was “no sufficient cause” to oust either Tallado or Sarion from the party on the basis of disloyalty. The two officials had accused each other of entertaining and accommodating politicians from rival parties in their localities.

The party also thumbed down Tallado’s other reasons for kicking Sarion out of the party. “More importantly, the LP does not turn its back from its members just because they have become, as alleged herein, weaker.”

It also rejected Sarion’s appeal to kick Tallado out on the basis of the pending cases against him. “The committee recognizes the latter’s constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty,” said the committee.  Rappler.com