Pacquiao’s brother faces legal challenge in congressional bid

Edwin G. Espejo

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Pacquiao’s brother faces legal challenge in congressional bid
Rogelio 'Roel' Pacquiao wants to run for congressman in Sarangani. But he is still barangay chair and councilor in General Santos – in South Cotabato.

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Now that world boxing champion and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao has announced he is running for senator, his younger brother Rogelio “Roel” Pacquiao wants to run for the congressional post he is vacating.

He may face legal challenges, however. Roel is currently a councilor of General Santos City, which is located in another province, South Cotabato. He is actually an elected barangay (village) chairman, but he occupies a council seat by virtue of his being president of the Association of Barangay Chairpersons in the city.

Roel transferred residence to Sarangani earlier in 2015, in preparation for a possible run for the lone congressional district of the province.

But legal experts are saying he may face a disqualification case when he files his certificate of candidacy next week. The reason: he is still the barangay chairman of Apopong in General Santos City and has not resigned from his post.

City Councilor Franklin Gacal Jr said Roel is qualified to run in Sarangani by virtue of his domicile. 

But a Manila-based lawyer said that, according to the Supreme Court, the principle that will govern in election cases is animus revertendi (intention to return).

“Since it is an intention and therefore a state of mind, it is established through circumstantial evidence – that is, the candidate’s overt acts – and must manifest itself at least one year before the election,” said the lawyer who requested that his name be withheld.

“Roel’s continuous act of serving as councilor of Gensan is a strong indication of his intention to remain a resident of the city,” the lawyer said.

It depends

Another lawyer, Mike Abas, who is also Soccsksargen director of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), declined to comment on the possibility of Roel Pacquiao being disqualified.

He said it will depend on the documents that will be presented and submitted by petitioners if ever there will be a question on Roel’s qualification.

The Pacquiaos were residents of Tango in Glan, Sarangani, before they transferred residence to General Santos City.

Roel Pacquiao ran but lost to Representative Pedro Acharon Jr for the 1st congressional district of South Cotabato in the May 2010 election. He was at the time still the village chair of Apopong, where he was allowed to seek reelection in October the same year.

Manny Pacquiao also ran for the same congressional seat but lost to then reelectionist Darlene Antonino Custodio in 2007.

In 2010, Manny transferred residence to Kiamba, Sarangani, hometown of his wife Jinkee. He won against Roy Chiongbian then and ran unopposed in 2013. 


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