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DAPITAN, Philippines – House Majority Leader Manuel “Mannix” Dalipe has been designated as the caretaker of the 1st District of Zamboanga del Norte, ending a four-month leadership vacuum after the Supreme Court (SC) stopped Romeo Jalosjos Jr. from assuming the post.
The office of Speaker Martin Romualdez said on Monday, November 7, that Dalipe, who is Zamboanga City 2nd District representative, will serve as Zamboanga del Norte 1st District caretaker until the election controversy in the province is resolved.
The leadership vacuum in Zamboanga del Norte’s 1st District resulted from the Supreme Court’s status quo ante order on July 21, almost a month after the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) proclaimed Jalosjos as the winner in the May elections.
The order means a rewind, and that all acts and rulings made by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) about the electoral dispute between Jalosjos and his rival Roberto Uy Jr. after May 12 cannot be enforced yet.
Jalosjos, who ran for reelection in May, told Rappler on Monday, November 7, said he has yet to receive an official communication from the House leadership.
He said he was conferring with his lawyers about the case and the designation of Dalipe as a caretaker.
It was unclear why Dalipe was named caretaker when Zamboanga del Norte has two other representatives, Glona Labadlabad of the 2nd District, and Adrian Ian Amatong of the 3rd District.
The 48-year-old Dalipe, the elder brother of Zamboanga City Mayor John Dalipe, ran for reelection in May as a candidate of Lakas-CMD led by Vice President Sara Duterte.
The Dalipes are among the leaders of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s political organization in Zamboanga City that walloped the Climaco and Lobregat political dynasties.
Their aging father, Manuel Sr., is a former Zamboanga City mayor who once served as a pilot of the late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos.
The electoral dispute in the 1st District of Zamboanga del Norte started when the election results showed Uy ahead with 69,591 votes against Jalosjos’ 69,107, a margin of only 484 votes.
The elections board subsequently proclaimed Jalosjos the winner after crediting the votes cast for a mysterious third candidate, one Federico Jalosjos, to the reelectionist congressman.
Federico, who registered the nickname “Kuya Jan” – Jalosjos’ nickname is “Kuya Jon” – was declared a nuisance candidate on June 7.
Federico’s 5,424 votes were then credited by the Comelec to Romeo Jr., increasing his votes to 74,533.
The PBOC convened on June 23 and proclaimed Jalosjos as the winner.
Uy, however, put up a fight, questioning the move to proclaim Jalosjos as the winner before the SC. He maintained that the results showed that he garnered the most votes on election day. – Rappler.com