Comelec disqualifies Cauayan village chief

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Thursday, June 12, 2014


THE First Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) cancelled and set aside the candidacy of a serving barangay captain in Cauayan, Negros Occidental for his failure to comply with the residency requirement.

Based on the Comelec decision dated June 4, 2014, village chief Ernie Magbanua, who won in the October 2013 barangay polls, will be replaced by his opponent Sergio Esmores as the lawfully elected chief of Barangay Poblacion, Cauayan.

The Comelec, in a seven-page decision signed by presiding commissioner Lucenito Tagle and commissioners Christian Robert Lim and Al Parreño, also ordered the board of canvassers of Barangay Poblacion to proclaim Esmores as the winning candidate.

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The decision said that when Esmores filed the petition for disqualification against Magbanua following the election, he presented Magbanua's certificate of candidacy for vice mayor showing that he is a resident of Barangay Isio and not of Poblacion.

It added that aside from the COC, Esmores also submitted a certified true copy of an excerpt from the list of voters for precinct number 112-A of Barangay Isio as of May 13, 2013, where Magbanua is listed as a resident of that barangay.

Magbanua said the petition of Esmores is "fatally defective and is devoid of any legal and factual basis" and presented documents to show proof of his residence in Barangay Poblacion.

After a careful review of the records of the case, the Comelec commissioners found that Magbanua failed to convince them that he had indeed complied with the residency requirements.

Magbanua's presentation of his driver's license and other identification cards are not conclusive to establish one's residence, the decision said.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 12, 2014.

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