Lawmakers oppose SC ruling on Reyes disqualification

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

MORE than 100 congressmen have signed a resolution insisting that the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) holds jurisdiction over all poll cases involving their colleagues following the Supreme Court's (SC) final ruling on the disqualification of Marinduque Representative Regina Ongsiako Reyes.

Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali said that "more than a hundred and counting" congressmen have signed his House Resolution 597.

The resolution is to reiterate "adherence to the time-honored principle on the exclusivity of jurisdiction of the HRET over all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of its members to preserve the integrity, dignity and reputation of the House and its members."

Last week, the SC ruled with finality on the disqualification of Reyes. The decision benefits the son of Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, Lord Allan Jay, who had taken his oath of office last July.

Reyes, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, went to the SC after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) stripped her of victory for being an American citizen.

Under the Constitution, the HRET has the sole jurisdiction over all poll cases involving congressmen.

"There is an urgent need to observe strict compliance on the exclusive of jurisdiction of the HRET... to clarify and express without doubt the relationship among the Comelec, Supreme Court and the HRET," Umali said in his resolution.

Umali earlier threatened filing an impeachment case against SC justices over the court's ruling on Reyes, and its supposed "flip-flopping" on the constitutionality of the pork barrel system.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. had said that Umali's threat will not get the support of the leadership.

“If he does that, he will have to do it in his personal capacity,” Belmonte said. (Sunnex)

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