‘Unregistered voter’ files candidacy for mayor-A A +A
Friday, October 5, 2012
CEBU CITY -- Despite a court decision declaring that he is not a registered voter of Cordova town, boxing promoter Rex “Wakee” Salud filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) in Cordova on Thursday.
Accompanied by 2,000 to 3,000 supporters, as police estimated, Salud, his candidates for vice mayor and councilors filed their COCs at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) after hearing mass past 9 a.m.
The Municipal Trial Court in Cities earlier declared that Salud is not a registered voter of Cordova. Salud appealed the decision before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) but Judge Raphael Yrastorza Sr. denied his appeal last October 1.
In an interview with reporters, Salud said he will exhaust all legal means to be able to run for Cordova mayor.
“Kutob sa mahimo nako, padayunon gyud nako (I will do all I can to pursue my electoral bid),” he said.
Likewise, Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy said he will also do everything to thwart Salud’s efforts to challenge him in his reelection bid.
In an interview, Sitoy said he will file three cases against Salud, including a petition seeking to cancel the boxing promoter’s COC, a complaint for perjury for alleged false statements in his COC, and contempt of court for insisting on filing his COC even if he was disqualified as a voter.
Sitoy will also ask that Cordova’s Election Registration Board be cited in contempt for not heeding the court order declaring Salud to be a non-registered voter.
The mayor wondered why the town’s election registrar denied Salud’s application for inclusion in the list of registered voters in Cordova, yet accepted his COC.
Sitoy said he is optimistic Salud cannot pursue his political plans in Cordova.
“Welcome to Cordova Prison… He will be campaigning in jail,” said Sitoy.
Salud’s lawyer Magnificos Cañete said they will file a motion for reconsideration.
They are also considering filing a motion for Judge Yrastorza to inhibit from the case.
Cañete said the judge overlooked some evidence they presented, that is why they are confident that their motion for reconsideration will be granted.
“If the court that will decide is only impartial, then our motion will not be denied,” he said.
Arvin Maghanoy, Cordova’s election officer, said they accepted Salud’s COC because they have not received any advice from Comelec.
They sent a copy of the court order to the Comelec’s law department Tuesday afternoon.
Sitoy had threatened to ask the court to cite Salud and the election officer in contempt if Salud was allowed to file a COC despite the court decision denying his registration as Cordova voter.
But Cañete said the court cannot cite Salud in contempt because there was no court order preventing him from filing a COC.
Cañete said 155 residents of Cogon issued testimonies that Salud resides in the place. The barangay captain also issued a certification that Salud is a resident of Cogon.
Cañete said that though Salud’s businesses are in Cebu City, “he is in Cogon most of the time.”
He said Salud has been a resident of Barangay Cogon, Cordova since June last year.
Now, Salud lives in another house in Barangay Poblacion because the house in Cogon will be renovated.
Salud said he decided to run because of the people’s clamor for change, but that it was boxing champion Manny Pacquiao who urged him to register as voter of Cordova.
“Pirmiro wa gyud koy plano. Pero gisultian ko ni Manny nga magpa-rehistro ko kay basin mag-invest siya sa Cordova (At first, I have no plans to register as a voter here. But Manny told me to register here because he plans to invest in Cordova),” Salud said.
“I’m not a politician. I only ask that I be given a chance to serve. If they see no change during my first term, I will step down,” he said in Cebuano.
The police estimated Thursday’s crowd to be from 2,000 to 3,000. The supporters carried red flaglets bearing Salud’s name, and wore T-shirts bearing Salud’s face.
For his part, Provincial Elections Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano said it is the ministerial duty of a Comelec officer to accept the COC of anyone who wishes to run for an elective post.
“We don’t have the discretion. For instance, we had the discretion to choose whose COC we will accept, who do we choose? If that’s the case, we might as well be the one to determine who will win,” Castillano said.
He said only the Comelec en banc decides whether or not Salud’s COC should be denied.
Castillano said a court ruling will also be needed to deny Salud’s COC, and that the candidate be given due process.
Asked if Salud’s group will request that Cordova, which has 24,602 voters, be considered an area of concern, Maghanoy said it will be discussed during a peace and order command conference by the Comelec and the Philippine National Police. (RSB/FMG of Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 05, 2012.