‘Pe councilor of city, not district’-A A +A
Thursday, October 11, 2012
MAKING good its promise, Team Rama filed petitions before the Commission on Election (Comelec) Manila and sought to disqualify two candidates in next year’s elections.
One petition seeks to deny due course or cancel the certificate of candidacy (COC) of Cebu City Councilor Augustus Pe Jr. of Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), who is running for councilor in the south district, despite having served three terms as north district councilor.
The other petition seeks to declare Bert Abella a nuisance candidate.
Councilor Jose Daluz III, Team Rama’s campaign manager, said that Pe is identified as a Cebu City councilor and not just as councilor of one district.
Daluz pointed out that even in the committee chairmanship, each councilor is chairman of committee covering the city as a whole, and it does not specify if a committee caters only to the north or south district.
The three-term limit is applied when a person runs for the same office and for the same manner of entering office, which in Pe’s case, is through an election.
As for Abella, who filed his COC as an independent candidate, Daluz said the team believes he will not be able to wage a campaign, which is one of Comelec’s description of a nuisance candidate.
The poll body says a nuisance candidate is one who puts “the election process in mockery or dispute, to cause confusion among voters by similarity of names or by other circumstances that demonstrates that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for office.”
Hans Abella, Team Rama’s candidate for south district councilor, stands to be affected if Bert is allowed to pursue his bid.
Team Rama candidates for councilor Tricia Ilaya and Raddy Diola are the petitioners in both complaints.
The team also sought a resolution from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to clarify whether Pe and Councilor Raul Alcoseba should continue sitting as city councilors.
Alcoseba filed a COC for Provincial Board member of the first district of Cebu Province.
Both Pe and Alcoseba said they are willing to resign from the City Council if ordered.
“I’m just waiting for whatever the Comelec says,” said Alcoseba. He said he will not resign on his own volition because there is no jurisprudence that requires him to step down.
Daluz pointed out that if former Cebu City councilors Hilario Davide III and Gabriel Leyson resigned from their posts when they decided to run for governor and mayor of Talisay City, then Alcoseba should do the same.
In separate interviews yesterday, Pe and Alcoseba said they already expected Team Rama’s action.
Pe said he has long been ready with his defense. He refused to discuss it yesterday, though, since he has yet to receive a formal copy of the petition.
He received a copy of the petition last Tuesday, but it did not bear a signature of a Commission on Elections staffer indicating that the petition was received by the poll office.
But Cebu City south district election officer Edwin Cadungog said the copy already serves as an official copy because the rules state that the parties concerned should be furnished a copy of the petition by the petitioners before it is filed.
Reporters waited in Cadungog’s office yesterday to get a formal copy of the complaint but Team Rama’s lawyers has not provided them a copy of the document yet.
The petitions were filed in Manila, and the local Comelec office is expected to be given a copy.
When Pe transferred his voter’s registration records from the north district to the south district, he had with him a copy of a jurisprudence that disallowed a candidate to run for the same position after serving three terms in the municipality that eventually became a city.
The argument was that the candidate will be serving the same constituents.
In the case of Pe, he will be elected by a different set of constituents in the same local government unit (LGU).
He also has a transcript of an opinion of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes, who said that there is no need for a councilor to resign from office if he intends to run in a different district of the same LGU.
Daluz dismissed the argument as a mere opinion of a Comelec official and not that of the commission.
Earlier, Comelec 7 Director Temie Lambino said in a radio interview that a petition for disqualification would be a good way to resolve the issue on whether one should be allowed to run for the same position in another district.
He said it will be helpful to have a jurisprudence on the matter so similar cases in other parts of the country can be resolved.
“This is a common problem in other areas with two or more legislative districts… Filing a petition for disqualification is a remedy to know if there is a need to disqualify,” Lambino said earlier.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 11, 2012.