Aga Muhlach asks CA to save his bid for Congress

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Thursday, January 3, 2013


ACTOR Aga Muhlach asked the Court of Appeals (CA) on Thursday to set aside the ruling of a local court in San Jose, Camarines Sur that directed the provincial election registration board to delist him and wife Charlene Gonzales from the official list of voters for the May polls.

If implemented, Muhlach is in danger of being disqualified as candidate for the fourth congressional district of Camarines Sur. He is running under the ruling Liberal Party.

In a 50-page petition filed through lawyer Romulo Macalintal, the celebrity couple likewise asked the CA to issue a temporary restraining order or a status quo ante order against the December 17, 2012 ruling of the RTC, saying they will suffer irreparable injury and that they will be deprived of their constitutional right to vote.

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Petitioners further alleged that the respondent RTC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in refusing their registration as voters of San Jose even when the court found that petitioners “have been residents of San Juan, San Jose, Camarines Sur, from (at the very least) 17 February 2012 or one year and three months before the May 13, 2013 elections, which is more than the constitutionally mandated six months immediately preceding the election requirement.”

Macalintal said that petitioners were not given the opportunity to be heard on appeal without their memorandum, and the RTC did not even bother to consider any of the evidence on record, which paved the way for the respondent RTC to arbitrarily, whimsically and capriciously order the exclusion of petitioners from the voter’s list.

“The assailed Decision dismissing the appeal and granting the petition for exclusion of petitioners as voters of San Jose, Camarines Sur is without substantial basis is arbitrary, capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment equivalent to grave abuse of discretion,” the petition stated.

They said the petition for the exclusion filed against the Muhlachs on October 5 was premature and precipitately filed because the six-month period of residency before the May 13, 2013 election was yet to begin on November 14, 2012.

Petitioners claimed that if the May 12, 2012 period to register is to be strictly followed, then a lot of voters who registered before that date could be disqualified, including former President Joseph Estrada who registered as new voter of Manila on May 10, 2012.

“If Estrada could register early, why not the Muhlachs? What is sauce for Estrada should likewise be sauce for the Muhlachs,” said Macalintal in the petition.

Records show that the Muhlachs filed their application for registration as voters of San Jose, Camarines Sur on March 19, 2012. The Election Registration Board (ERB) of San Jose approved their registration on September 28, 2012.

On October 5, a petition for their exclusion was filed by some registered voters of San Jose alleging their alleged non-compliance with the period of residency required of a voter.

Three weeks later, the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of San Jose reversed the decision of the ERB.

The Muhlachs appealed the MCTC decision to the RTC, but they were denied in its December 17 decision, prompting them to elevate the case before the CA. (JCV/Sunnex)

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