Electoral protest vs lawmaker junked-A A +A
Monday, October 10, 2011
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The electoral protest filed against Representative Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales (3rd District, Pampanga) by losing candidate Jose D. Quiwa III, following the former’s landslide victory in the 2011 congressional race, has been dismissed.
In a resolution last August 18, the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) cited Quiwa’s gross disobedience to the Tribunal’s lawful orders as the reason for the dismissal.
Based on the resolution, Quiwa’s repeated failure to pay the requisite cash deposit was a “violation of Rule 33, HRET rules, and in gross disobedience to the lawful orders of the Tribunal.”
HRET records showed that Quiwa failed to pay at the outset the initial cash deposit of P130,000 required to be made upon filing the complaint, and belatedly made the deposit only after the HRET issued a resolution requiring him to show cause why his election protest should not be dismissed.
Subsequently, Quiwa failed, on three separate occasions and despite direct order from the HRET, to remit the cash deposit required.
Gonzales won with 195,651 votes over Quiwa’s 24,640 votes or a margin of 171,011 votes.
As this developed, Gonzales said he was studying possible legal actions against Quiwa following the dismissal of the electoral protest.
“My lawyers have already briefed me about my legal options, considering the gravity of Quiwa’s malicious and vicious accusations against me that cast my name and reputation in bad light and caused me and my family undue emotional pain and public humiliation,” Gonzales said.
In his protest filed on May 24, 2010, Quiwa accused Gonzales of perpetrating massive and systematic cheating through large-scale vote buying and vote padding and shaving, rigging of the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines and connivance with Commission on Elections.
Gonzales, who challenged Quiwa to produce proof and witnesses to his allegations, did not file a counter-protest as he expressed confidence in the record mandate given him by his constituents.
“Quiwa’s protest was an affront to me especially but also to the entire electoral process, the duly constituted Comelec and to the electorate of the third district of Pampanga who gave me an overwhelming mandate only a miserable loser would fail to respect,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales said Quiwa could not just go around maligning people’s reputation by making baseless accusations of election cheating and election fraud and expect to get away with it.
Gonzales said he was not surprised by the HRET’s dismissal of Quiwa’s protest.
“I knew from the start that the election protest was filed for political and harassment purposes,” he said.
Gonzales, now on his second term, has recently been designated as assistant majority floor leader in the House of Representatives.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on October 11, 2011.