Gonzales on HRET decision: ‘I am vindicated’-A A +A
Thursday, February 20, 2014
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – "I respect the decision. But I am glad because it was moral vindication for me."
Thus, said former third district representative Aurelio Gonzales, Jr. on the decision of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) which dismissed the election protest he filed against current Pampanga Third District Representative Oscar Rodriguez for lack of merit.
The HRET, in its decision, said that Gonzales “prayed to disqualify protestee (Rodriguez) from holding office as Representative of the Third District of Pampanga, and annul and set aside his proclamation as elected representative of the district, among others. There is, however, no prayer to proclaim protestant as the duly elected Representative thereof.”
In its ruling, the Tribunal noted that “after a candidate has been proclaimed elected, his disqualification on grounds of vote buying, terrorism, overspending, and other election irregularities can only be sought in an election protest, this time for the purpose of annulling his election. The Tribunal spoke of annulment of election and not disqualification of elected candidate.”
“It was apparently based on technicality,” Gonzales told Sun.Star Pampanga.
He stressed that Rodriguez “does not deserve” the post he holds now.
"The decision said that my political rival does not deserve to occupy his position because he has betrayed public trust," said Gonzales, pointing to Paragraph 36 of the HRET Case No. 13-011 resolution, stating that “All told, Protestee failed to prove that the disbursements were made under the exceptions set forth under the law. Therefore, the issuance of checks and release of financial assistance fall within the ambit of vote buying as described in Section 262 of the Omnibus Election Code. Accordingly, Protestee should be held liable for his wrongdoings.”
Gonzales protested Rodriguez’s alleged vote buying, by issuing various city government checks amounting from P3,000 to P5,000 to scholars and other financial assistance beneficiaries a few days before the May polls.
“If Oca has any moral sense left in him, he should heed the decision and apologize to the people of the Third District,” said Gonzales. (With JTD)
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on February 21, 2014.