A CANDIDATE seeking the disqualification of Margot Osmeña and Ronald Cuenco in the May elections is now accusing the two candidates of submitting “unauthenticated and uncertified” photocopies of documents denouncing their US citizenship.

Rajeni Dy, Laban ng Demok-ratikong Pilipino (LDP) candidate for Cebu City south district councilor, said the documents presented by Osmeña and Cuenco that denounced their permanent resident status in the United States were also “mere applications for abandonment” and do not “bear any approval of the concerned US official.”

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In the petition filed by Dy before the Commission on Elections (Comelc) last Dec. 5, requested the removal of the names of Osmeña and Cuenco in the official lists of candidates based on false material representation of the facts stated in their certificates of candidacy (COCs).

He said that when Osmeña and Cuenco submitted their COCs, they declared they were not permanent residents of a foreign country yet were “green card” holders.

Dy’s petition was dated Jan. 3.

After receiving copies of the documents submitted by Osmeña and Cuenco, Dy said the documents submitted by the two were

“photocopied, unauthenticated and uncertified by the legal custodian.”

He added that each of them submitted a document that was “a mere application for abandonment” of their permanent resident status in America and did not bear any approval of the concerned U.S. official.

Green card

As proof that they have waived their green cards, both Osmeña and Cuenco have submitted a document called “Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status.”

“Since it is the respondents who claim that they have abandoned their green card, the burden of evidence is on them. The question is, have they presented evidence ‘sufficient’ to prove that they have validly waived or abandoned their green card?” Dy asked.

Weird

Sought for comment, Cuenco said the burden of proof should not lie on him and Osmeña but on Dy.

“Actually, the burden of proof is on him. It’s very weird because when he filed the petition, he did not present any evidence or documents that would prove that we are still green card holders. The burden of proof always lies on the petitioner,” Cuenco said in a phone interview.

Cuenco also suggested that Dy visit the United States embassy to verify the authenticity of the documents they have submitted.

Calls to Osmeña’s mobile phone were unanswered.

But according to the documents, Osmeña gave up her US citizenship in 2007.

Osmeña’s “Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status” was dated July 5, 2007 while Cuenco’s was dated Nov. 24, 2009.

Cebu City North District Election Officer Marchel Sarno said Osmeña and Cuenco are still included in the list of candidates since the Comelec en banc has not decided yet on the petition filed by Dy.

Sarno said they can also still file a motion for reconsideration if a ruling is released.

Dy, in his petition, cited Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code which provides that the facts stated in the COCs must be true and any false representation of a material fact will be a ground for cancellation.

Fees

With this, Dy is asking the Comelec not to count the votes cast for Osmeña and Cuenco in the event the petition will not be decided before election day.

Dy also asked Osmeña and Cuenco to pay P550,000 for attorney’s fees and for exemplary or punitive damages.