IN our junior year in law school, we were taught that in this jurisdiction a party to a case has the duty to present evidence in the amount required by law to establish his claim or defense. That duty is called the burden of proof.

We were likewise taught that our rules also recognize that there are facts that can be inferred from the existence of other facts that have already been proven. The inferences are called presumptions.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

Many of these presumptions, our law professor told us, find their roots in practicality and common sense. For example, it is presumed that a person who possesses a thing that is not stolen owns the same. Can you imagine being required to prove to anyone who cares to know that the mobile phone one is carrying is really his?

Rajeni Dy is a candidate for Cebu City councilor in the south district. I do not think many have heard of him; I certainly haven’t, until lately when he sought the disqualification of two of his rivals, Margot Osmeña and Ronald Cuenco. However you regard the man, his was a stroke of genius, public relations wise. Suddenly, he has crossed the great divide between anonymity and front page status.

Now, whether his sudden popularity or notoriety, depending on which side you’re coming from, is sufficient to get him elected, is of course an entirely different thing.

But he certainly made people start talking about him and sent one law student, who is almost four decades separated from junior law, scurrying to a refresher course on evidence.

Dy claims that Osmeña and Cuenco are not qualified candidates because they are permanent United States residents. The two BOPK candidates say it is not so, they have already renounced their permanent residency status as shown by the documents which they attached to their answer to Dy’s petition.

Dy quickly pointed out, however, that the papers were “unauthenticated and uncertified” and therefore did not prove anything.

But who has the burden of proof? What is the presumption?

Isn’t there a presumption in favor of the qualification of Osmeña and Cuenco and by extension the validity of their certificates of candidacy? If there is, shouldn’t Dy have the burden of proof of establishing the contrary? What proof has Dy submitted to overcome that presumption, assuming that one exists?

Or has that burden of proof been rendered moot and academic by Osmeña’s and Cuenco’s admission that they used to be permanent residents of the US but have already renounced that status?

Has the onus now been shifted to the two to establish their claim of renunciation? And if such were the case, are Osmeña and Cuenco required to attach certified and authenticated documents to their answer otherwise they are considered to have waived their right to produce these documents to the Comelec?

There is no doubt that Dy’s petition is politically motivated.

If Osmeña and Cuenco are disqualified, that means two less rivals for him to contend with. And then, there’s the propaganda windfall that he has been able to reap.

On the other hand, we cannot quarrel with the legitimate need to ensure that only those who are qualified to run are allowed to offer themselves as candidates. Otherwise, there will be mockery of the elections.

But for the same reason, shouldn’t Dy’s candidacy be also thoroughly examined? He may have all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications to run for Cebu City councilor but is he capable of waging a credible campaign? Apart from his having been nominated by the LDP, what is there to show that he has a decent chance of winning? Don’t disqualified and nuisance candidates, in a sense, belong in the same category?

(frank.otherside@yahoo.com)