FOR Benhur Salimbangon and Celestino “Tining” Martinez III to ventilate all their arguments in court, the Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG) asked the Supreme Court (SC) to allow an oral argument between both parties.
The OSC filed yesterday afternoon a motion for reconsideration. It told the SC that since the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) ruled in favor of Salimbangon, while the SC ruled in favor of Mar-tinez, there is still some doubt on who really won the May 2007 elections in Cebu Province’s fourth congressional district.
The controversy “is not simply about two feuding congressional candidates, but, foremost, a cause for the determination of the true will of the electorate,” the solicitor-general said in the motion.
As this developed, Makati City Rep. Teddy Boy Locsin told the House he hoped Martinez could take his oath last night or today.
“I hope that we shall have the grace to concede to the winner when the winner has been declared... Other people will suspect that we don’t want to give him what remains of the pork barrel,” said Locsin.
Martinez’ family, he added, has been waiting for days for him to be sworn in.
The SC ruled last Jan. 12 that Martinez defeated Salimbangon by about 5,000 votes during the May 2007 elections. The ruling also stated it is “immediately executory.”
Contrary to the HRET’s ruling, the Supreme Court said 5,401 votes cast for “Martinez” and “C. Mar-tinez” should be counted in Martinez’s favor, instead of being declared stray.
But in its motion, the solicitor-general’s office said:
“Since the court in this case did not meet all the issues presented, then it cannot be said that its Jan. 12, 2010 decision clearly and distinctly expressed the facts and the law on which the decision was based.”
Delon Urot, Salimba-ngon’s lawyer, said that as a result of the OSG’s motion, the SC decision in favor of Martinez cannot be considered final and executory.
When sought for comment, Martinez said that the OSG already waived its right to participate in the case.
“I have a copy of their motion addressed to the SC. The SC decision was final,” Martinez added. He furnished Sun.Star Cebu a copy of the motion he was referring to, but it was dated October 26, 2009.
Rep. Pablo Garcia (Cebu Province, 2nd district) also confirmed the OSG’s filing of its motion for reconsideration.
“Our communication from the solicitor-general said that there ought to be no oath-taking because as far as the HRET is concerned, in that office, Representative Salimbangon has won,” added Garcia.
Garcia and Salimba-ngon are party allies in One Cebu.
He pointed out that under Rule 14 of the Revised Rules of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, the HRET “shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the House of Representatives.”