THE camp of Palawan Representative Abraham Kahlil Mitra has expressed concern to the poll body's first division over the alleged circulation of a draft on a decision denying Mitra's certificate of candidacy (COC).

Lawyer Sixto Brillantes, who represents Mitra, filed a manifestation with expression of apprehension to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Monday morning.

Brillantes stated in his manifestation that he has was informed via telephone that the alleged draft of the decision/resolution of the first division was circulating in some areas of the province of Palawan, including the city of Puerto Princesa on February 6.

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Mitra’s lawyer said the supposed copies of the draft were circulated by individuals identified with the camp of "ultra-rich gubernatorial candidate Pepito Alvarez," a known rival of his client.

Brillantes said the camp of Alvarez have continuously boasted that Mitra will be disqualified by the commission as Liberal Party's candidate for governor of Palawan.

The formal decision is scheduled to be promulgated by the first division on February 10.

“This manifestation shall likewise serve as an expression of apprehension and deep concern of respondent on the existence of probable irregularities respecting the above case, and the said existing circulating draft, and its probable repercussions on the official resolution scheduled to be promulgated only come February 10, 2010,” the manifestation cited.

For his part, Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal denied that the draft being circulated was the same draft prepared by the first division where he belongs.

“It looks different...I would like to ask Atty. Brillantes how he got the copy and who gave congressman Mitra a copy of that. We did not release that,” Larrazabal said.

The commissioner assured that the decision of the first division will be based on the merits of the case.

The poll body is already conducting investigation on the incident. Initial reports have reached the commission that the copies of the supposed drafts came from Congress.

San Vicente Mayor Antonio Gonzales, an ally of Alvarez, earlier filed a petition to Comelec questioning the residence status of Mitra.

Gonzales accused that the incumbent Palawan congressman falsely stated his place of residence to be in Barangay Isaub, Aborlan when in fact, he is said to actually live in a family residence in Puerto Princesa City.

Mitra's camp however insisted that he has abandoned his domicile of origin and has established a new domicile in the municipality of Aborlan.

In the alleged draft, the first division has decided to cancel the COC of Mitra.

“The evidence presented by Gonzales and Balbon, consisting of affidavits and sworn statements from barangay officials and residents of Aborlan, and from former employees and customers of the Maligaya Feed Mill, unmistakably shows that Mitra does not reside in said Maligaya Feed Mill and is not a resident of the Municipality of Aborlan,” the draft stated.

Since the ballot face has already been generated, Mitra's name will still be included in the ballots. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)