THEY had all the time to submit their petition to remove 173 people from the list of voters registered in Barangay Kamagayan, Cebu City after it was discovered that the same 173 people had been living in Barangay Cubacub in Mandaue City for more than a decade.
But no, Enriquita Cripe, Anita Telen and Gina Umbao waited until the deadline, Feb. 1, to do so.
And because they did, Floro Casas Jr., the legal counsel of the 173 people, found a way to stop them in their tracks.
You see, the court called the three petitioners’ lawyer, Florleane Sacares, that the P50,000 they paid for the docket fee was not enough so they ended up paying the balance on Feb. 7, which, by the way, was way past the deadline.
And because of that, Casas said he planned to submit a written argument to support his motion to dismiss the petition against his clients.
Sounds convoluted, doesn’t it?
Of course, it does. It’s an election issue that involves lawyers. What else can you expect?
But here’s what I’d like to know.
Who are Cripe, Telen and Umbao? What’s it to them that the 173 people continue to vote in Cebu City even though they now reside in Mandaue? The three women must be loaded if they could afford to shell out more than P50,000 for their petition. If they’re not, then who shouldered the amount?
Mind you, I’m not saying they’re wrong, by the way. Because, when it boils down to it, those 173 people really don’t have any business voting in Cebu City if they no longer live there. Unless, of course, they work in Cebu City or have their business there. Or is that how it works?
But how come that was never a problem in the past elections? Because if they’ve been away for over a decade, we’re talking about, at the very least, several elections that they have gotten away with voting in Kamagayan. Undetected.
But here’s an interesting detail.
The 173 people reportedly support the mayoralty bid of Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella. They also supported Kamagayan Barangay Captain Raquel Avila in the last barangay elections.
To those who don’t know, Avila was one of 22 barangay captains in Cebu City who were slapped with administrative and criminal complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman for their failure to liquidate the cash assistance they received from the City Government in previous years.
And if you still haven’t gotten with the program, well, those barangay captains are all known allies of the Barug Team Rama, which, I think, is now called Partido Barug. Then again, this was back in May last year, so I’m not sure if they still are all loyal to the party of former mayor Michael Rama, who, by the way, is the running mate of Labella.
But as I said, this is election season. The midterm polls are less than three months away. And I’m pretty sure the three petitioners are batting for the other team, whose candidates, even though some of them are incumbents, are not taking things for granted and will move heaven and earth to ensure a victory.
Because, let’s face it, this is not about three women out on a noble quest to right a wrong. Which is just my assumption, anyway. But if indeed they are, which, again, I find highly unlikely, then kudos to them. The country needs more people who stand up to their principles, who believe in justice, who are unselfish, and not people who are willing to be political pawns for financial gain.