ANOTHER 57 residents in Barangay Kamagayan, Cebu City, were excluded in the list of voters in the barangay after the court granted the petition filed by three individuals against them.
With the development, a total of 120 voters from Barangay Kamagayan are no longer allowed to cast their votes in Cebu City during the midterm elections this May.
In his decision, Judge Dakila Dante Barcenas of of Metropolitan Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Branch 2 in Cebu City directed the Cebu City North District election office to exclude the 57 respondents from list of voters in Barangay Kamagayan.
Barcenas granted the seven petitions for exclusion that were filed by three residents of Barangay Kamagayan to remove their neighbors from the registered voters' list since they are no longer residing there.
Before the decision from MTCC Branch 2, Judge Monalila Tecson of MTCC Branch 1 also granted the exclusion of 64 out of 73 registered voters in Barangay Kamagayan.
Lawyer Florleane Sacares of SALiGAL Law, who served as counsel for the petitioners said the court found out that the respondents failed to comply with the six-month residency requirement as based on the testimonial and documentary evidence presented by the petitioners.
“It was sufficiently established that respondents are now residents of Barangay Cubacub, Mandaue City for over 10 years now. Consequently, they can no longer vote in Cebu City. While we agree that the right to vote is a constitutional right, we also need to remind our voters that there are requirements to follow before they can exercise that right. Residency is one these requirements. That is what is upheld by this court ruling.” Sacares said.
Despite the decision, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said the concerned residents may still file a motion for reconsideration.
In an earlier interview, Labella believes that the case is politically motivated, claiming that the residents were supporters of Barangay Kamagayan chief Raquel Avila, who is also their ally in Barug Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in Cebu City.
Labella, standard bearer of Barug-PDP-Laban, described the move as a political ploy since he would lose votes if the 173 voters will be excluded.
He said it is obvious the three petitioners were ordered by their political opponent, the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), to slash his potential votes.
Earlier, the three petitioners, through separate petitions, have asked the court to remove 173 people from the list of voters registered in Barangay Kamagayan, for allegedly failing to satisfy the domicile requirement.
These 173 voters used to live in Barangay Kamagayan, but they moved to Barangay Cubacub in Mandaue City after their houses were demolished.
Barangay Cubacub chief Almario Bihag provided a certification that the 173 voters lived in his barangay. (RVC)