3 councilors can stay, says Comelec lawyer

CEBU City Councilors Rodrigo Abellanosa, Raul Alcoseba and Augustus Pe Jr. need not resign from their posts even if they are running for another office, an official from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.

Alcoseba, who has transferred his registration from Cebu City to Carcar City, will be running for a seat in the Provincial Board in May 2013.

Pe will be running for councilor in the south district of Cebu City, despite having served three terms as north district councilor. Abellanosa is seeking a House of Representatives seat in the south district.

Cebu City south district election officer Atty. Edwin Cadungog believes these three members of the city’s legislative body don’t have to resign as city councilors.

In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu yesterday, Cadungog said they are not yet considered candidates even if they have filed their certificates of candidacy (COC).

Cadungog invoked Republic Act (RA) 9369 or the Automated Election Law, which provides that “any person who files his COC shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period.”

A Supreme Court decision in the Perena vs. Comelec case, handed down in November 2009, also provides that a person who files his COC is not a candidate until the start of the campaign period.

The campaign period this year is from March 29 to May 11 for those running for the House of Representatives and positions in the regional, provincial, city and municipal levels.

“Tungod ana, di sila kinahanglan mo-resign pa (They don’t need to resign yet),” Cadungog said.

It will be another matter, though, once the campaign period starts, he said.

Alcoseba and Pe said they are ready to resign from their posts if Comelec says so.

Both pointed out there is no jurisprudence that requires them to step down, at least for now.

Team Rama has asked the Department of Interior and Local Government to clarify whether these three councilors should continue sitting as members of the legislative body.

Alcoseba, Pe and Abellanosa are all running with the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan headed by Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district), who is facing Mayor Michael Rama in the city’s mayoral elections.
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