Team Rama bets ask Comelec to drop Pe

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) was asked to disqualify Cebu City Councilor Augustus Pe Jr. from running for another term in the May mid-term elections for violating the 1987 Constitution on the three-term limit.

Team Rama council candidates Ronald Diola and Tisha Aisha Gonzalez filed a motion for partial reconsideration, asking the Comelec to declare Pe ineligible to run for councilor in the south district.

The petitioners, through their lawyer Delon Richie Ramon Urot, also asked the poll body to cancel Pe's certificate of candidacy for lack of residency and for violating the three-term limit rule.

The poll body committed "serious reversible error" when it ruled that Pe did not violate the three-term limit rule, the petitioners said.

Pe, they said, is "clearly legally incapable and ineligible" to run again for a fourth consecutive term for city councilor, whether in the north or south district.

Residency

In its ruling promulgated on Feb. 1, the Comelec First Division disqualified Pe from seeking a fresh mandate for lack of residency.

Although it ruled that Pe did not violate the three-term limit when he filed his certificate of candidacy for councilor in the south district, the Comelec held that the councilor failed to establish his residency in the north district for at least one year prior to the Election Day.

"The conditions for the application of the three-term rule are not present in the instant case for the respondent is not running for the same government position," the Comelec said in explaining why it focused on the residency issue, instead of the term-limit case.

In disqualifying Pe, the poll body pointed out that while the councilor presented proof he has a residence in the south district, he failed to show that he already abandoned his other residence in Barangay Capitol Site.

The Comelec pointed out that Pe continues to serve in the north district when he is already supposed to be a resident of the south district.

The 14-page ruling was signed by Commissioners Rene Sarmiento, Armando Velasco and Christian Robert Lim.

The case stemmed from the disqualification petition lodged by two Team Rama candidates for councilor in the south district, Diola and Gonzalez against Pe.

Motion

Pe, of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), filed his motion for reconsideration on the Comelec ruling disqualifying him from seeking reelection for lack of residency.

In the pleading, Urot said he disagrees with the Comelec ruling that Pe did not violate the three-term limit rule.

"The issue on the three-term limit rule, incorrectly and mistakenly disregarded and brushed aside, is very material, if not more material and important than the residency requirement," said Urot.

Urot also asked the Comelec to issue an order directing the Board of Election Inspectors in Cebu City not to count any votes cast for Pe.

In case their motion is not resolved before May 13, Urot asked the Comelec to direct the election officials to exclude the votes received by Pe from counting.
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