MABALACAT CITY -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Second Division in Manila has dismissed the disqualification case against the candidacy of Mayor Marino Morales, who is seeking reelection in the upcoming polls.
In its decision dated January 13, the poll body stated that the disqualification case filed by former vice-mayor and mayoralty candidate Noelito Castro against the mayor suffers from several procedural defects.
On October 20, 2015, Castro filed the case before the Office of the City Election Officer of Mabalacat City.
In his petition, Castro asked the Comelec to disqualify Morales in the upcoming elections alleging that Morales “made a false representation that he is eligible to run as mayor although the latter has already served three terms.”
The Comelec order signed by Presiding Commissioner Al Parreno and commissioners Arthur Lim and Sheriff Abas enumerated the procedural defect as "lack of verification, failure to furnish respondent a copy of the petition and failure to comply with the efficient use of Paper Rule."
Under Comelec Resolution 9523, "it is required that a petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy for any elective post be verified."
It also requires the petitioner, before filing the petition, to furnish the respondent a copy of the same through personal service or registered mail.
The Comelec decision added that the petitioner “is also required to submit a soft copy of the petition, together with its annexes, in accordance with the Efficient Use of Paper Rule.”
Morales decided to seek re-election replacing former mayoral candidate Willie Feliciano of Aksyon Demokratiko.
Morales filed his certificate of candidacy on October 16 before the local Comelec in Mabalacat City after his lawyer Romulo Macalintal confirmed that there are no legal impediments and the mayor is still qualified to run.
Morales was first elected as mayor in 1995, a few years after the town was devastated by the Mount Pinatubo eruption.
Under Morales’ stewardship, Mabalacat was converted into a component city in 2012.
Also under the Morales administration, the Mabalacat City College and the Mabalacat Community High School were also established.
Other achievements include the city’s 10-year solid waste management plan from 2015 to 2024; permanent housing projects for victims of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in Barangays Mawaque, Camachile and Madapdap; and vital infrastructures such as the Mabiga Interchange.