Comelec disqualifies Cagayan guv from 2022 polls

MANILA. Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba.
MANILA. Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba.Photo from Mamba's Facebook page

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has ordered the disqualification of Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba from the 2022 National and Local Elections over violation to Omnibus Election Code.

In a decision released by the Comelec First Division on Wednesday evening, April 24, 2024, it declared the position of governor of Cagayan as vacant and will automatically be filled in by the vice governor in accordance with the law on succession.

This was after the poll body found Mamba guilty for violation of Sections 2 and 13 of Resolution 10747 in relation to Section 261(v) of the Omnibus Election Code that prohibits the release, disbursement or expenditure of public for any and all kinds of public works during the election period, which then fell from March 25, 2022 to May 8, 2022.

The complaint against Mamba was filed by Victorio Casauay.

Other respondents in the complaint were Mabel Mamba and Francisco Mamba III, who ran for vice governor and representative of the Third District of Cagayan, respectively, in the 2022 NLE but lost their candidacies.

Casauay said that the then candidates used public funds in providing financial aid, scholarship grants, and various transport vehicles to their constituents during the 45-day prohibition period.

“Mamba is incorrect in claiming that the prohibition does not extend to local government units. This prohibition aims to prevent the use of public funds for campaign purposes, and it serves a deterrent effect on incumbent public officials having control and access to public funds from using the same in furtherance of their own political interests,” the Comelec said in a statement.

It also noted that no certificate of exemption was issued to the Provincial Government for the continuation of its programs, projects and activities, amid the election period.

Meanwhile, the Comelec cleared Mamba from vote buying allegations, noting that the source of the election paraphernalia bearing his name and containing P1,000 bill could not be verified, thus his culpability therefore cannot be established.

The complaints in relation to alleged vote buying were filed by Ma. Zarah Rose De Guzman-Lara who ran against Mamba in the gubernatorial post. The complaints also include unlawful disbursement of public funds.

In March 2023, the Comelec dismissed Lara’s petition against Mamba over failure to file it on time.

Lara sought for the assistance of the Supreme Court as she filed a petition for certiorari, challenging the decision of the poll body.

Last week, the Supreme Court En Banc ruled that Lara’s petition for disqualification against Mamba was filed on time and that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the case.

In a statement, the Cagayan Public Information Office said Mamba has immediately filed a motion for reconsideration before the Comelec to appeal its disqualification order against him.

“Kaugnay rito, mananatili at ipagpapatuloy pa rin ni Gov. Manuel Mamba ang kaniyang tungkulin bilang gobernador ng lalawigan hanggat wala pang pinal na desisyon,” it said.

(In this regard, Governor Manuel Mamba will remain and continue to serve as governor of the province while there is no final decision yet.)

“Umaapela si Gov. Mamba sa sambayanang Cagayano na maging kalmado at mahinahon dahil handa ang gobernador na harapin ang lahat ng mga gawa-gawang asunto laban sa kaniya sa mga prosesong ibinibigay ng batas,” it added.

(Governor Mamba appeals to the people of Cagayan to be calm and composed because the governor is ready to face all the fabricated cases against him through the processes provided by law.) (TPM/SunStar Philippines)


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