MANILA, Philippines – Veteran singer Imelda Papin was caught by surprise when she learned that the second division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has disqualified her from running as congresswoman in the lone district of San Jose del Monte in Bulacan for failing to meet residency requirements.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Papin said she has yet to receive the resolution but noted that she has a copy of a Comelec decision saying she is a registered voter in the Bulacan city, thus making her eligible to file her certificate of candidacy (COC).
“Kaya ho nakapag-file ako ng aking certificate of candidacy bilang congresswoman dito po sa San Jose del Monte City sa Bulacan dahil nga po ako ay accepted as a new voter ng San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan,” she said.
“So as regards to that new news, bagong news ho 'yan eh. Sa akin, sa Comelec, ay wala pa ho akong natatanggap at hayaan niyo at kakausapin ko po ang aking mga abogado tungkol diyan,” she added.
In a 10-page resolution, the Comelec gave weight to the petition for disqualification filed by Zosimo Lorenzo of the Arangkada San Joseño political party against Papin.
It said Papin’s certificate of candidacy (COC) “must be cancelled for making false material representation relating to her residence and for claiming that she is eligible to run for elective office.”
Lorenzo alleged that Papin made false representation when she declared in her COC that her address was Barangay San Manuel in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan when in fact she was a resident of Barangay Pasong Putik, North Fairview, Quezon City.
But Papin said her residency should not be questioned since it’s been a while since she’s been living in her Bulacan house.
“Matagal na. Pabalik balik nga lang since 2000 dahil siyempre busy po ako. Kumakanta ako all over the world at siyempre naging vice governor din ako for six years so 'pag nandito po ako sa Maynila, nandito po ako sa Bulacan,” she said.
She also claimed that she is engaged in community programs in San Jose del Monte City.
“Hindi ko malaman bakit kinikuwestyun ang aking residency. Siguro sabi nila dahil kapag malakas ang kandidato, ang kalaban gagawa ng paraan kung paano ka babagsak. Pero God is with us... Ang clamor nila dito ay mapalitan ang kanilang congressman na gusto po nila tunay na pagmamahalan at magkaisa,” the singer said.
Meanwhile, Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes on Wednesday said the disqualification of Papin from the congressional race is not yet final.
Brillantes noted that the disqualification was handed down by the second division, making it subject to a review by the commission en banc should Papin file an appeal.