MANILA, Philippines – Actor Aga Muhlach is asking the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to finally dismiss a petition seeking to quash his bid for district representative after the Court of Appeals (CA) ordered his and his wife’s Charlene Gonzales reinstatement on the list of registered voters in Camarines Sur.
In an 11-page manifestation filed before the Comelec on Tuesday, Muhlach told the poll body that the Metropolitan Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) and Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Jose, Camarines Sur has already ruled that he and Gonzales started their residence in Camarines Sur as early as February 17, 2012.
Muhlach said this only proves that he has complied with the one-year residence before the May 13, 2013 election, as required by law.
“And since the said finding of fact was also affirmed and confirmed by the Court of Appeals, then there is enough justification for the Comelec to dismiss the petition filed by the very same parties who filed the same disqualification case against Muhlach in the lower courts whose decisions were reversed by the CA”, Muhlach’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal said.
Crispin Imperial and Francisco Dizon earlier sought Muhlach’s disqualification as a congressional candidate in the 4th district of Camarines Sur on the grounds that he allegedly made a false representation in his certificate of candidacy.
Imperial and Dizon said Muhlach lied in claiming he had been a resident of San Jose, Camarines Sur for at least one year before the May 13, 2013 elections.
“However, these petitioners did not appeal from the finding of fact of the MCTC and RTC that the Muhlachs started residing in San Jose, Camarines Sur on February 17, 2012 and which finding, as stated earlier, was affirmed by the CA in its decision of February 13, 2013. Thus, counting from February 17, 2012 until the election on May 13, 2013, the Muhlachs have clearly established one year and three months residence in the said locality which is more than the one-year residence required by law”, Macalintal explained.
Macalintal added that “with such finding of fact by the three courts of competent jurisdiction, then Aga Muhlach cannot be accused of making a false material representation in his Certificate of Candidacy when he stated that he has all the qualifications to run for the position of Congressman of the fourth district of Camarines Sur.”
“This gives sufficient justification for the Comelec to dismiss the petition to cancel or deny due course to Aga Muhlach’s COC.”
The lower courts actually ordered the exclusion of the Muhlachs on the list, noting they should have been residents six months before registration and not before the elections. The appellate court overturned these.
Nonetheless, Macalintal insisted that both the lower courts established the fact that they have been residents of San Jose, Camarines Sur for more than a year already.
The CA ordered the Comelec to include the Muhlachs in the voters list and "annotate them on the Voters Registration Record."