House poll tribunal takes up Mikey's DQ case

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 10 2011 01:37 PM | Updated as of Feb 11 2011 01:21 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representative Electoral Tribunal (HRET) has ordered the submission of memoranda of arguments and evidences from both sides on the disqualification of Ang Galing Pinoy Party Rep. Juan Miguel 'Mikey' Macapagal-Arroyo.

The eldest son of former President Arroyo was represented by his lawyer Carlo Vistan in the hearing.

Arroyo didn’t attend as he had other commitments.

Vistan maintained the HRET cannot disqualify him from a seat in Congress because even the Commission on Elections (Comelec) already ruled that Arroyo is qualified to sit in Congress.

Vistan said this is in connection with the disqualification case filed by former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros.

Vistan said another disqualification case against Arroyo was set aside because the petitioner failed to properly notarize it.

Hontiveros, in a separate interview, expressed hope the HRET will rule on the case soon enough.

Her lawyer, Kyle Sarenas, said there may no longer be a hearing once both sides comply with the order to submit their respective memoranda on the case within the 30-day period set by the HRET.

The HRET met behind closed doors and was presided by Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales.

Hontiveros’ case, which she filed and was junked by the Comelec during the campaign, stems from Arroyo’s alleged failure to comply with a Comelec rule requiring party-list representatives to show proof they truly belong to the marginalized sector they represent.

The HRET today held a preliminary conference on the case of Arroyo.

The SC justices at HRET include Associate Justices Conchita Carpio-Morales, Antonio Nachura and Arturo Brion, while the House contingent is composed of Davao del Sur Rep. Franklin Bautista as head and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, Manila Rep. Ma. Theresa Bonoan-David, Laguna Rep. Justin Marc Chipeco and Bulacan Rep. Joselito Andrew Mendoza.