Comelec decision a 'small victory' for Aga Mulach

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2013 07:46 PM | Updated as of Jan 17 2013 04:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) 1st division has denied one of 2 petitions for disqualification against actor Aga Muhlach pending before the boll body.

Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the division ruled in favor of Muhlach in the petition that questioned his Filipino citizenship.

Brillantes said the division noted Muhlach's use of Filipino passports.

Brillantes, however, said this is just a small victory, noting that Muhlach's bigger battle is the petition assailing his residency in Camarines Sur which is crucial to his registration as a voter.
"'Di significant ang citizenship [case] in favor of Aga, he is in fact a citizen, he can run. He used [PH] passports. Residence is the more important issue," the Comelec chief said.

All candidates for public office must first be registered voters in areas where they are seeking office.

Aga almost disqualified

The Comelec almost disqualified the actor from running for the 4th congressional district of Camarines Sur in the mid-term elections.

Brillantes said the poll body would have handed out the disqualification based on the petition assailing his residency had the appellate court not issued a restraining order against the exclusion of Muhlach and his wife Charlene from the list of voters.

Brillantes said that instead, the poll body  only ordered the disqualification of the Jalosjos brothers of Zamboanga and Rex Ong Salud of Cebu who, like Muhlach, were sought to be disqualified by virtue of a judicial order.
In Resolution 9614, the poll body cited the final and executory nature of RTC rulings on exclusion cases by virtue of Section 33 of the Voters Registration Act of 1996 in denying Salud's appeal to be allowed to run as mayor of Cordova, Cebu.

The resolution notes that the candidate should have been a resident at least one year before election day.

The local RTC ordered him excluded from the list of voters, a crucial requirement for anyone seeking public office.

The resolution said the Comelec is legally mandated to abide by the final judgment of the judiciary motu propio.

In resolutions 9613 and 9612, meantime, Romeo and Dominador Jalosjos were ordered disqualified by virtue of the finality of their convictions for rape and robbery, respectively.

Romeo Jalosjos filed his candidacy for Zamboanga City mayor while Dominador filed his candidacy for Zamboanga del Sur governor.

The poll body is now studying the Court of Appeals' issuance of a restraining order against Muhlach's exclusion from the list of registered voters based on questions on his residency in Camarines Sur.

The voter registrations of Muhlach and wife Charlene, their first ever, were ordered excluded by the local RTC and Municipal Trial Court based on a petition assailing the validity of the registration.

The petition said Muhlach should have been a resident 6 months before registration and not before the elections.

Brillantes, however, is checking if the exclusion has been done since RTC rulings on exclusion cases are final and executory.