MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc has dismissed the disqualification case against San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan congressional candidate Imelda Papin.
The decision reverses an earlier division ruling disqualifying the singer and former vice governor of Camarines Sur.
In its resolution, the Comelec en banc granted Papin's motion for reconsideration (MR).
The MR said the second division erred in ruling that the petitioner's counsel was duly authorized to represent the petitioner in the conference of the case.
It also said the division erred in the appreciation of the evidence presented; that the division erred in laying the burden of proof on the respondent instead of the petitioner; and that the division erred when it ruled that the respondent failed to meet the one-year residency requirement.
The complaint against Papin argued that she does not meet the 1-year residency requirement for an individual to be able to seek elective office in a particular area and as such misrepresented herself in her certificate of candidacy (COC).
The disqualification case was filed by local party Arangkada San Joseno.
The second division earlier cancelled Papin’s COC.
In its ruling, the commission en banc said, "The basis for the cancellation of the respondent's COC does not reside on her eligibility for public office per se. Rather it is grounded on the fact that the respondent intentionally made a representation in her COC which is false."
The commission en banc also said the second division "may have overlooked certain aspects, which if not corrected, will cause extreme prejudice to the right of the electorate of San Jose del Monte City."
The commission en banc concluded that "there is no deliberate attempt in the part of the respondent to misrepresent her residence in her COC simply because she believed that she has transferred to San Jose del Monte City and will be eligible to seek the position of congressional representative of San Jose del Monte City."
Papin secured a copy of the ruling accompanied by her political allies and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal.
Papin thanked the commission en banc for the ruling and for recognizing that she is a true native of the town. Papin called herself "a Bicolanang San Joseno," in reference to her Camarines Sur roots.
Macalintal also expressed appreciation for the ruling.
Rulings of the Comelec en banc may only be elevated to the Supreme Court for relief.