SC ousts Lucy Torres as Leyte rep

by Ira Pedrasa,

Posted at Mar 19 2013 02:24 PM | Updated as of Mar 20 2013 04:08 AM

MANILA -- (4th UPDATE) The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled to oust television personality Lucy Torres-Gomez as Leyte fourth district representative.

In a text message, SC spokesperson Theodore Te said she “did not validly substitute” her husband Richard Gomez in the May 2010 elections.

Te explained she could not have validly substituted for her husband because he was not considered a candidate. “He was held ineligible for failure to comply with residency requirements. Thus, absent a valid substitution Ms. Torres-Gomez could not have been considered a candidate.”

Gomez was supposed to run under the banner of the Liberal Party but was disqualified on February 17, 2010 by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) because of his failure to sufficiently establish residency in Ormoc City.

The protest was filed by Torres-Gomez’s rival, Lakas-Kampi-CMD candidate Eufrocino Codilla Jr.

Torres-Gomez substituted for her husband, who got 101,250 votes over Codilla’s 76,549 votes, or a mere margin of 24,701.

Torres-Gomez's legal counsel, Atty. Alex Avisado, said they will file a motion for reconsideration as soon as they receive a copy of the decision.

"We are surprised but not worried about this recent decision in the case filed by Silverio Tagolino against Cong. Lucy Torres Gomez. In a similar case, the Supreme Court had already previously upheld the decision of the HRET in our favor and dismissed the petition of her rival Eufrocino Codilla Jr. The issue of residency of Cong. Lucy Torres Gomez had long been settled with finality for which an Entry of Judgment had already been issued by the Supreme Court. We humbly believe this is a serious and reversible error," the lawyer said in a statement.

‘Politics, a game of the demons’

Torres-Gomez's camp said shall continue to discharge her duties despite the ruling. She said the SC decision only “strengthens my resolve to continue to fight.”

“Ganito talaga pulitika eh. Sabi nga nila yung pulitika talaga is laro ng mga demonyo,” she said.

Despite the adverse ruling, she said she continues to "trust the system and to have faith in something bigger and greater than myself."

"I know that things will fall in the right place. I continue to fight for [the people of Ormoc]. I know that I have served you well and if given the chance, I’ll continue to serve you well," she said.

Torres-Gomez is seeking re-election while her husband will run for mayor of Ormoc CIty.

Torres-Gomez, 38, attended elementary and high school at St. Peter's College, Ormoc City, where her family is said to own several hectares of land.

She married Gomez at the St. Peter and Paul Parish Church in Ormoc in 1998.

Among her achievements at the House of Representatives was her sponsorship of an amendment to the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009, revising the provisions rendering a time for breastfeeding babies during work hours.

Te said seven of the magistrates voted in favor of the ouster, four dissented, and four abstained.

An analyst interviewed said Torres-Gomez may have to return her salaries received as Leyte representative. The analyst also said Codilla may take over the position. - with a report from Shiela Reyes,