MANILA – With 19 days to go before the midterm elections, congressional candidate Bertrand Baterina asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify his opponent, former Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald Singson.
Baterina, the son of Estrada impeachment prosecutor Salacnib Baterina, and his lawyer Leonardo Nick Gumabun filed a motion to disqualify and a motion to suspend proclamation ad cautelam before the poll body today.
In the disqualification petition, Baterina said Singson cannot run as congressman because of his previous conviction for illegal possession of narcotics in Hong Kong.
Singson resigned in 2010 after he was apprehended and convicted in Hong Kong for possession of cocaine and nitrazepam.
Baterina says the crime for which Singson was convicted by final judgment in a Hong Kong court is a crime of moral turpitude, which is a ground for disqualification under the Omnibus Election Code.
Singson entered a guilty plea in the case.
Citing the same Omnibus Election Code, Baterina says Singson is also disqualified within 5 years from service of his sentence in Hong Kong. This means he can only run again after the 2016 polls.
Separately, Baterina’s camp also lodged before the poll body a complaint Baterina filed before the Ilocos Sur provincial election supervisor against Singson for an election offense regarding a traffic incident over the weekend.
In the separate complaint addressed to the Ilocos Sur provincial election supervisor and Ilocos Sur police director, a copy of which was referred to the poll body, Baterina said his vehicle was stopped by Singson's convoy and escorts last April 20, 2013 at the stretch of the national highway in Bantay, Ilocos Sur.
Baterina noted that the convoy used sirens or "wang wang,” which is reserved only for emergency vehicles.
Baterina says Singson is not a government official who deserved "such a grand mobilization of government resources."
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes declined to comment on the matter though he wondered out loud why the case was filed only now, with just 19 days to go before election day.
Singson is the son of controversial Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Chavit Singson.