MANILA - Public service knows no boundaries, a lawyer for outgoing Sen. Loren Legarda said Friday after the poll body denied petitions seeking to stop the lawmaker's candidacy for a representative post over supposed residency issues.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has cleared the way for Legarda's congressional run in May after declaring that she was able to transfer her residence from Malabon City to Barangay Mag-aba in Antique province more than a year prior to the May 13 elections.
Legarda, who told the Comelec she had traveled to the Visayan province about 500 times and downloaded several projects to the province where she traces her roots, has moved her residence since January 2018, said her lawyer George Garcia.
"Public service does not have any boundaries. Public service can be in any other place," Garcia told ANC's Headstart.
He said the Supreme Court had earlier ruled that it is not a problem if one moves to a place simply to run for office. Even if critics would view this as opportunistic, the voting populace would still know who to cast their ballots for, he added.
"Alam naman ng tao kung sino yung stranger at kung sino 'yung complete newcomer. People know who to vote. We should at least give that benefit of doubt to the people that we have now a mature citizenry that can distinguish between those who are just pretending and those who have really that love for public service," he said.
Among those who challenged Legarda’s bid was former Antique Gov. Exequiel Javier, who will be her rival for the post.
Javier's son Paolo Everardo is currently the representative of Antique's lone province.