Cayetano couple's congressional bid questioned over separate residences

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 13 2018 04:18 PM | Updated as of Nov 13 2018 04:47 PM

Former Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his wife Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano are facing questions on their 2019 congressional bid. File

MANILA—Former Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his wife are facing a serious challenge to their 2019 congressional run, following a petition filed against them on Tuesday describing their family as a “super dynasty” in Taguig.

The petition by one Leonides Buac Jr. asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reject the Cayetanos’ certificates of candidacy, arguing that “a married couple can only maintain one legal residence at any given time.”

Cayetano is running in the first congressional district, while his wife Lani, the incumbent city mayor, is seeking a House seat for the second district.

“In claiming two different and separate domiciles, the Cayetano spouses absurdy represent that they habitually reside in two different localities,” the petitioner said.

“That despite their marriage, their animus manendi or intention to remain lie in two different places, which is contrary to settled jurisprudence and even the Family Code.”

The Cayetanos’ lawyer George Garcia on Tuesday hit the petition for its supposed “weakness and shallowness.” 

“We have the law and jurisprudence on our side, so how can we be afraid?” he told ABS-CBN News, saying the Comelec should immediately dismiss the case. 

POLITICAL DYNASTY

The Buac petition said the couple’s simultaneous congressional run was intended to “enable the Cayetano family to encroach on the neighboring district and to take control of all the legislative districts of Taguig.”

It also raised “serious legal infirmities as to their qualifications,” according to the petition

Buac’s petition also explored the possibility of the Comelec enforcing the constitutional ban against political dynasties on the Cayetanos.

He described the family as a “perfect example of a political dynasty,” which the 1987 Constitution sought to prohibit.

Aside from Cayetano and his wife, his brother Lino is running for city mayor. Their older sister, incumbent Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano, is eyeing a return to the Senate.

Buac floated the idea that the anti-political dynasty provision in the constitution might have been “enabled” when Congress already defined such a family when it refined the youth elections law.

The Cayetanos running next year, he said, falls “squarely within the political dynasty definition in the Sangguniang Kabataan law of up to the second civil degree.

The petition described their candidacies as “an abuse that should be prevented at all cost.”