MANILA - (UPDATE) Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Thursday the petition challenging his and his wife's 2019 congressional run was "political harassment" with no legal basis.
The petition by Leonides Buac Jr. asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reject the Cayetanos’ certificates of candidacy on the basis that “a married couple can only maintain one legal residence at any given time.”
The former Cabinet official is eyeing a House seat for the first district while his wife, incumbent Mayor Lani Cayetano, is running in the second congressional district.
"It’s pure political harassment," Cayetano told ANC's Headstart when asked about the petition.
There was "no legal basis" in the complaint because jurisprudence states that "the Family Code does not apply to the Comelec domicile," he said.
"Domicile is your intention…Yung domicile mo isa lang, but yung residence marami," he said.
Emilio Marañon III, who represents Buac, questioned how an ordinary man like his client harass a "powerful man" such as Cayetano? "Instead, we fear the opposite."
"The fact that Mr Cayetano is harping on these irrelevant matters is proof of the weakness of their position. The incontrovertible fact here is that he and his wife, Lani, are not qualified to run for Congress and I am very confident that the cancellation of their COCs (or one of their COCs) is simply a matter of time," he told ABS-CBN News in a text message.
TIRED OF DYNASTIES
Cayetano said he moved to barangay Bagumbayan in 1992 and he continues to cast his vote in the same district to this day. He recalled winning as councilor, vice mayor, representative, and senator while residing here.
The same lawyer lodged complaints against his brother Lino and sister Pia when they ran for public office while residing in the Fort area, he said.
Further, he claimed that Marañon is backed by former Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, who was appointed by former Preisdent Benigno Aquino III,
"These are the guys appointed by Aquino—so the Aquino dynasty, the Abad dynasty, the Abaya dynasty never heard anything from them. But suddenly, napakasama naming mga tao, napaka-corrupt, napaka-walanghiya, napakagarapal," he said.
"When I was Secretary of Foreign Affairs, my wife was mayor, my ate was congresswoman, they didn’t say anything. But now that I’m running for Congress and Speaker, suddenly napakasama naming tao," he added.
Marañon said it was an "open fact" that he was Brillantes' chief-of-staff from 2011 until the poll chief's retirement in February 2015 when he retired, but this is a "non-issue."
"Mr Cayetano should instead answer our question on how he and his wife can run in two different places at the same time? How three families (he and Lani, Pia's and Lino's) fit in a tiny condominium unit?," he said.
Marañon meanwhile thanked the people for "'overwhelming and almost unanimous support" in their two petitions, which he believes shows that "the whole nation is already sick and tired of political dynasties—more so, a super dynasty like the Cayetanos."