Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Velasco finally unseats Reyes

Congressman Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco finally assumed the position as representative of the lone district of Marinduque on Monday, February 1, 2016 after having been sworn into office by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.

Velasco was proclaimed by the special board of canvassers of Comelec on July 13, 2013. His opponent Regina Ongsiako Reyes did not appeal the said proclamation nor did she file any petition before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), to contest Velasco's proclamation.




While Velasco was proclaimed more than two years ago, Reyes was able to delay Velasco's assumption into office by reason of two HRET petitions against Reyes herself alleged filed by Reyes supporters. This was seen as a strategy to prevent Velasco from claiming his seat by claiming that there are still pending cases and legal disputes between the two parties.

It will be recalled that the certificate of candidacy (COC) of Reyes was cancelled and denied due course by Comelec on May 14, 2013, that emanated from a petition filed in December 2012 for the cancellation of her COC. The poll body ruled that Reyes is a U.S. citizen and lacked the one-year residency requirement as defined by law.

Despite her being a non-candidate in the last elections, and all votes in her favor having been considered stray votes, the provincial board of canvassers headed by Emmanuel Ignacio still proclaimed her as the winning candidate. The said proclamation was promptly nullified by Comelec on July 13, 2013.

Reyes then brought the case to the Supreme Court by questioning the Comelec's adverse resolution, which was dismissed by the High Court before her illegal assumption as representative on June 30, 2013.

After losing her case before the Supreme Court, Reyes unilaterally withdrew her petition but did not file any case against Velasco before the HRET.

For more than two years, Reyes was able to exercise the powers and perform the duties as Marinduque representative without legal basis.

Majority leader Neptali Gonzales II said the House has received information from the Supreme Court its entry of judgement and that “the representative from Marinduque, the honorable Reyes, has never become a member of the House of Representatives, and consequently, her name has been deleted in the roll of members.”

“Likewise, we are in receipt from the Commission on Elections stating that proclamation of the elected representative of lone district of Marinduque as Lord Allan Velasco, and he has complied with the requirement of the House by furnishing the Office of the Secretary General with his oath of office and the certificate of proclamation from the Comelec,” Gonzales added.

The assumption of Congressman Velasco this late with just about five months left before the next election is a vindication of the victory of the people of Marinduque in having the rightful representative in congress to provide service to his constituents.

Velasco with some colleagues in the House


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