Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Still no final Comelec decisions on DQ cases against Regina "Gina" Reyes


Comelec has 30 days under the law to decide on petitions to deny due course on the certificate of candidacy of questionable candidates, but two petitions filed against LP congressional bet in Marinduque, Regina O. Reyes for being a US citizen have not been finally decided upon by the poll body. 

The two petitions are "Elleazar Velasco v Regina O. Reyes, SPA Case No. 15-133 DC" assigned to the First Division of Comelec, and "Eliseo Obligacion v Regina O. Reyes, SPA Case No. 15-151 (DC)" handled by the Second Division of Comelec.

Contrary to claims being circulated in Marinduque by the Reyes camp, a decision made by the First Division on the complaint filed by Eleasar Velasco is not final as "petitioner may still file a motion for reconsideration which must be resolved by the Comelec en banc. Only thereafter that the decision shall become final unless a TRO is issued by the Supreme Court," legal counsel Atty. Danny Gapasin clarified.

On the other hand, the second petition filed against Reyes by Eliseo Obligacion remains pending in the Comelec Second Division.

Marinduquenos are concerned about a repeat of what happened in 2013 when Reyes was illegally proclaimed and was able to hold on to the position for more than 2 years. This comes amid persistent rumors going on in the island-province of an alleged plot to delay final resolutions on the twin petitions until end of June 2016. 

In the 2013 elections the poll body disqualified Reyes with finality. In spite of this, the provincial board of canvassers proclaimed Reyes as winner, which Comelec promptly nullified, proclaiming Lord Allan Velasco as the duly elected representative in July 2013.

The Supreme Court also decided with finality the disqualification of Reyes for being a US citizen and a non-resident. Reyes and ruling party supporters in Congress, however, argued that her assuming the post as Marinduque representative is a 'political decision' that must take precedence over the rule of law.

It will be recalled that Reyes earlier made judicial admissions before Comelec on her non-compliance with the requirements under RA 9225, stating in her motion that "the twin requirements under Republic At No. 9225 to reacquire and/or retain Filipino citizenship do not apply to herein  respondent (Reyes)", and that she acquired American citizenship "not through naturalization", thus, "the requirements under RA 9225 are not applicable to her". Reyes stated.  

She, however, failed to present evidence to support these claims.

Velasco was finally recognized by the House of Representatives on February 1, 2016, as the duly elected Marinduque representative with Majority Floor Leader, Neptali Gonzales II stating during the plenary that "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."

Obligacion in his petition stressed that Reyes' name "still does not appear in the US Federal Government records listing of the individuals who have renounced their US citizenship", thus, when she 'renounced' her US citizenship and when she readily admitted to not complying with RA 9225, "respondent Reyes became a stateless person, lacking the necessary citizenship to run for Congress in the forthcoming May 9, 2016 elections". 

Reyes' mother, incumbent governor Carmencita O. Reyes is also seeking reelection under the LP banner. Reyes' brother, former Congressman Edmundo O. Reyes who lost to Congressman Velasco in 2010, is currently chairman of the Toll Regulatory Board.

Meanwhile, Atty. Mariel Sore of Gasan associated with the Velasco camp in response to the delay in finally resolving the two petitions said,  "If there is no final decision before the election day, let the people of Marinduque decide.. and vote for candidates who can bring change to our beloved province."

Susong Dalaga Hill

Susong Dalaga Hill
Susong Dalaga Hill from Bagtasan isthmus

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