Palawan political group wants Mitra disqualification stayed

May 30, 2010 11:16 pm 

MANILA, May 30 — The Partidong Pagbabago ng Palawan (PPP), in a 37-page supplemental petition, is urging the Supreme Court (SC)to uphold the Commission on Elections (Comelec)'s decision which disqualified former Rep. Abraham Kahlil B. Mitra from seeking the province's gubernatorial post due to residency issues.

The same group is also asking the SC to declare his rival Jose “Pepito” Alvarez as the duly-elected governor of the province.

The PPP also urged the SC to junk for lack of merit the petition of Mitra seeking the reversal of the poll body’s order canceling his certificate of candidacy.

It can be recalled that last May 7, the SC issued a status quo order enjoining the poll body from canceling Mitra’s certificate of candidacy (COC).

It also directed PPP founding members San Vicente, Palawan Mayor Antonio V. Gonzales and Orlando R. Balbon Jr. to comment on Mitra’s petition seeking to declare null and void Comelec’s denial of his COC.

The SC order paved the way for the three-time congressman to run and win the gubernatorial race in Palawan pending resolution of his petition assailing his disqualification by the Comelec.

“The proclamation of petitioner (Mitra) as governor-elect of the Province of Palawan be annulled and all the legal effects resulting therefrom be set aside,” Gonzales and Balbo said in their supplemental comment.

The two insisted that the Comelec did not err in denying Mitra’s gubernatorial bid because of his failure to comply with the residency requirements.

Due to Mitra's failure to meet the residency requirement, Gonzales and Balbon insisted that Alvarez should be proclaimed as the duly elected governor of the province since he garnered the second highest number of votes with 131,872, next to Mitra’s 146,847 votes.

Mitra, a 3-term congressman supported by the much-vaunted political machinery of three-term governor Joel Reyes, edged out Alvarez by a slim margin of about 5.3 percent. Reyes, who ran as congressman in Mitra’s district, lost to lawyer Dennis Socrates.

“The (Mitra’s) petition should be dismissed outright as it mainly assails the summary proceedings conducted in the Commission on Elections without pointing out in particular which acts of Commission were made with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; or which legal provision or equitable principle the Comelec has transgressed in deciding the case on the merit . . .” the PPP further said.

They added that the summary proceedings before the Comelec is well within its power and authority.

"In the instant case, petitioner Mitra should not be allowed to reap the benefits of his own wrongdoings. Mitra made a false material representation in his certificate of candidacy when he indicated Sitio Maligaya, Arbolan, Palawan as his residence when in fact he is still a resident of his hometown Puerto Princesa," it further stated.

As this develop, the PPP through its spokesperson Mary Anne Tejada, assailed as “half-truth, if not outright lies,” Mitra’s pronouncement that he had complied with the residency requirement as candidate for governor of Palawan.

The PPP, the first and only local political party in the province recognized by the Comelec, does not recognize Mitra’s proclamation as Palawan governor because he was disqualified to run for the position.

“The Comelec has disqualified Mitra from running for governor by ordering the cancellation of his COC on May 4, 2010. How can a non-candidate be voted for, much less proclaimed,” Tejada said.

Last February, the poll body disqualified Mitra from joining in the gubernatorial race in Palawan due to his failure to establish at least one year of residency in the province before the May 2010 polls which is a requirement under Local Government Code.

The Comelec found that Mitra lied in his COC when he declared that he has been living in the mezzanine of a feed mill in the municipality Aborlan, Palawan since March 2008. His purported room, which he claims to have lived in for two years, did not even have a toilet, kitchen or dining area.

Mitra is a resident of Puerto Princesa which ceased to be a component city of Palawan in 2007.(PNA)

V3/PFN

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