Comelec denies Muhlach's petition vs Fuentebella

July 8, 2013 12:05 am 

MANILA, July 7 — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has denied the petition of actor-turned-politician Aga Muhlach asking to annul the proclamation as elected congressman of 4th District of Camarines Sur of rival, Felix William Fuentebella.

In a resolution promulgated on June 20, the Comelec First Division ruled to deny Muhlach’s urgent petition to annul Fuentebella’s proclamation last May 16 saying it lacks the merit that would warrant cancellation of the latter’s win.

“Premises considered, the Comelec First Division resolves to dismiss the Urgent Petition to Annul and Set Aside Certificate of Canvass and Proclamation for lack of jurisdiction and merit,” said the 10-page ruling.

The First Division presided by Commissioner Lucenito Tagle said the petitioner failed to mention in is protest any evidence that the results from certain barangays in three municipalities, namely Tigaon, Sagnay, and Siruma, in Camarines Sur, would still materially affect the results of the elections.

Muhlach said in his petition the absence of the results from the three towns put in doubt who really won the race since votes from the three remain crucial in determining the results.

“The allegation does not establish in what manner the untransmitted results will affect the standing of respondent… It must be emphasized that the Commission cannot annul the proclamation of respondent based on a mere sweeping statement, unsubstantiated and unsupported,” added the decision.

Fuentebella beat Muhlach by 2,205 votes in the May 13 polls. The newly elected legislator got 82,834 votes as against the actor's 80,629 votes.

The petition was filed a day after the proclamation was made by the Camarines Sur Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC).

The ruling also agreed on the reply of Fuentebella that the poll body has already lost jurisdiction to the poll protest case since a proclamation was already made by the PBOC.

In his verified answer to the petition, the Camarines Sur solon claimed that the jurisdiction should already be with the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) as provided for by the 1987 Constitution.

“Having established the validity of the proclamation, the Commission (First Division) has no authority or jurisdiction to hear the Petition,” the ruling said.(PNA)

JBP/FGP/JSD

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