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Comelec asked to set aside proclamation ‘wrongful winner’

A brother of Quezon City District 2 Councilor Ranulfo Ludovica on Sunday urged the Commission on Elections to set aside the proclamation of a “wrongful winner” in Barangay Payatas in the recent barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

In a 20-page petition, Lopez Ludovica Jr. slammed former chairman Manuel Guarin, who was dismissed from government service for four administrative charges but won in the May 14 polls.

Ludovica, through his lawyer Allister Michael Jocom, said “Guarin, on oath, clearly misrepresented and lied regarding his eligibility when he filed his certificate of candidacy, in view of the fact that his previous administrative case[s] already canceled his eligibility and further disqualified him from holding any public office.”

“Despite his ineligibility, private respondent Guarin was included in the certified list of candidates,” he said.

On May 16, Guarin was proclaimed Barangay Payatas chairperson with Ludovica placing second.     

Guarin filed his certificate of candidacy “at the very last minute,” depriving the Comelec the chance to scrutinize his candidacy.

Since the start of the canvassing of votes, the camp of Ludovica had already questioned and protested Guarin’s eligibility “in view of his dismissal from service and perpetual disqualification by the Office of the Ombudsman” pursuant to Section 74, Article 9 of the Comelec Resolution No. 10211.”

Ludovica maintained since Guarin was removed from public office, he should be disqualified from seeking any elective position.

In May 2016, the Ombudsman dismissed Guarin and then treasurer Susana Ugaldo for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest for pocketing a huge slice of the P5,000 cash gift and P2,000 year-end bonus of employees.

Another two counts of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, malversation of public funds, anticipation of duties of public officer and graft were also filed against Guarin, who was then replaced by first barangay councilor Juliet Peña.

“When there are participants who turn out to be ineligible, their victory is voided and the laurel is award to the next in rank who does not possess any of the disqualifications nor lacks any of the disqualifications set in the rules to be eligible as candidates,” Ludovica said, citing Maquiling vs. Comelec, 709 Phil. 408, 447 (2013).

Guarin cannot assert the condonation doctrine since the Supreme Court has abandoned the same that “[e]lection is not a mode of condoning an administrative offense,” Jocom told the Manila Standard.

Topics: Councilor Ranulfo Ludovica , Commission on Elections , Barangay Payatas , barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections
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