Comelec hit for ‘LP bias’

A losing congressional candidate on Sunday accused the Commission on Elections of being “partisan and biased” in favor of administration allies after it went ahead in proclaiming a Liberal Party-backed candidate even if she was an “American citizen.”

The camp of outgoing Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali said the Comelec proclaimed Rosanna “Ria” Vergara as the congresswoman-elect of the province’s third district even if she had allegedly falsified legal documents to show she was a Filipino citizen.

“The Comelec surprisingly ignored the evidence and did not give due attention to the disqualification case filed against Vergara,” said Phillip Piccio, who filed a petition for disqualification against Vergara at the Municipal Trial Court of Cabanatuan City early this year.

Vergara ran for the third district of Nueva Ecija and won by a slim margin of 2,500 votes against Umali.

Vergara’s victory, however, was tainted with allegations of massive vote buying, cheating and falsifying her citizenship documents, Piccio said.

“Vergara was publicly known in Nueva Ecija as a green card holder since 1998 when the US government granted her petition for American citizenship. This should have stripped her of all the rights and privileges of a Filipino citizen including her right to participate in Philippine elections,” Piccio stressed.

In October 2015, Vergara filed her Certificate of Candidacy to run for Congress and submitted several documentary requirements to Comelec to prove her eligibility.

“These documents apparently are spurious,” Piccio said.

Among these documents were Vergara’s notarized Pledge of Allegiance to Philippine Laws and the Constitution and her notarized renunciation of her US citizenship.

The municipal court granted the petition of Piccio against Vergara on Feb. 4, 2016, but the regional trial court reversed the decision two weeks after.

Piccio had since elevated the petition to the Comelec and the Court of Appeals.

On June 7, the Comelec First Division handed down its resolution dismissing Piccio’s petition, arguing that the poll body has no jurisdiction on cases concerning citizenship even as it ruled that the petition should be dismissed for lack of merit.

“The Comelec’s logic is twisted. How can it declare the petition was lacking in merit and at the same time safely claim that it has no jurisdiction over the matter? If Comelec has no jurisdiction on the case, it has no right to declare whether the petition has merit or not,” Piccio said.

Piccio said the Umali camp has found new documentary evidence that would prove Vergara and her party falsified documents to comply with Comelec eligibility requirements.

“Ria Vergara had made a mockery of our laws, our Constitution and our whole electoral system. They made fools of the Novo Ecijano electorate,” he added.

Topics: Comelec , LP bias
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