THE Supreme Court has affirmed the move of the Commission on Election (Comelec) to unseat Rep.-elect Regina Ongsiako Reyes of Marinduque because she is an American.
During the Court en banc’s on Tuesday session, it ruled to dismiss the petition for certiorari filed by Reyes who sought to stop the disqualification imposed on her by the poll body for lack of merit.
With a vote of 7-4-3, the majority of the magistrates led by Associate Justice Jose Perez ruled that there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Comelec.
Joining Perez are Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Aranal-Sereno, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Mariano del Castillo, Lucas Bersamin, Roberto Abad and Bienvenido Reyes.
Four of the justices who dissented in the ruling were Magistrates Antonio Carpio, Arturo Brion, Marvic Mario Victor Leonen and Martin Villarama.
The dissenters believe that the petition of Reyes must not be junked, but instead order the respondent Comelec to file its comment.
Three inhibited from the case—Justices Jose Catral Mendoza, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Pres-bitero Velasco. Justice Dios-dado Peralta is abroad.
Velasco recused himself from the case since his son, incumbent Rep. Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque, is the opponent of Reyes in the May 2013 polls.
In May 2013, Comelec ruled with finality that Reyes is disqualified because she is an American citizen.
In a four-page resolution of the Comelec en banc promulgated on May 14, it junked the motion for reconsideration filed by Reyes.
Voting five against one, with one abstention, it affirmed with finality the Comelec 1st Divi-sion’s 27 March 2013 Resolution canceling Reyes’ Certificate of Candidacy for the position of Congresswoman of the Lone Legislative District of Marinduque.
Only Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes dissented in the ruling while Commissioner Luie Guia took no part in the deliberation and abstained from the case.
With the said ruling, it effectively voids the victory of Reyes against incumbent Marinduque Rep. Velasco under Republic Act 6646 which states: “Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted.”