Marinduque congressional candidate disqualified

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THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc has upheld the disqualification of Regina Ongsiako Reyes as congressional candidate for the lone district of Marinduque for being an American citizen.

A source said the poll body is set to promulgate its decision affirming the ruling of the Co­melec’s First Division declaring Reyes ineligible to seek public office.

The source said majority of the Comelec commissioners have signed the en banc resolution junking Reyes’ motion for reconsideration “for lack of merit.”

“The Resolution of the First Division of this Commission is a result of a tedious evaluation of the claims and defenses brought about by the two contending parties in the case at bar.

After an evaluation of the arguments presented, the Commission [First Division] declared the COC [certificate of candidacy]of the respondent [Reyes] as cancelled. This, We dare not disturb,” the Comelec en banc said in its unpromulgated resolution.

In a ruling dated March 27, 2013, the Comelec First Division held that Reyes is a US citizen and is therefore disqualified from running for a seat in the House of Representatives in the May 13 elections.

The poll body pointed out that Reyes relied on the certificate issued by the Bureau of Immigration detailing her use of a US passport since 2005.

“The requirement of Philippine citizenship is indispensable for a person seeking for an elective public office . . . it is a requisite which should be dealt with more scrutiny, if only to ensure that no person owing allegiance to other nation is actually permitted to govern our people,” the Comelec said.

The case stemmed from a petition filed by Joseph Tan.

Reyes is the daughter of Marinduque Gov. Carmencita Reyes and the sister of Toll Regularatory Board head Edmundo Reyes Jr.

Once the Comelec decision is upheld by the Supreme Court and becomes final, votes for Reyes in today’s election will be considered stray votes.

Jomar Canlas

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