• SC junks Villafuerte’s poll petition against grandson

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    THE Supreme Court (SC) junked the appeal filed by defeated Camarines Sur gubernatorial candidate Luis Villafuerte against his grandson Gov. Miguel Villafuerte.

    The high court effectively affirmed the Commission on Election (Comelec) ruling dismissing the petition filed by Villafuerte questioning the candidacy of his grandson.

    In a two-page Resolution of the SC en banc dated July 8, 2014, signed and promulgated by Atty. Enriqueta E. Vidal, Clerk of Court, the 15-man tribunal junked the motion for reconsideration filed by the older Villafuerte for lack of merit.

    “We find the same to be a rehash of the arguments advanced by petitioner in their petition which we have already considered and passed upon in our decision,” it averred.

    On February 25, 2014, the SC denied the petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order against the resolution dated April 1, 2013 by the Comelec en banc, which affirmed the resolution dated January 15, 2013 of its First Division dismissing Villafuerte’s verified petition to deny due course to or cancel the certificate of candidacy of respondent Miguel.

    The petitioner and respondent ran for governor in Camarines Sur last year.

    Luis sought the cancellation of Miguel’s COC for allegedly intentionally and materially misrepresented a false and deceptive name/nickname that would mislead the votes when he declared under oath in his COC that “L-Ray Jr.-Migz” was his nickname or stagename and that the name he intended to appear on the official ballot was “Villafuerte, L-Ray Jr.-Migz NP”.

    The petitioner alleged that respondent deliberately omitted his first name “Miguel” and inserted instead “L-Ray Jr.”, which is the nickname of his father, the then incumbent Gov. “L-Ray Villafuerte Jr.”

    But the Comelec’s First Division denied Villafuerte’s petition. The same was affirmed by the en banc, prompting Luis to bring his case to the Supreme Court.

    However, the tribunal explained in the ruling that the Comelec was right when it ruled that “existing law and jurisprudence are clear in providing that a misrepresentation in the [COC] is material when it refers to a qualification for elective office and affects the candidate’s eligibility”.

    The court affirmed the ruling of the poll body, which opined that “a misrepresentation of a non-material fact is no a ground to deny due course to or cancel a [COC] under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code”.

    “We made such finding in the context of our ruling that there was no showing that respondent had the intention to mislead or misinform or hide a fact with the use of such nickname so as to deny due course or cancel his COC. As we found in our decision, respondent’s use of the nickname “LRAY JR. MIGZ” is not a qualification for a public office which affects his eligibility,” the resolution read.

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