SC settles poll disputes at IBP Eastern Visayas

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THE Supreme Court (SC) has settled the disputes on the election at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Eastern Visayas and declared the duly-elected governor.

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In a ruling, the SC resolved that Atty. Jose Vicente Opinion is qualified to run as governor of IBP Eastern Visayas region for the 2013 to 2015 term.

“The six [6] votes cast in favor of Atty. Jose Vicente Opinion are valid votes and should be counted in his favor; the proclamation of Atty. Aileen Maglana by Governor Manuel Enage Jr. be annulled since she failed to obtain the majority of the votes cast in the May 25, 2013 elections; and Atty. Opinion be declared the duly elected Governor of IBP Eastern Visayas region for the 2013-2015 term, having garnered the highest number of votes cast in the May 25, 2013 elections.”

On May 25, 2013, 13 delegates of the IBP Eastern Visayas Region gathered at the Session Hall of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 24, Bulwagan ng Kata–rungan, Capitol Site, Maasin, Leyte, to elect the governor of their region for the 2013-2015 term.

Also present during the meeting were the Court’s designated observer, Judge Bethany Kapili (Executive Judge of the RTC, Branch 24, Maasin, Leyte), other lawyers of the Southern Leyte Chapter and outgoing Governor Manuel Enage Jr. Governor Enage as presided officer called the election to order and opened the nominations for the position of Governor of IBP Eastern Visayas for the 2013 to 2015 term.

Upon a motion duly seconded, Atty. Maglana—the incumbent President of IBP Samar Chapter—was nominated for the position of governor.

Maglana then moved that Governor Enage declare that only IBP Samar Chapter was qualified to be voted upon for the position of Governor for IBP Eastern Visayas, to the exclusion of all the other eight chapters.

Maglana cited the rotation rule under Bar Matter No. 491 and argued that since 1989 or the start of the implementation of the rotation rule, only IBP Samar Chapter had not served as Governor for IBP Eastern Visayas.

Opinion, the candidate of the IBP Eastern Samar Chapter, took the floor and manifested that before he decided to run for Governor, he sought the opinion of the IBP if he was still qualified to run considering that he also ran for Governor and lost in the immediately preceding term.

He stated that he received an opinion dated April 2, 2013 from Governor Vicente Joyas, Chairman of the IBP Executive Committee.

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