Wigberto “Toby” Tañada Jr. of the ruling Liberal Party accused the camp of his rival, Dr. Helen Tan, of falsifying documents to derail his victory as representative of the 4th District of Quezon province.
In a statement on Thursday, Tañada alleged that a lawyer named Celso Escobido—a partner of the law firm Escobido and Pulgar Law Office representing Tan—falsified documents to make it appear that Tañada and Tan’s another opponent Alvin John Tañada was qualified to run even if he is not.
Toby, the brother of former House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada 3rd, noted that Escobido notarized Alvin’s pleadings and sworn statements which establish that Alvin is a long-time resident of Gumaca even if Escobido wasn’t a commissioned notary public at the time that such documents were notarized.
“In their desperation, they didn’t even bother covering their tracks. The falsification of verified pleadings and sworn statements by making them appear that they were duly notarized was clearly intended to benefit his client, Angelina Tan,” Toby said in a statement.
Tan beat Toby in the May polls by 400 votes, but the Commission on Elections (Comelec) nullified Tan’s proclamation as the winner in the congressional race on June 30. Comelec ordered the transfer of Alvin’s 7,038 votes to Toby since Alvin has been deemed disqualified from the race by the poll body.
The same Comelec decision tasked the Quezon Provincial Board of Canvassers to convene and proclaim the rightful winner after the transfer of votes.
Alvin was included in the 2013 balloting because the Comelec ruling disqualifying him came after Tan’s proclamation.
“Escobido wanted to ensure the victory of his client at all costs that he resorted to deliberately misleading the Comelec into believing that Alvin John was a long-time resident of my hometown, Gumaca, Quezon, and that he was qualified to run for Congress in our district. It is unfortunate that Atty. Escobido would go to such lengths to thwart the will of the electorate,” Toby pointed out.
Per Toby, disbarment proceedings have been initiated against Escobido and criminal and administrative complaints are also being prepared.
“Aside from violating the law on notarial practice and aside from blatantly exhibiting disrespect towards the Comelec, his illegal acts assault our democratic processes. It was a plot to deceive the voters of the 4th District of Quezon. What Atty. Escobido did for his client was far from the duties ascribed to those in the legal profession,” Toby, a lawyer like his elder brother Lorenzo 3rd, added.
Alvin is an adopted son of Alfonso Tañada, a distant cousin of Toby’s father, Wigberto.
“He [Alvin] just happens to be a Tañada too. There are other Tañadas in our district that have no relations with us,” Toby said.