BANGUED, Abra: The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc has declared as final and executory its earlier resolution that denied a motion for reconsideration filed by Rep. Joseph Santo Nono Bernos and two members of the Philippine National Police in connection with the violation of provisions of the Omnibus Election Code in the run-up to the May 2013 midterm polls.
Earlier, Dolores Mayor Robert Victor Seares Jr. filed a complaint against Bernos, Police Officer (PO)3 Raymund Palope and PO2 Jithelo Panigan Tuazon for violation of Section 261, Paragraphs e, f and y of the Omnibus Election Code, for their allegedly election-related activities.
The case against a certain Dante Guzman, also one of the accused, was deemed dismissed by reason of his death.
Bernos, through counsel, filed a motion for reconsideration on Aug. 30, 2016, praying that the Aug. 1, 2016 resolution recommending the filing of information for violation of the election code against them be reversed and set aside, and that a new resolution be rendered reinstating the resolution of the assigned investigator, office of the election director of the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Palope also filed a similar motion for reconsideration on Sept. 1, 2016, assailing the Comelec’s Aug. 2, 2016 resolution.
A certification dated March 12, 2019 issued by lawyer Abigail Justine Cuaresma Lilagan, acting clerk of the commission, stated that a perusal of the records shows that respondent Palope was personally served a copy of the resolution on Oct. 4, 2017.
Meanwhile, Rodrigo Basa 2nd, election officer of La Paz, Abra, executed an affidavit stating among others, that Bernos was not served a copy of the resolution because he could not be located in his given address.
In a two-page order dated March 11, 2019, Comelec Chairman Sharif Abas said the resolution promulgated on Sept. 14, 2017 denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the lawmaker and his co-accused because copies of the resolution were deemed served.
In view of Basa’s affidavit of service, the poll body issued an order dated March 11, 2019 considering respondent Bernos was duly served a copy of the resolution dated Sept. 14, 2017 that denied his motion for reconsideration.
Under existing Comelec rules and regulations, a decision of the commission en banc shall become final and executory after 30 days from its promulgation.
The certification noted that no restraining order has been issued by the Supreme Court in relation to the Sept. 14, 2017 resolution of the en banc to this date, thus, the same is considered to have become final and executory.
Seares filed the election case against Bernos and the two police officers for alleged threats, intimidation, terrorism and use of fraudulent device or other forms of coercion; coercion of election officials and employees; and false certification or identification of another as a bonafide resident of a particular place or locality for the purpose of securing the latter’s registration as a voter.
Bernos could not be reached for comment as of press time.