Marinduque solon loses SC petition
The Supreme Court has rejected the petition of Regina Ongsiako Reyes in her bid to reverse a Commission on Elections decision to disqualify her as a candidate for the lone congressional district in Marinduque in the May 13 elections.
During en banc session, seven justices voted to dismiss Reyes’s petition, four dissented, three inhibited themselves, and one was on official leave.
In its decision, the Comelec en banc – affirming the ruling of its first division – declared that Reyes is an American citizen and not qualified to run for an elective post. Reyes is the daughter of Marinduque Gov. Carmencita Reyes and the sister of former congressman Edmundo Reyes Jr.
The poll body also ruled that Reyes lacked the required one-year residency in Marinduque.
The disqualification petition against Reyes was filed by Joseph Socorro B. Tan, a registered voter and a resident of Torrijos, Marinduque.
The SC ruling upholding the decision of the Comelec en banc in effect nullified the proclamation of Reyes as congresswoman-elect.
With the Reyes’ victory voided, the Comelec was expected to proclaim incumbent Congressman Lord Allan Velasco as the winner in the May 13 election in Marinduque’s lone congressional district.
Among the SC justices who voted for the dismissal of Reyes’ petition were Justice Jose Portugal Perez, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, and Justices Teresita J. Leonardo-de Castro, Mariano C. del Castillo, Lucas P. Bersamin, Roberto A. Abad, and Bienvenido L. Reyes.
The dissenters were Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio and Justices Arturo D. Brion, Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen and Martin S. Villarama Jr.
Justices Jose Catral Mendoza, Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe and Presbitero J. Velasco Jr. inhibited themselves. Rep. Velasco is the son of Justice Velasco. Justice Diosdado M. Peralta is on official leave.
On March 27, 2013, the Comelec’s first division cancelled Reyes’ certificate of candidacy (COC) for being an American citizen and for lack of the one-year residency for candidates to an elective office.
It said that “a Filipino citizen who becomes naturalized elsewhere effectively abandons his domicile of origin.”
In the case of Reyes, the poll body said that “there is no showing whatsoever that respondent (Reyes) had already re-acquired her Filipino citizenship… so as to conclude that she has regained her domicile in the Philippines, and there being no proof that respondent had renounced her American citizenship, it follows that she has not abandoned her domicile of choice in the United States of America.”
The Comelec ruled that Reyes is an American citizen as evidenced by her use of a United States passport No. 306278853 in her travels to the US since October 14, 2005 up to June 30 2013. It also said that Reyes was admitted to the California State Bar in 1995, maintained a US address, married an American citizen but the marriage was subsequently dissolved, and acquired properties and established businesses in the US.
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