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Comelec told: Disqualify Pangasinan town mayor

DAGUPAN CITY—Residents of Basista, Pangasinan are urging the Comelec to act fast and decisively on a disqualification case filed by Joy Perez, who lost to reelectionist Mayor Manolito de Leon by only 67 votes in the May l3 elections. Lawyers of  Perez, who ran  as NPC mayoral candidate,  said they have  discovered  that in  2011 and 2012,   de Leon had traveled twice abroad using an American passport, describing these  acts as having  contravened his renunciation of  U.S. citizenship when his previous application for repatriation as a Filipino was granted, enabling him to run as mayor in the 2010 elections. Perez’s lawyers  cited   a previous Supreme Court decision on a strikingly similar case in which the High Court had disqualified an elected local official for having used prior to the election a foreign passport in travelling out of the country. In the Maquiling vs Comelec  case, the High Court  in 2009 ruled  that  “…the act of using  foreign passport xxx repudiates the very oath  of renunciation required for a former Filipino citizen  who is also a citizen of another country to be qualified to run for elective position.” Perez  is  the closest mayoral candidate  to de Leon in terms of  votes garnered in the last mayoral race of  Basista, Pangasinan. The disqualification case was filed by Perez last May 6, 2013 after the last day for the filing of candidacy. The case is now pending before the poll body.
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