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Mendoza brings case to Supreme Court

MANILA, Philippines - Ousted Bulacan Gov. Joselito Mendoza has sought relief from the Supreme Court (SC) against the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) stripping him of his post.

In a petition filed Friday afternoon, Mendoza asked the SC to issue a temporary restraining order stopping the Comelec from implementing its resolution that declared his rival, Roberto Pagdanganan, winner in the 2007 gubernatorial race.

He also asked the SC to stop Pagdanganan from taking control of the provincial capitol through a cease-and-desist order.

In a nutshell, Mendoza argued before the SC that the Comelec committed “grave abuse of discretion tantamount to an excess of jurisdiction” through “serious infringements of its own rules.”

Firstly, he argued that the poll body’s decision handed down last week that declared Pagdanganan winner is not yet final.

“The desired majority was not obtained in the voting of the commission en banc since only three commissioners voted to deny the motion for reconsideration, three commissioners took no part and one commissioner dissented in the resolution,” he said.

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He cited Rule 3, Section 5 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure, which mandates that when the poll body sits in full, “the concurrence of a majority” of its members “shall be necessary for the pronouncement of a decision, resolution, order or ruling.”

Mendoza also said the Comelec did not serve any notice of promulgation to him, violating Section 5, Rule 18 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure requiring that “notice shall be served in advance upon the parties or their attorneys personally or by registered mail or by telegram” of the date of promulgation.

Lastly, he said the Comelec erred in declaring its resolution as immediately executory when the case is an ordinary election protest action and only becomes final and executory “after 30 days from its promulgation” under the poll body’s Rule 18, Section 13.

On these grounds, Mendoza asked the SC to declare the resolution unseating him null and void.

Last Feb. 8, the Comelec upheld the decision of its Second Division headed by Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer to invalidate Mendoza’s proclamation in the 2007 mid-term polls and junked the latter’s motion for reconsideration.

A Comelec resolution showed that Pagdanganan got 342,295 votes as against Mendoza’s 337,974, or a vote margin of 4,321 votes.

The Comelec clarified though last Friday that it would rehear the case as it failed to get the required number of votes from commissioners to oust Mendoza.

Ferrer said they would need four concurring votes to oust Mendoza and declare Pagdanganan the duly elected Bulacan governor in 2007. Otherwise, the case must be heard again.

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