Nueva Ecija congressional bet disqualified over void registration

Manny Galvez - The Philippine Star

CABANATUAN CITY, Philippines– A congressional candidate of the Nationalist People’s Coalition in Nueva Ecija has been disqualified over her American citizenship and void registration.

In a nine-page decision issued on Thursday, the Cabanatuan Municipal Trial Court Executive Judge Kelly Belino ordered  the Commission on Elections to exclude Rosanna Vergara’s name from the list of candidates.

The court described as “meritorious” the evidence presented by the petitioner, Philip Piccio, a registered voter of Barangay Kapitan here, that Vergara is not eligible to run in the May elections.

Piccio is an ally of Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali, who is running against Vergara in the third congressional district.

The court described as “misplaced” Vergara’s claim that her voter registration had not been deactivated when she became an American citizen.

“She may be a registered voter considering her name is incorrectly included in the active list of registered voters, but that does not make her a valid registered voter in the eyes of the law,” it said.               

Court records show Vergara registered as a voter in Barangay Bantug Norte on June 21,1997. On May 20, 1998, she was issued an American passport after she was naturalized as a US citizen. She had her biometrics taken when she transferred her registration to Barangay Rizdelis on Dec. 7, 2003.

The court said the restoration of Vergara’s right to vote when she reacquired her Filipino citizenship in November 2006 “cannot cure her void registration.”                   

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