Junjun Binay can run  for mayor â Comelec
Former Makati mayor Junjun Binay escorts his sister, Sen. Nancy Binay, who filed her candidacy at the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila yesterday.
KrizJohn Rosales
Junjun Binay can run for mayor – Comelec
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - October 13, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Former Makati mayor Jejomar “Junjun” Binay can run for public office in the 2019 midterm polls despite the graft charges he is facing, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday.

James Jimenez, spokesperson for the Comelec, said Binay can seek the city’s mayoralty post unless there is a final conviction on his pending cases.

The Comelec would look into the details of Binay’s conviction by the Office of the Ombudsman, which led to his supposed disqualification from next year’s elections, Jimenez said.

He made the statement amid questions regarding the eligibility of Binay, who was on the list of the Department of the Interior and Local Government as among those disqualified from running in the elections.

“Unless there is a court decision that is final and executory, a candidate cannot be barred from seeking public office,” Jimenez said.

Sixto Brillantes, lawyer for Binay and former Comelec chairman, said the former mayor can still run in next year’s elections.

“There is no legal obstacle if Junjun decides to run for Makati mayor again because he has not been convicted on any of the two cases filed against him,” Brillantes said.

“One of the cases was reversed. There is no final conviction yet in the other case. So there is no ground for disqualification, as simple as that,” he added.

The former mayor was found guilty of serious dishonesty and grave misconduct by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the P1.3-billion Makati Science High School building.

Binay was dismissed from the service and perpetually barred from holding public office. 

But the Court of Appeals reversed the ombudsman’s decision in 2016, citing the “Condonation Doctrine,” which prevents the administrative disciplining of elective officials for offenses committed during their immediate preceeding term.  

He is facing another graft complaint over the allegedly anomalous P2.2-billion Makati City Hall building 2 project.

Binay’s lawyer, JM Mendoza, said the case in question could not be used to bar the former mayor from reclaiming his post. 

“The decision of the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the construction of the Makati Science High School building is on appeal and therefore not final and executory,” Mendoza said. 

“He is not disqualified from running for public office under Section 40 (b) of the Local Government Code,” he added.

Mendoza said any report claiming Binay is disqualified from running “is misleading and inaccurate.”

Sibling rivalry

Amid the rivalry between Binay and his sister, Mayor Abby Binay-Campos, the former mayor accompanied his other sister, Sen. Nancy Binay, when she filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) for reelection yesterday at the Comelec office in Intramuros, Manila.

Binay earlier said he is ready to challenge the reelection bid of Abby, if there is public clamor for it. 

“When our parents return from abroad this weekend, the family will discuss the issue. At the moment, let’s hold this Binay vs Binay scenario until we have discussed it,” Nancy told reporters.

The senator expressed confidence that the conflict between her siblings would be settled.

Isko vs Erap, Lim

Former social welfare undersecretary Isko Moreno yesterday filed his COC for mayor of Manila.

Moreno will be pitted against incumbent Mayor Joseph Estrada and former mayor Alfredo Lim.

Estrada welcomed Moreno’s candidacy.

“It is part of democracy. Everybody can run for an elective position,” Estrada said.

Moreno, who served as Estrada’s vice mayor,  compared himself to “David” and his opponents as “Goliaths.” 

He filed his candidacy with his runningmate, Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, and his candidates for councilors.

Estrada’s daughter, Jerika Ejercito, also filed her COC for councilor of the Fourth District of Manila. 

Onofre Estrada, not related to the mayor, also filed his COC for mayor.

Malapitan seeks reelection

In Caloocan City, Mayor Oscar Malapitan is running for his third and last term in next year’s elections.

Malapitan filed his COC at the Comelec office in North Caloocan yesterday.

He said he would focus on job creation and the construction of a bigger city jail and hall of justice if he is reelected.

Malapitan was accompanied by his running mate Vice Mayor Macario Asistio; First District Rep. Along Malapitan; District 1 Councilors PJ Malonzo, Dean Asistio, Jay Africa, Vincent Malapitan, Alou Nubla and Karina Teh; and District 2 Councilors LA Asistio, Chito Abel, Rose Mercado, Obet Samson, Doc Alex Aruelo and Carding Bagus. 

Former Caloocan mayor Enrico Echiverri is reportedly running for congressman against Malapitan’s son, Along.

More Calixtos running

In Pasay, four members of the Calixto family are running for different posts next year.

Rep. Imelda Calixto-Rubiano will run for mayor to replace her brother, Mayor Tony Calixto, who is on his last term.

Cesar Cuneta, brother of actress Sharon Cuneta, is running for mayor against Rubiano under the Nationalist People’s Coalition.

Calixto, in turn, will seek the city’s lone congressional district.

 His son Mark and cousin Joey Calixto-Isidro are running for councilors of District 1 and District 2, respectively.

QC lawmaker won’t run

 Rep. Winnie Castelo of Quezon City’s Second District is no longer running for vice mayor in next year’s elections.

 “I announce that I am no longer pushing through with my plans to run for office outside of my district. My dream and vision of building a world- class Quezon City will proceed as planned in whatever capacity I may later on take,” he said in a statement.

Castelo is on his last term as a congressman. He announced his decision a day after candidates for mayor and vice mayor in the city filed their COCs.

Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte is seeking the mayoral post, with Councilor Gian Carlo Sotto as her runnigmate.

Immigration Deputy Commissioner Marc Red Mariñas announced he would resign from his post to join the mayoral race in Muntinlupa City. 

Mariñas, 43, will run against Mayor Jaime Fresnedi, who is expected to seek reelection.  – With Jose Rodel Clapano, Rey Galupo, Ghio Ong, Jess Diaz, Evelyn Macairan

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