Witnesses: Mabatid not a Mabolo resident
Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - July 17, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Defeated Mabolo barangay captain candidate Daniel Francis Arguedo testified that their newly proclaimed barangay captain is not a resident of the barangay.

Arguedo, 48, took the witness stand yesterday being the first witness for the prosecution in a quo warranto petition, which seeks to annul the proclamation of Prisca Niña Mabatid as the winner in the barangay elections.

Eight days after the proclamation of Mabatid, Arguedo filed before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities a petition for quo warranto claiming Mabatid lacks the residency requirement as enumerated under the rules.

Thus, he asked for Mabatid’s nullification in holding public office.

Arguedo claimed though Mabatid was a registered voter of Mabolo based on a voter’s certification.

However, in order to run, she must be an actual resident of the barangay for at least one year immediately before the day of the election, which was lacking.

In addition, in private and public dealings of Mabatid, she mentioned that she is a resident of Sunflower Drive, Sunny Hills, in Barangay Talamban, Cebu City.

Under Section 2 of COMELEC Resolution No. 10196 series of 2017 enumerated the qualifications for punong barangay namely: a citizen of the Philippines; a registered voter in the barangay where he intends to be elected; a resident therein for at least one year immediately preceding the day of the election; able to read and write Filipino or any other local language; and at least 18 years of age on election day.

In the cross-examination, Arguedo claimed that he knew Mabatid is residing in Talamban.

“She is not residing in Mabolo. I don’t know when she transferred in Talamban,” he said, claiming he did not file any opposition before the COMELEC when Mabatid filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) on April 18, 2018 until May 14, 2018 – the Election Day as to the residency issue.

Under the rules, he said he can always file a case after the proclamation seeking the nullification of the proclaimed winner.

Lawyer Delon Urot, one of the legal counsels of Mabatid, asked Arguedo if he has personal knowledge if Mabatid is a registered voter of Barangay Talamban.

Arguedo replied based on the voter’s certificate of Mabatid that she is a registered voter of Mabolo since 2015 but in all her dealings she uses Talamban as her residence.

Urot said being a registered voter and residency are two different things.

Aside from Arguedo, the prosecution also presented businessman Ruben David Delos Reyes, former employee of Mabatid, to corroborate the former’s claim that Mabatid is a resident of Talamban.

Arguedo admitted that Salud Mabatid, the mother of Prisca Niña, is a resident of Mabolo, but had no personal knowledge if the former is leaving in an ancestral house.

Lawyer Vicente Fernandez II told The FREEMAN that having a property in one place is not a requirement to run in a public position and it doesn’t mean that this is his domicile.

In the case of Mabatid, he said the former has a property in Talamban because it is for the convenience of her children who were studying in Ateneo, which is nearer.

Fernandez said Mabatid did not leave her place of origin and in fact Arguedo admitted that their client is a registered voter of Mabolo.

Meanwhile, Fernandez said the court dismissed outright the election protest filed by Arguedo against Mabatid on the ground of vote buying due to technicality. (FREEMAN)

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