Comelec: Arcilla still a candidate
Odessa O. Leyson (The Freeman) - March 27, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City North District Councilor Alvin Arcilla remains a candidate in the upcoming May 13 elections despite a disqualification order from the Commission on Elections, says election officer Marchel Sarno.

Sarno said the order issued by the Comelec First Division is not yet final and executory. He said until the order becomes final, Arcilla is still considered one of the candidates for councilor of Cebu City North District.

“Wala naapektahi ang iyang candidacy sa decision kay dili paman ni siya executory nga decision (his candidacy was not affected because the decision is not yet executory), of course without prejudice to decisions from the en banc,” Sarno said.

The Comelec First Division granted the petition for disqualification filed by Allen Canoy against Arcilla. In a decision dated March 19, the poll body ruled that Arcilla is ineligible to run because he had been elected to the same position for three consecutive terms already.

“Accordingly, respondent’s Certificate of Candidacy for Member, Sangguniang Panlungsod in the First District of Cebu City for the 13 May 2019 NLE is hereby CANCELLED,” read a portion of the decision.

Section 8, Article X of the 1987 Constitution and Section 43 (b) of Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 provide that local officials are prohibited from reelection after three consecutive terms.

The poll body said Arcilla’s suspension from office is not considered an interruption of his term as councilor based on jurisprudence. Arcilla argued that his suspension from office in 2016 interrupted his term and made him eligible for reelection.

Arcilla was among the 12 city councilors suspended by the Office of the President from May 17, 2016 to June 30, 2016 for taking part in the approval of the resolution granting calamity assistance to themselves and City Hall employees in 2013.

Sarno said his office has already received the disqualification order but Arcilla still have legal remedies available to him. He said Arcilla can file a motion for reconsideration before the Comelec en banc.

From the Comelec en banc, he can also ask a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Supreme Court.

Lawyer Winefredo Orcullo, Arcilla’s legal counsel, said they will file a motion for reconsideration on Friday before the Comelec en banc. Arcilla’s spokesperson Atty. Amando Virgil Ligutan said his client is still very much in the running.

“Comelec lawyer Marchel Sarno stated that as it stands today, Alvin Arcilla is still a candidate for city councilor because the decision is not yet final and executory. So we inform the voters that Alvin Arcilla is still a bonafide candidate for city councilor for this coming election,” he said.

Ligutan said Arcilla is not yet disqualified because only a final and executory decision from the Comelec can declare as such.

“The issue whether or not suspension is considered as an interruption of your term is not a decided issue. It will take a Supreme Court decision categorically, deciding the matter that will settle the issue,”Ligutan said.—  FPL (FREEMAN)

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