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Cebu News

Comelec favors lawyer’s petition: Council bet disqualified

Odessa O. Leyson - The Freeman
Comelec favors lawyerâs petition: Council bet disqualified
"According to Petitioner (Marie Velle), the above-cited circumstances would show that Respondent's real intention in running for public office is to cause confusion among the voters in the 2nd District of Cebu City by the similarity of surnames of Petitioner and Respondent," the Comelec said.
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CEBU, Philippines — The Commission on Elections has declared as nuisance candidate Sherwin Luie Abella, one of those who ran for councilor in Cebu City in the May 2019 polls.

The ruling of the First Division stemmed from a petition filed by Atty. Marie Velle “Amay” Abella, also a candidate for councilor in the city’s South District. She ran under the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan group of former mayor Tomas Osmeña.

"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is GRANTED. The Certificate of Candidacy of Respondent Sherwin Luie L. Abella is hereby CANCELLED," reads the Comelec resolution promulgated on June 28.

The resolution was signed by Commissioners Al Parreño, Ma. Rowena Amelia Guanzona, and Marlon Casquejo.

As defined under Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC), nuisance candidates are "persons who file their certificates of candidacy to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates."

The Comelec ruling came eight months after Marie Velle filed the petition on October 22, 2018.

Marie Velle questioned Sherwin’s candidacy as the latter reportedly did not have the financial resources to use in the campaign. He was also not affiliated with any political group.

"According to Petitioner (Marie Velle), the above-cited circumstances would show that Respondent's real intention in running for public office is to cause confusion among the voters in the 2nd District of Cebu City by the similarity of surnames of Petitioner and Respondent," the Comelec said.

It also said that having two candidates with the same family name “will consequently confuse voters of the 2nd District of Cebu City in the May 2019 NLE."

A Supreme Court ruling in the case of Bautista vs. Comelec stated that a candidate may be considered nuisance and the candidacy may be cancelled if there are circumstances or acts that the candidate is not eligible to run for an elective posts.

Sherwin did not answer or file evidence to rebut Marie Velle’s petition. He also did not appear on the conference dates set by Comelec on December 11 and 27, 2018. Furthermore, he could not be found at his given address.

"These all the more prove that Respondent does not have a bona fide intention to run for Member, Sangguniang Panlungsod of the 2nd District of Cebu City," Comelec said.

Effect

Election officer Marchel Sarno, the election officer at the South District during the May polls, told The Freeman it is up to the Comelec En Banc whether or not to transfer Sherwin’s votes to Marie Velle.

"Nagkinahanglan pa na og ruling sa First Division pero depende na og mo-file ba og motion for reconsideration si Sherwin. If single position palang ni siya, like for mayor, ang boto ma-transfer dayon… kini kay multi-slots ba. There is a possibility man gud ang usa ka tawo, niboto og duha ka Abella. I-check pa na ang balota (The First Division has to rule, depending also if Sherwin will file a motion for reconsideration. If it was a single position like the position of mayor, the votes would have been transferred directly to the other person but this is a multi-slot position. There is a possibility that a voter voted for the two Abellas. The ballots would have to be checked)," Sarno said.

Marie Velle ranked 10th in the South District with 110,131 toes. Sherwin, meanwhile, got 20,262 votes.

If Sherwin files a motion for reconsideration and Comelec denies the same, Marie Velle can file for a motion to execute the June ruling.

Marie Velle told The Freeman she is grateful for the Comelec ruling and that she will file a motion for execution this week.

"I am happy with the decision. This only proves that what is right and just prevails. I will file for execution of the decision," she said. (FREEMAN)  

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