EDITORIAL - Comelec obfuscation showing

The Freeman

The Comelec may have cancelled the candidacy of Cebu City councilor Jun Pe but before anyone starts celebrating, let it be pointed out that it is a stupid decision, and one that could cause more problems in countless elections ahead, instead of paving the way for clear elections.

Pe is serving out his third and last term as councilor in the north district of Cebu. Pe must have seen that he can’t win a higher position, so he took his chances with the law and filed a certificate of candidacy for the same position — city councilor — but in the south district.

To do that, Pe has to establish residency in the south. But giving up residency in the north means giving up the right to represent the north, thus abdicating a mandate that is not to expire until noon of June 30 yet.

On the other hand, if Pe continues to represent the north while already a candidate for councilor in the south, that could mean either usurpation of power or misrepresentation, in which case Pe is in a much deeper hole than just a residency question.

Residency is the least of all questions arising from the case. The more serious involve violation of term limits (which is never about residency but of elective government positions), abdication of a mandate, or misrepresentation, all of which Comelec should have resolved.

The bright boys at the Comelec did not see that if it is all about residency, then there would have been no need to impose term limits because there is nothing wrong with moving from one place to another. What’s wrong is for a person to nail himself to a seat forever, hence the rule.

Term limits are precisely what they are — limits to how many terms an official can stay in a particular position. If the term limit rule, in case the Comelec bright boys still don’t get it, is about residency, then it would have been aptly named so.

But clearly the Comelec does not get it. In its decision on the Pe case, it said the “Conditions for the application of the three-term limit rule are not present in the instant case as respondent is clearly not running for the same government position.” Wha?

What does the Comelec mean that Pe is not running for the same government position? Has it not seen his papers. Pe filed a certificate of candidacy for city councilor, the same position he held for three terms! He is not running for president, or mayor, or governor! Hoy, gising!  


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