By NITZ ARANCON
with EDWIN IYO
THE ruling of the 1st Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that cancelled the candidacy for Gingoog vice mayor of Misamis Oriental Rep. Peter Unabia would likely result in a long drawn-out legal battle.
Misamis Oriental elections officer Carlito Ravelo said the Comelec’s May 29 decision wasn’t final and executory, and Unabia still have legal options.
Late last month, the Comelec ruled on Gingoog councilor Miguel Paderanga’s petition that questioned Unabia’s residency in Gingoog and voided the outgoing congressman’s certificate of candidacy.
“Ang proseso nga mikandidato siya (Unabia), nakada-og ug na-proclaim. Ang decision sa 1st Division sa Comelec, wala man magsulti nga ila nang gipotol ang proseso sa election. So, most probably, makalingkod pa siya sa July isip vice mayor sa Gingoog,” according to Ravelo.
Unabia’s lawyer, Dale Bryan Mordeno, earlier said a motion for reconsideration has been filed by his client.
Ravelo said, “If ma-deny, mahimong mosaka siya sa Commission en banc. If ma-deny pa gyud, mahimong mo-adto siya sa Korte Suprema.”
Lawyer Joel Dexter Nagtalon, Gingoog’s elections officer, said it was his office that served the Comelec resolution that cancelled Unabia’s certificate of candidacy after it was established that he has resided in San Luis, Gingoog for only 10 months, short of the minimum requirement.
Based on the law, a candidate for a local position should be a resident of a city where he is seeking an elective seat for at least one year.