DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines — The Commission on Elections First Division has junked the petition of losing candidate Olivia Paras to annul the proclamation of Jocelyn Sy-Limkaichong as Negros Oriental first district representative.
The Comelec, in a June 29 decision obtained by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, said that pending disqualification cases involving issues of citizenship could not suspend the proclamation of winning candidates.
A May 17 joint resolution of the Comelec Second Division disqualified Limkaichong as a candidate for the election she had just won on the ground that she was not a natural-born Filipino.
But on May 18, the Comelec issued Resolution 8062, which said that there would be no suspension of proclamation of winning candidates with pending disqualification cases.
This paved the way for Limkaichong’s proclamation by the Negros Oriental provincial board of canvassers on May 25.
Paras then filed her petition questioning the validity of Limkaichong’s proclamation and asking Comelec to nullify her proclamation.
But the poll body’s First Division Commissioners Resurreccion Borra and Romeo Brawner said that it was already the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, not the Comelec, which had jurisdiction over post-proclamation protests, except if the proclamation itself was illegal.
The Comelec said it dismissed Paras’ petition because the disqualification case involving Limkaichong was still pending reconsideration by the Comelec en banc.
Former first district congressman Jacinto Paras, Olivia’s husband, belittled the second division resolution, saying it was only decided by two commissioners.
“That’s nothing. That’s only Borra and Brawner. We have filed a motion for reconsideration on the issue of the illegality of the proclamation,” he said.
Paras maintained that the Comelec en banc decision disqualifying Limkaichong as a candidate on grounds that she is not a natural born Filipino was final and executory because the Supreme Court did not issue a temporary restraining order.
However, Limkaichong’s lawyer, Dirkie Palma, said the Comelec en banc decision was a “split decision” with three Commissioners voting to disqualify Limkaichong and three others voting to elevate the matter to the House of Representative Election Tribunal.
Palma said they asked the Comelec to clarify their decision so that they could go to the Supreme Court.