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COMELEC cancels Certificate of Candidacy of CamSur BM Hernandez

The Commission on Elections en banc resolved to cancel the Certificate of Candidacy of Romulo O. Hernandez, during the 2013 election for members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in the 2nd district of the Province.

Romulo O. Hernandez
Romulo O. Hernandez
Photo: Sangguniang Panlalawigan Camarines Sur
In its Resolution promulgated July 8, 2014, three Comelec Commissioners voted in favor of the cancellation of the COC of Hernandez. Two, meanwhile, dissented, one did not participate in the voting and another participated but had no appointment as Commissioner.

The Comelec en banc reversed and set aside the Resolution of the Second Division, which originally sustained the validity of Hernandez’ certificate of candidacy.

However, in the Comelec en banc Order dated July 10, 2014, Brillantes said:

“The Office of the Clerk of the Commission received the Resolution of the Commission en banc for the instant case which granted petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration, and, accordingly, cancelled the Certificate of Candidacy of respondent. However, the said Resolution failed to obtain the necessary majority votes as required by the rules since the Members of the Commission voted as follows: Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr., Comm. Lucinito N. Tagle and Comm. Elias R. Yusoph voted in accord with the subject resolution; Comm. Robert S, Lim and Comm. Luie Tito F. Guia dissented, asserting that there was no violation of the three-term rule; Comm Al A. Parreno took no part in the deliberation of the case; and the vote of Comm. Maria Gracia Cielo M. Padaca for denial of the Petition may not be counted since she was not yet reappointed at the time of the promulgation of the same. It is therefore imperative for the Commission to conduct a re-deliberation/rehearing.”

“Hence, in order to expedite the proceedings, the Commission en banc, in lieu of hearing, hereby DIRECTS the parties to submit a Memorandum within three (3) days from receipt hereof copy furnished the other party.”

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr, affixed his signature in this Order.

The Petitioners in the election case were Gabriel Ariel F. Abonal and Roy Anthony Nidea, while the respondent is Romulo Ocampo Hernandez.

The main issue in the case was on the legal interpretation of the prohibition in the Constitution that bars local officials from holding office for more than three consecutive terms in the same position

Hernandez was originally elected as member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Camarines Sur in the 1st district. He is a resident of the town of Libmanan, which is part of said district.

Meantime, Republic Act 9716 was passed into law. This law reapportioned the municipalities comprising in the two districts of Camarines Sur. As a result, the town of Libmanan was transferred from the 1st district to the 2nd district.

After said reapportionment, Hernandez sought another term as Member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Camarines Sur in the 2010 National and Local Elections. That time, however, he indicated in his Certificate of Candidacy that he was running in the 2nd district. He won and fully served his 4th term from 2010 to 2013.

In the May 2013 elections, Hernandez ran again for another term. It was then that his candidacy was contested legally by Petitioners Abonal and Nidea.

The Petitioners said that respondent Hernandez had been elected and had served his 4th consecutive term as Member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. This, they alleged, is a patent violation of the three-term limit rule. Such being the case, he is disqualified, the Patitioners argued.

In his concurring opinion, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr. said that it is beyond question that Hernandez has ran, been elected and fully served four (4) consecutive terms as member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Camarines Sur, spanning 12 years.

“It is my position that the subsequent transfer of the Municipality of Libmanan from the 1st District to the 2nd District of Camarines Sur did not bestow Hernandez a fresh period within which he can run for three more consecutive terms, that to follow him to run and serve his 5thconsecutive term would in effect have us tolerate the very scenario which the Constitutional provision on the three-limit rule seeks to prevent, that is, a single person accumulating excessive power over a particular territorial jurisdiction as a result of a prolonged stay in the same office,” he said.

Those who voted in favor of the COC cancellation were Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes, Jr., Comm. Lucinito N. Tagle and Comm. Elias R Yusoph.

Those who dissented were Commissioners Christian Robert S. Lim and Luie Tito F. Guia.

Commissioner Al A. Parreno did not take part in the voting.

Commissioner Maria Grace Cielo M. Padaca had a dissenting opinion. Her vote, however, was questioned because on the day of the voting, her appointment had already expired since she did not have an ad interim appointment after Congress adjourned on June 11.

It will be recalled that Padaca was by-passed by the Commission on Appointments.

Meanwhile, in an interview by BICOL STANDARD, Hernandez said that he will discuss the issue with his lawyer. He further stated that will exhaust all legal remedies in connection with the en banc Order—BICOLSTANDARD.COM

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