BREAKING: Tallado qualified to run for governor--SC

MANILA--The Supreme Court (SC), voting 8-6, has granted the petition of Edgardo Tallado who questioned his disqualification by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to run as governor of Camarines Norte during last May elections.

In a decision penned by Chief Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, the Court En Banc has overturned the COMELEC’s decision disqualifying Tallado to run in the gubernatorial race.

Concurring with the Chief Justice are Justices Diosdado M. Peralta, Alexander G. Gesmundo, Andres B. Reyes, Jr., Jose C. Reyes, Jr., Amy C. Lazaro-Javier, Henry Jean Paul B. Inting, and Rodil V. Zalameda.

Justice Francis H. Jardeleza dissented and was joined by Justices Antonio T. Carpio, Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin S. Benjamin Caguioa, and Rosmari D. Carandang.

When Tallado was disqualified by the COMELEC en banc, he elevated his case to the SC which issued a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO), which allowed him to run in the May 2019 polls. Tallado garnered 149,002 votes while as his opponent Cathy Barcelona-Reyes got 104,635 votes.

The SC ruled that there was an involuntary interruption to office after he was dismissed from the service by the Office of the Ombudsman.

It stressed that Tallado was not able to complete his “three full terms” because of this interruption into office and, thus, must be allowed to seek another term.

Records showed that Tallado sought to run again for governor for the “fourth time” in view of his contention that his three terms in office was interrupted due to his dismissal from the service imposed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

The COMELEC en banc affirmed the ruling of its First Division cancelling the Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) of reelectionist Tallado.

The cancellation of Tallado’s CoC stemmed from the petition of Norberto Villamin and Senandro Jalgalado who argued that the midterm elections would be his fourth term.

The COMELEC pointed out two Ombudsman decisions imposing upon Tallado the penalty of dismissal from service which did not attain finality because he availed of the remedy of appeal and the Ombudsman’s decisions on his dismissals were modified to suspension only or a temporary restraining order to hold the enforcement of the dismissal.

In 2015, then Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales suspended Tallado and, subsequently in March 2018, meted the penalty of perpetual disqualification from office. These Ombudsman rulings originated from a complaint by former provincial veterinarian Edgardo Gonzales for grave abuse of authority and grave misconduct for Tallado’s relief of him from the position and his assignment as public information officer.