A judge in Bicol has ordered the exclusion of actor Aga Muhlach and his wife Charlene from the voters’ list of San Jose, Camarines Sur, endangering his candidacy for Congress.
In a 13-page ruling, Judge Noel Paulite ordered that the names of Muhlach and his wife be stricken off the list of voters in Barangay San Juan, San Jose, Camarines Sur, after they failed to comply with the six-months residency requirement for registered voters.
The actor is running for congressman in Camarines Sur’s fourth congressional district. He will be up against Felix William “Wimpy” Fuentebella, son of last-term Deputy House Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella.
In his order, Paulite said “respondents failed to comply with the six-months residency requirement.”
Paulite said Mayor Antonio Chavez had revoked his “affirmation of the spouses’ alleged residency” in San Jose while Cesar B. Chavez, the owner of the house that the Muhlachs leased, asked that the lease be terminated.
“Oddly, though, the Muhlach family was rarely seen occupying the house. As a matter of fact, it is but proper to construe that they almost never resided therein,” Paulite said.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, Muhlach’s counsel, said they would bring the case to the Court of Appeals.
“I haven’t seen the ruling but we will file a petition for certiorari at the Court of Appeals and secure a temporary restraining order (TRO) in order to stop the implementation of [Paulite’s] order,” Macalintal said.
He said Paulite’s ruling does not mean that Muhlach’s name would not be included in the ballot that would be printed by the Commission on Elections.
“That won’t happen because the order is not yet final and executory. Unless the Court of Appeals does not issue a TRO, but we are confident that the appellate court will rule in our favor,” Macalintal said.
“There is a similar case involving the son of former Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jaslosjos, where I was also the lawyer, and we won in the Court of Appeals,” he added.
The Muhlachs had asked Paulite to inhibit himself from the case because the Fuentebellas were supposed to have been instrumental in the judge’s appointment to his post.
“[That] is unfounded and a misconception… To entertain such erroneous notion is a pathetic fallacy,” Paulite said. Philip C. Tubeza