Aga Muhlach, Charlene Gonzales can vote in CamSur, court rules

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Aga Muhlach. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Court of Appeals has ordered the reinstatement of show biz couple Aga Muhlach and Charlene Gonzales as legitimate voters of San Jose, Camarines Sur.

In a 19-page decision dated Feb. 13, the court’s 12th division reversed the earlier rulings of two Camarines Sur judges who delisted the couple from the registration records of the Commission on Elections.

The appellate court said Muhlach and Gonzales “have more than sufficiently complied with the residency requirement in law,” saying the Omnibus Election Code and Republic Act No. 8189 or the Voter’s Registration Act of 1996 clearly stated that the reckoning period for the residency requirement of a prospective voter shall be at least six months immediately preceding the elections.

For the May 13, 2013 polls, therefore, a prospective voter should have resided in the city or municipality where he intends to vote on or before Nov. 13, 2012.

 

‘Grave error’

In a decision penned by Justice Vicente Veloso Jr. the appellate court said the local court committed a “grave error” when it held that the reckoning period for residency at San Jose was six months prior to the date of registration.

Muhlach and Gonzales registered in Barangay San Juan, San Jose, on March 19, 2012. The following month, several residents filed a petition before the election registration board of San Jose to exclude the couple on grounds of nonresidency.

However, the Election Registration Board approved the registration in September.

Undeterred, the residents filed a case to reverse the ERB decision before the municipal circuit trial court, which ruled against the

couple.

Muhlach and Gonzales appealed to the regional trial court, which also ruled against them on Dec. 17, 2012. The RTC cited a Comelec resolution which states that any person who has not reached the required period of residency may register not earlier than May 12, 2012. Thus, the RTC ruled that the couple should have been residents of San Jose as early as September 2011 but the ERB had established that they were considered residents starting Feb. 17, 2012.

 

Patently erroneous

In their certiorari case filed before the Court of Appeals, Muhlach and Gonzales said the Comelec resolution was merely directory and not a qualification to register as a voter. The justices agreed, adding that the RTC’s  interpretation of the resolution was “patently erroneous.”

“A citizen cannot be disenfranchised for the flimsiest reasons grounds, and upon clear and convincing proof, may a citizen be deemed to have forfeited this precious heritage of freedom,” the Court said.

The other division members, Justice Jane Aurora Lantion and Eduardo Peralta Jr., concurred in the decision. Peralta opined that

technically, Muhlach and Gonzales only became registered voters when their applications were approved on Sept. 28, 2012.

Muhlach is running for a congressional seat to represent Camarines Sur’s fourth district under the Liberal Party.

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  • $20722540

    talo na ang mga fuentebella diyan sa partido, buti naman para mapalitan sila na ala naman nagagawa and ala kuwenta

  • wilson

    paano mo naman nasabi na wala nagawa ang fuentebella sa partido hindi mo ba nakikita ang mahirap sa iyo taga goa ka pero hindi mo idinidilat yang mata at si aga may naitulong ba yan sa partido simula ng maging tao ito at kung hindi kay lray hindi naman yan tatakbo at goa lang naman territorio ni aga at sa ibang bayan wala at ang botante ngayon ay mautak hindi mo madadala yan sa pa pogi pakitanong nga ki aga kung anong credential niya.

  • wilson

    hindi pa tapos yan at  susunod dadalhin na yan sa supreme court ng mga petetioner na taga san jose kaya huwag munang maging kampante si aga at isa pa hintayin natin ang desisyon ng comelec legal department di ba sinabi ni brillantes na walang jurisdiction ang coaurt of appeal sa comelec nasa batas yan tanging ang korte suprema lang ang may poder na baliktarin ang desisyon ng comelec.

  • Marx Louis Wang

    GUSTO LANG GAMITIN NI AGA ANG MGA TAGA-SAN JOSE SA MGA AMBISYON NIYA. BAKIT DI SIYA KUMANDIDATO SA LUGAR NA KUNG SAAN SIYA MAS MATAGAL TUMIRA. VERYOBVIOUS, MANGGAGAMIT!!!

    MGA TAGA-SAN JOSE, CAM SUR!!! HUWAG NA HUWAG NIYONG IBOTO YAN!!! UUTUTAN LANG KAYO NIYAN PAGKATAPOS. SASAMSAMIN ANG PERANG NAIUUKOL PARA SA INYO. BE MORE THAN WISE BICOLANOS!!! DON’T DOOOOOONNNNNNNNN’T MAKE HIM REALIZE HIS SELFISH DREAMS!!!!

  • disqus_ZrxaGjUzMQ

    Caramoan will have more tourists coming in 2013

  • bryanbrian

    Panic mode na ang mga corrupt na trapo sa distrito ni Aga!hahaha!

  • FORTHE GOOD

    This guy is one of the most socially aware among our celebrities. After the EDSA revolt in 2006, he has been vocal about his sentiments on social issues and concerns.

    Now, he is taking one of the boldest steps of his life, taking the trapos head on!!

    If elected, I am sure, he can do more than just giving gifts as what he is doing regularly every Christmas all these years as a private citizen.

    Believe me, Aga Muhlach can make a big difference compared to the fuentebellas and villafuertes.

  • yesyesyo

    Hindi na nakapag pigil si Aga. Nakikita nya ang patuloy na pagdami ng kahirapan sa distrito nila kahit ilang dekada na sa pwesto ang mga trapo.

    I wish him well. I know he is the better man. He is more deserving of public trust than those who were holding public office for decades but just enriched themselves in power.

    • anton kinuton

      but isn’t it that aga was asked by a trapo friend from a trapo family to run as a proxy against an equally trapo candidate? the trapo family will be using aga’s popularity as a showbiz personality more that aga’s ability and sincerity if any. in the end, it will be the trapo friend and his family will be running the affairs of the district. is there no full-blooded native of the place who is intelligent and capable enough to run against and beat these trapos? what an insult…

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