CA ruling keeps Aga in poll race

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The Court of Appeals has kept actor Aga Muhlach in the congressional race in Camarines Sur’s fourth district, maintaining that he is a registered voter in the province and turning down an appeal by a group of residents from San Jose town.

In a unanimous decision, the court’s 12th Division found no reason to reverse its Feb. 13 ruling in favor of Muhlach (real name: Ariel Muhlach) and his actress-wife, Charlene Gonzales. Associate Justice Vicente Veloso wrote the decision, with Justices Jane Aurora Lantion and Eduardo Peralta Jr. concurring with it.

The petitioners insisted that the Muhlachs should be excluded from the list of voters since they did not meet residency requirements. But their motion for reconsideration was denied by the court, “considering that the matters raised in the present motion have already been sufficiently passed upon by this court and further finding no cogent reason with which to modify, much less reverse our assailed decision dated on Feb. 13, 2013.”

The court upheld its order to the Commission on Elections to reinstate the names of the show biz couple in the list of voters in San Jose. It nullified the ruling of the Regional Trial Court and the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of San Jose, which excluded the Muhlachs from the list and, in effect, disqualified the actor to run for Congress.

Muhlach met the legal requirement for residency, the appellate court said. A voter must be a resident in the place where he will vote at least six months immediately preceding the election.

“Time and again, it has been said that every Filipino’s right to vote shall be respected, upheld and given full effect,” the court said.

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