Supreme Court unseats Palawan vice governor

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MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court  has unseated Palawan Vice Governor Clara Espiritu-Reyes, wife of fugitive former Palawan Governor Mario Joel Reyes after it affirmed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling that she misrepresented herself as resident of Palawan’s second district to qualify to run for public office.

Her husband is currently in hiding after the Palawan Regional Trial Court ordered his arrest for the murder of environmentalist and broadcaster Gerry Ortega.

In a resolution, the high court said the Comelec did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it cancelled the certificate of candidacy of Espiritu-Reyes.

“Accordingly, the resolutions dated 5 May 2010 and 12 July 2010 of the Comelec 2nd Division and the Comelec En Banc, respectively, are hereby affirmed. The status quo ante order dated 27 July 2010 is hereby lifted,” the high court stated.

The high court said the Comelec was correct in invalidating her certificate of candidacy (COC) for the vice gubernatorial post in the May 10, 2010 elections after she failed to substantiate her claim that she was a permanent resident of Barangay (village) Tigman, Aborlan, Palawan.

After her appeals were turned down by Comelec, she took her case to the high court.

“[T]his court sustains the Comelec findings that petitioner (Clara Reyes) committed material misrepresentation in her COC by deliberately stating therein under oath that she is a resident of Tigman, Aborlan, Palawan, and she is qualified for the office she seeks to be elected to, when in truth and in fact, she remains domiciled in Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa City,” the court said.

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