Samar dynasty scions face disqualification casesBy Joey Gabieta |Inquirer Visayas
TACLOBAN CITY—Two scions of a political dynasty in Samar face the risk of being disqualified after a local court ruled that they should be excluded from the list of registered voters for failing to meet the residency requirement.
Judge Feliciano Aguilar, of the Regional Trial Court Branch 32 in Calbayog, ordered the Calbayog election officer to remove the names of Angelie Tan and her uncle, Arnold Tan, from the list of registered voters of Precinct No. 0100B in Barangay (village) Cagnipa, Calbayog.
He ruled that the two failed to meet the six-month requirement to be eligible to cast votes.
Inquirer sent text messages and called Angelie in her mobile phone but these went unanswered.
Lawyer Veronico Petalcorin, acting director of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Eastern Visayas, said the court ruling didn’t automatically mean that the two Tans are disqualified as candidates.
Angelie Tan is running for mayor of Calbayog while her uncle is running for a House seat representing Samar’s first congressional district, which includes the city of Calbayog.
“Their names still appear on the official ballots because the official ballots have already been printed long before the decision came out,” said Petalcorin.
He said the Tans could file a motion for reconsideration.
For the Tans to be disqualified, Petalcorin said those who filed the cases against them should use the court decision as basis to file a separate petition for disqualification.
If the two win in the elections, he said they could be unseated if the court would grant the petition for disqualification.
The two Tans belong to a political dynasty in Samar whose family members occupy various elective posts and are now running for different positions in the province.
Angelie’s two siblings—Samar Gov. Sharee Ann Tan and Vice Gov. Stephen James Tan—and their mother, Rep. Milagros Tan of Samar’s second district, are seeking reelection.
Gary Robido and Myrna Labor filed the petition to cancel the voter registration of Angelie. A separate petition against Arnold was filed by Carlitos Senolos and Basilio Aque.
The two petitions were first filed at the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities but was dismissed for failing to show proof that the Tans were not residents of Barangay Cagnipa, Calbayog.
The petitioners elevated their cases to the RTC, which later ruled in their favor.
In a decision dated May 6, Judge Aguilar said the witnesses presented by the petitioners all claimed they have not seen the Tans in their village.
Witnesses had testified that the Tans were residents of Barangay Mercedes in Catbalogan.
“These candid testimonies of the witnesses who are also longtime residents of the villages are persuasive,” the court ruled.