Samar dynasty scions disqualified

Tans can’t run, says Comelec

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TACLOBAN CITY—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc has disqualified two scions of a powerful political clan in Samar from running for mayor and congressman for failure to meet the residency requirement.

In a two-page decision dated May 10, the Comelec en banc canceled the certificates of candidacy of Angelie “Angel” Tan and her uncle, Arnold Tan, and removed their names from the Comelec’s list of candidates.

Angelie is running for mayor of Calbayog City while her uncle is running for congressman in Samar’s first district.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer sent text messages to and repeatedly called Angelie through her mobile phone but these remained unanswered.

With the decision of the poll body, there will only be two mayoral candidates in Calbayog in today’s elections.

They are Calbayog Mayor Ronaldo Aquino and Vice Mayor Rey James Uy.

In the congressional race for Samar’s first district, the reelection bid of Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento will be unopposed.

Sarmiento and Aquino belong to the ruling Liberal Party (LP). Uy is running as an independent candidate although his elder sister, Rosa Jessica Uy-Delgado, is LP’s candidate for governor.

Angelie and Arnold belong to a political family that has ruled Samar province for more than a decade now.

Her mother, Rep. Milagrosa Tan, younger sister Gov. Sharee Ann Tan and younger brother Vice Gov. Stephen James Tan are all seeking reelection.

Angelie’s brother, Michael, is running for mayor of the capital city of Catbalogan.

They all belong to the National Unity Party (NUP) and are allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The decision of the Comelec en banc to disqualify Angelie and Arnold stemmed from an earlier ruling of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in  Calbayog City, canceling their voter registrations for their failure to meet the residency requirement.

The Comelec en banc said in Resolution No. 9695 that jurisprudence dictated that the poll body was “under legal duty to abide by the final judgment issued by the judiciary acting motu proprio, without need for any petition.”

The resolution pointed out that the RTC decision was already final and executory.

It added that noncompliance with the court order would render the Comelec “remiss of its constitutional duty to enforce and administer all laws relating to the conduct of elections.”

The resolution was signed by Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. and Commissioners Lucenito Tagle, Elias Yusoph, Maria Gracia Cielo Padaca, Al Parreno, Luie Tito Guia and Christian Robert Lim.

On May 6, Judge Feliciano Aguilar of RTC Branch 32 in Calbayog canceled the voter registrations of the two Tans because of noncompliance with the residency requirement.

In his decision, Aguilar directed Calbayog election officer Fidel Amacna to remove the names of Angelie and Arnold from the list of registered voters.

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