SAN PEDRO, Laguna—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc on May 14 ruled with finality to disqualify Liberal Party candidate for legislator Regina Ongsiako Reyes but this did not stop local election officials from proceeding with a controversial proclamation of Reyes and two other LP candidates even if canvassing is not over yet.
Comelec officials in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) kept mum on the proclamation.
The provincial board of canvassers, chaired by Marinduque election supervisor Edwin Villa, proclaimed reelectionist Carmencita Reyes and Romulo Bacorro as governor and vice governor. Regina was proclaimed as representative-elect on Wednesday.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer learned that Romblon election supervisor Val Mendoza was given a directive by the regional Comelec office to take over Villa following the controversial proclamation. Mendoza refused to say if he took over.
Regina was disqualified for being an American citizen. In March, the Comelec’s first division ordered her dropped from the congressional race over false statements in her certificate of candidacy.
Tito Aguirre, a member of Regina’s staff, said Regina’s camp has a pending appeal at the Comelec. The May 14 decision, however, is considered final. It was delivered to the provincial canvass board on Wednesday.
A copy of the decision obtained by Inquirer showed that the Comelec en banc upheld the division’s resolution to disqualify Regina, who refused to take calls on her mobile phone on Thursday.
Regina was the lone challenger of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco of the National Unity Party.
Velasco’s counsel, Danny Gapasin, claimed Wednesday’s proclamation was highly irregular and was null and void.
Gapasin said despite the attempt of the Velasco camp to stop the proclamation, the provincial canvass board proceeded with it. Villa has made herself scarce since Wednesday.