Comelec hears petition to cancel COCs of Cayetanos
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) heard on Monday the petition to cancel the candidacies of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his wife, incumbent Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano, in the May 2019 elections.
Lawyer Emil Marañon III, counsel for petitioner Leonides Buac Jr. of Signal Village in Taguig, argued before the Second Commission of the Comelec that the couple had issues in their residences as stated under their certificates of candidacy (COC)
Present during the hearing were Commissioners Luie Tito Guia, Socorro Inting, and Antonio Kho Jr.
According to Marañon, it seems husband and wife were not sure when they transferred to Two Serendra, a condominium in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig. He said there were different dates provided in the documents submitted to the Comelec.
“Our point is: If you really transferred to Serendra, why don’t you know the date when you started living there?” Marañon, speaking in Filipino, said in an interview after the hearing.
Marañon also noted that his camp noticed that every election season the Cayetano siblings would use the Serendra unit as their home address.
According to Marañon, his camp managed to find a title of the Serendra condominium unit and found out that it’s only a single-bedroom unit.
Alan Peter Cayetano has two siblings — former Sen. Pia Cayetano, the eldest sibling, and former Taguig Rep. Lino Cayetano, the youngest.
“So how could three families — the family of Lino, who owns the unit, Lani and Alan Peter Cayetano, and Pia who lives there — fit in that unit? Our point is: It’s impossible for three families to fit in a small condominium unit. So it appears the Cayetano couple are lying,” Marañon said in Filipino.
He also argued that the couple declared two different domiciles in their certificates, a point that lawyer George Garcia, counsel of the Cayetanos, affirmed this claim.
According to Garcia, it’s possible for the couple to have separate domiciles. Domicile means that this is the place where the Cayetanos would return every now and then.
“There’s no doubt that a married couple can have different domiciles. But under the law, a married couple is obliged to live in only one place. That place is not necessarily their domicile. That place is what we call a conjugal dwelling, a marital residence. But that is not their domicile.]
According to Garcia, a place of residence is that which a person owns. It does not necessarily mean that an individual stays permanently in that residential address.
He added that, if the person wished to abandon his residence, he would be free to do so.
Alan, who running for a House seat as representative of the 1st District of Taguig, declared in his COC that he is a resident of Barangay Bagumbayan.
On the other hand, Lani, who is running for a House seat as representative of 2nd District of Taguig, declared in her COC that she resides in Barangay Fort Bonifacio.
As for the Two Serendra unit in Taguig, Garcia said that the Cayetanos considered that their family home.
Despite the pending case against the couple, Garcia said that his camp had “high hopes” that the Comelec decision would favor them.
He also said that he hoped that the Comelec would release the decision immediately.
“Of course, there’s no doubt the names of the Cayetanos will be included in the ballots. But it’s better if there are no uncertainties. Whatever the decision may be, we will face it so that, in case it favors us, that will be better and life will go on. And at least, peacefully we can go straight to the campaign.] /atm
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