Void Legarda’s proclamation, ex-Antique gov asks Comelec
ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Philippines — Former Antique Gov. Exequiel Javier has not given up the fight against outgoing Sen. Loren Legarda, who defeated him by a wide margin in the province’s congressional race last month.
Javier, in an earlier text message to the Inquirer, said his political plans would depend on the outcome of his petition for revocation and nullification of Legarda’s proclamation, citing a pending petition to disqualify the senator as a candidate for her supposed failure to satisfy the residency requirement.
In a statement sent to the Inquirer, Legarda pointed out that disqualification petitions against her had already been dismissed.
“Previous cases filed to disqualify me from running as congresswoman of Antique have been dismissed … and the people of Antique have spoken already. They chose me to represent them in Congress,” she said
Petition still pending
In a six-page petition filed on May 16, Javier asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc to set aside the May 14 proclamation of Legarda by the provincial board of canvassers and stop her from taking her oath of office.
“It must be noted that the petitioner has filed a petition to deny due course and/or cancel the certificate of candidacy of the respondent for member [of the] House of Representatives, and the same has not yet been resolved with finality by the honorable commission,” he said.
Javier said a similar petition filed by lawyer Robin Rubinos, who was also a candidate for the same position, had not been resolved by the Comelec.
“The petitions pending before the honorable commission go into the basic qualification of the respondent to be, and to act, as member of the House of Representatives for the province of Antique,” he said.
Javier’s petition remained pending with the Comelec en banc as of June 3, according to the former governor’s lawyer, Jobert Pahilga.
“It is unfortunate that such huge mandate is being questioned, but let the Comelec rule on the petition. I will be ready to answer, if needed. But I hope we can unite instead and focus on the work ahead of us for the good of Antiqueños and our province,” Legarda said.
The outgoing senator won by a landslide in the May 13 elections with 199,187 votes against Javier’s 69,716 votes.
In a resolution issued on Feb. 6, the Comelec’s Second Division dismissed Javier’s petition, saying Legarda had established residency in Antique more than a year before the May 13 elections.
Javier subsequently filed a motion for reconsideration.
Born in Malabon City, Legarda established residency at Barangay Mag-aba in Pandan town on Jan. 1, 2018.
Her maternal grandmother, Carmen Gella-Bautista, hailed from Pandan while her great granduncle, Vicente Gella, served as Antique governor from 1919 to 1922.
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