Court dismisses petition to exclude Albee Benitez from Bacolod voters list
BACOLOD CITY—The Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) has dismissed the petition of three Grupo Progreso allies to exclude former Rep. Alfredo Abelardo ”Albee” Benitez from the list of voters of this city for lack of merit.
Judge Francisco Pando of the MTCC Branch 4 dismissed on Oct. 1 the petition filed by Hector Yula, Teodoro Abao, and Jonah Tornea Abao to exclude Benitez from the list of registered voters of Precinct No. 0629A in Barangay Mandalagan, Bacolod City.
Benitez’s lawyer, Andrei Norman Saril, said they received on Monday a copy of the 28-page “very comprehensive” decision.
“The dismissal of the petition was expected as it was the same as the one filed before the Bacolod Election Registration Board (ERB) that was also dismissed,” Benitez said.
“The court decision should put a stop to the crazy attempt of my political opponents to prevent me from running for mayor of Bacolod,” he added.
Benitez is filing on Tuesday, Oct. 5, his certificate of candidacy for mayor of Bacolod City, along with his entire slate, before the Commission on Elections. He will be running against Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who heads Grupo Progreso.
The petitioners earlier sought the exclusion of Benitez from the voters’ list, claiming that he is not a resident of Mountain View Subdivision in Mandalagan.
While the petitioners are residents of Mandalagan, the judge said they do not live inside Mountain View Subdivision.
The judge said the petitioners are not in the position to notice Benitez’s presence or absence in his residence.
“There is also no law or rule requiring residents of a place to first participate in community activities of the barangay, or introduce themselves to its officials before they can be considered bona fide residents of the place, and qualified to register as voters,” the judge said.
The court upheld the ruling of the ERB approving the application of Benitez to vote in Bacolod City.
The ERB earlier ruled that Benitez met the residency requirement of six months on election day.