Camp of Comelec-proclaimed Magsasaka rep: SC didn’t favor opposite side
MANILA, Philippines — The camp of agricultural entrepreneur Robert Gerard Nazal Jr. — the Magsasaka party-list proclaimed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in September — maintained that the Supreme Court (SC) order did not favor the opposing side.
In a statement on Thursday, the Magsasaka party-list side of Nazal and Soliman Villamin belied former Magsasaka party-list Rep. Argel Joseph Cabatbat’s claims that the SC en banc sided with them in releasing the status quo ante order.
Cabatbat’s side filed a petition before SC asking to stop Nazal from taking his oath as Magsasaka’s representative for the 19th Congress. While SC did not issue a temporary restraining order, it released on Tuesday the order requiring the petitioners, the respondents, to maintain the status quo before Comelec declared Nazal as the winner.
“To say that the SC favored Atty. Cabatbat as the legitimate representative of the organization is utterly false, entirely baseless, and completely misleading,” Atty. John Paul Nabua, acting spokesperson of the Naval side, said.
“Everyone in Magsasaka knows that Atty. Cabatbat is no longer a nominee, much more the representative of the party-list in Congress,” he added.
According to Nabua, it is also wrong for Cabatbat to claim that he is the party-list’s representative.
“Atty. Cabatbat has no right to claim that he is the incumbent representative of Magsasaka Party-List because he is not in any way associated with Chairman Villamin, who was declared by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as the legitimate and rightful leader of Magsasaka Party-List,” he claimed.
The internal feud at Magsasaka party-list was publicized after Nazal’s camp said the candidate declared by Comelec as the winner — Nazal — is the party-list’s legitimate representative.
Cabatbat then contested the Comelec decision to declare Nazal as the Magsasaka party-list representative, claiming that Nazal is not even part of their group. Nazal however maintains that the Comelec had already considered the side of Magsasaka national chair Villamin as the legitimate party-list group.
Cabatabat’s side also claimed that Nazal is not a true representative of farmers, being a wealthy businessman, adding that the latter supposedly was a part of a losing party-list group.
READ: Infighting, power struggle erupt within Magsasaka party-list
But Nabua claimed that the SC status quo ante only applies to the proclamation of Nazal’s Congressional seat, and not on the validity of Villamin’s chairmanship. He also belied insinuations that Nazal was a nominee of another party-list.
“The SC order isn’t a setback for the Villamin faction because that doesn’t change the fact it is the one duly recognized by the Comelec, and we believe that the high court will also eventually rule in our favor,” he said.
“This makes Cabatbat’s claim pitifully inaccurate and easy to debunk. A quick back-check of official Comelec records will show that Mr. Nazal was never a nominee of any other party-list,” he added. With reports from Irish Perez, trainee
READ: Seeds of discord: Feud rocks Magsasaka party-list
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.