SC upholds junking of Tulfo disqualification case

SC upholds junking of Tulfo disqualification case

/ 05:05 AM April 10, 2024

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MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has affirmed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissal of Sen. Raffy Tulfo’s disqualification case, citing a lack of jurisdiction over the issue.

In a statement released on Monday evening to media about the April 3 en banc decision, the high court junked the certiorari petition filed by Julie Licup Pearson, Tulfo’s alleged wife, which sought to reverse the Comelec decision handed down in 2023.


The Supreme Court stressed in its ruling that the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) has exclusive jurisdiction over disqualification cases against a winning senatorial candidate who has already been proclaimed, sworn in and assumed office.


READ: Comelec dismisses disqualification case against Erwin Tulfo

It cited Section 17, Article VI of the Constitution, and established jurisprudence, which underscore the division of powers in election disputes.

In particular, the high tribunal said that once a winning candidate had been proclaimed, taken oath and assumed office, the Comelec’s authority over election contests related to the candidate’s election, returns and qualifications ceases, and the SET assumes jurisdiction.

READ: Raffy Tulfo cries ‘extortion’ over bigamy case

No remedy for failure

“Pearson failed to timely file the appropriate case before the SET and cannot remedy this failure by invoking the court’s certiorari powers,” the Supreme Court said in its statement.

The broadcaster-turned-politician ran for senator in May 2022.


Based on court records, Pearson filed a petition to disqualify Tulfo from running for public office a month before the elections, saying the latter had been convicted of libel, a crime involving moral turpitude.

She added that Tulfo also allegedly committed an election offense when he illegally advertised his candidacy on his show, “Raffy Tulfo in Action.”

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The Comelec’s First Division junked Pearson’s petition three days before the May 9, 2022, elections for failing to prove that she officially gave Tulfo a copy of her petition.

Tulfo garnered 23 million votes, the third highest in the senatorial race. He was proclaimed a winner on May 18 and took his oath of office on June 22.

TAGS: Comelec, Raffy Tulfo, SC, Supreme Court

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