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SC: It’s final, Mikey can represent tricycle drivers in Congress

February 27, 2011 7:02pm
The Supreme Court has affirmed its earlier decision dismissing three petitions seeking to disqualify Mikey Arroyo as nominee of Ang Galing Pinoy (AGP) party-list group in the May 10, 2010 elections.

The high court likewise denied with finality the motion filed by Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño seeking an extension of time to file his motion for reconsideration in connection with the SC’s Dec. 7, 2010 ruling.

In a two-page resolution, the SC denied Casiño’s motion for being a prohibited pleading, in line with the court’s April 7, 1988 ruling that states no motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration shall be granted to any party.

Aside from Casiño, other petitioners in the suit were Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales and Walden Bello of Akbayan, as well as defeated senatorial candidates Liza Maza and Saturnino Ocampo.

According to the SC, Rosales and Bello’s petition was premature while the two other petitions were dismissed on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.

In its assailed December 2010 decision, the SC unanimously held that the Commission on Elections (Comelec), where the petitions for Arroyo’s disqualification were originally lodged, had lost jurisdiction over the case after Arroyo's proclamation last July 21 as duly elected party-list representative.

“Any election contests pertaining to his nomination should be addressed by the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal," the SC said.

The SC further said Rosales and Bello failed to exhaust all the legal remedies available to them before filing the petition for mandamus in court, which was not the correct remedy in the case. The high court explained that the immediately applicable remedy was to file at the Comelec a petition for disqualification or cancellation of registration under Section 10 of Comelec Resolution No. 8807, instead of simply writing a letter to the poll body.

Two such petitions to disqualify Arroyo were filed in July 2010: one by former Akbayan party-list representative and defeated senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros, and another by a tricycle driver from Caloocan City, but these were lodged at the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.

Rosales and Bello said the AGP party-list had violated Section 6 of Comelec Resolution No. 8807 which required party-list groups to submit documentary evidence to prove that their nominees truly belong to the marginalized and underrepresented section.

The same provision also mandates the Comelec Law Department to require party-list groups and nominees to submit documents required by the poll body not later than three days from the last day of filing of the list of nominees.

Bayan Muna alleged that Arroyo cannot be considered a member of the marginalized sector he now represents in Congress, in this case tricycle drivers and security guards, since he already an incumbent member of the House at that time of the elections – not to mention, also a member of the First Family then. – KBK/MRT, GMA News
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