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Laguna Gov. Ejercito files motion vs. disqualification

(Updated 6:44 p.m.) Laguna Governor ER Ejercito on Tuesday moved to have his disqualification over his alleged overspending during the 2013 midterm elections reversed.

In his motion for reconsideration, Ejercito, who blamed his disqualification on politics, said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division has no jurisdiction over the case.

The motion added that Ejercito's political rival Edgar San Luis should have filed the petition with the Comelec Law Department.

The Omnibus Election Code states that Comelec "through its duly authorized legal officers" has the power to conduct preliminary probe on election offenses.

“The Honorable Commission (First Division) therefore committed a grave error when it conveniently arrogated unto itself the exclusive power of the authorized legal officers of this Honorable Commission to take cognizance of an election offense such as that filed by the Petitioner in this case,” a portion of Ejercito's 28-page motion read.

Ejercito added that he was not given due process as he was not informed of notices of hearings.

“Regrettably, it is clear from the actuations of the Honorable Commission (First Division) that Respondent Ejercito cannot expect a fair trial in this case.  Respondent’s defense was doomed from the start not because the same lacks merit but because of the evident bias and partiality of the First Division,” said Ejercito.

Ejercito did not discuss the issue of overspending of which he was accused as not to prejudice his questioning the division's jurisdiction.

The nephew of former President and now Manila mayor Joseph Estrada, Ejercito was disqualified by the Comelec First Division for allegedly spending over P6 million on his television advertisements alone.

The Comelec said Ejercito is only allowed P4.5 million for his entire campaign or P3 for each of Laguna's over 1.5 million registered voters.

The poll body sitting as en banc would discuss the merits of the motion.  Ejercito may proceed to the Supreme Court if the en banc ruled against him.  -- Marc Jayson Cayabyab/KBK, GMA News