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Comelec issues certificate of finality disqualifying Legazpi Mayor Rosal

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday issued a certificate of finality and entry of judgment on the disqualification of Carmen Geraldine Rosal as mayoral candidate of Legazpi City in the 2022 national and local elections.

In the certificate of finality, the Comelec stated that Rosal was found “to have given money to influence, induce, or corrupt the voters, as described in Section 68 (a) in relation to Section 261 (a)(1) of the Omnibus Election Code.”

“Respondent is hereby DISQUALIFIED from being a candidate for mayor of Legazpi City, Albay for the 9 May 2022 National and Local Elections. Pursuant to relevant rules and applicable jurisprudence, the 2nd placer, Alfredo A. Garbin Jr. is hereby DECLARED the duly-elected mayor of Legazpi City,” the poll body said.

The case stemmed from a Facebook post on March 31, 2022 about a two-day Tricycle Driver’s Cash Assistance Payout. The said post thanked Rosal for the activity and tagged her as “Mayor Gie Rosal” even if she was not an incumbent mayor at the time.

The poll body said its rules and procedure provide that a decision or resolution of the en banc in special actions shall become final and executory after five days from receipt of the decision or resolution unless restrained by the Supreme Court.

The Comelec en banc promulgated its resolution on Rosal on May 4.

“Whereas, the records show that to this date, no restraining order has been issued by the Supreme Court in relation to the resolution of the Commission (en banc) within five days from the receipt of the parties thereof,” it said.

“NOW THEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the resolution of the Commission en banc promulgated on 04 May 2023 is hereby FINAL and EXECUTORY under the COMELEC Rules of Procedure and COMELEC Resolution No. 9523,” it added.

In a statement, Rosal said she will not recognize the decision of the Comelec, adding that she will fight it.

“The Comelec Second Division themselves have stated that there is no evidence of vote-buying against me. I did not buy any votes. However, they suddenly declared that I was disqualified because I released funds to convince voters to choose me?” Rosal said.

“It is absurd that they first declare that there is no evidence but disqualify me anyway. How can they punish me for something that I did not do? So I filed for a motion for reconsideration, in which the Comelec En Banc agreed that I should not be disqualified for vote-buying or release of public funds. Firstly, because I did not buy votes. And, secondly, I do not have access to public funds because I was not a government official at the time of elections,” she said.

“So it’s quite disconcerting how the Comelec En Banc suddenly changed its tune, reaffirming the Second Division’s decision to disqualify me,” she added.

She then encouraged her supporters not to fear, saying that “the truth will come out.”

“This is a grave injustice that I am facing. I am cleared of not doing any crime, yet I am still being punished for it. There are lapses in the process, and I will fight,” she said.

“To my supporters, it’s not over. We’re not going to stop fighting. I am not afraid to fight for your precious votes–votes that you gave out of your trust. Please do not let fear and doubt settle in your hearts. God is here to guide us. The truth will come out. He will not forsake us,” Rosal added.—AOL, GMA Integrated News