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Albur Mayor confident to remain in power
« on: November 14, 2007, 04:42:58 PM »
By Ven Arigo

Disqualification-sniped Mayor Jose Ugdoracion, Jr. of Alburquerque is confident that defeated May 14 election rival Ephraim Tungol, son of ex-Mayor Efren Tungol, cannot take over his seat even if his final appeal to the Supreme Court (SC) may be declared dead.

At least hope still springs eternal for the beleaguered mayor to stay put in the absence of any verdict from the land’s highest court, if not reversely adjudged qualified to serve and complete his first term of political comeback.

Should eventuality negate his legal countering, Ugdoracion said he would believe the young Tungol could not be declared the duly-elected mayor.

He cited the 2001 election case, as decided by the High Tribunal, of defeated mayoralty candidate Lazaro Gayo who wanted to disqualify Mayor Violeta Verceles, a US green card holder but who had earlier surrendered it.

The fundamental issue of the case deals with whether or not the respondent was able to meet the residency requirement to qualify to run for public office and occupy the position of municipal mayor.

Although the SC favored the respondent, she happened to assert in her argument that if ever she would get disqualified, his defeated rival could not assume since the latter failed to obtain a plurality of votes.

Ugdoracion quoted the SC decision on the above specific issue: “The rule is well settled. The ineligibility of a candidate receiving majority votes does not entitle the eligible candidate receiving the next highest number of votes to be declared elected. A minority or defeated candidate cannot be deemed elected to the office.”

There were 5,706 registered voters in Alburquerque in the last May 14 elections, during which four aspired for mayor.

Ugdoracion got 2,648 votes, followed by Tungol who had 1,831 votes.

Ugdoracion’s runningmate also won and is now the vice mayor, Dr. Cirilo Jalad.

The SC decision on the La Union case says further: “To simplistically assume that the second placer would have received thwe other votes would be to substitute our judgment for the mind of the voter. The second placer is just that, a second plpacer. He lost the leections. He was repudiated by either the majority or plurality of voters. He could not be considered the first among the qualified candidates because in a filked which excludes the disqualified candidate, the conditions would have substantially changed. We are not prepared to extrapolate the results under the circumstances.”

The father Tungol (Efren) had repeatedly insisted that his candidate son should be declared the duly-elected mayor because the Commission on Elections (Comelec) had disqualified Ugdoracion to run for mayor.

Thus, according to the elder Tungol, Ugdoracion should nt be considered a candidate in the first place.

Ugdoracion said the Comelec itself had issued Resolution No. 8062, dated May 18, this year, which says , “There shall be no suspension of proclamation of winning candidates with pending disqualification cases, before or after the elections, involving issues of citizenship, non-residency, not being a registered voter XXX.”

Days later, the Comelec issued a memorandum reiterating the above resolution.

The Comelec en banc last month denied the mayor’s motion for reconsideration of an earlier resolution of the Comelec First Division disqualifying Ugdoracion from running for mayor.

To prevent the execution of the en banc ruling, Ugdoracion thus filed with SC a petition for certiorari and prohibition, with most urgent prayer for the issuance of temporary restraining order (TRO) and/writ of preliminary injunction.

A special raffle was already done to know which SC division would weigh the petition of Ugdoracion.

Ugdoracion cited the case og Naga City Mayor Jessie Robredo who was disqualified by the Comelec First Division, the same body that first disqualified the Alburquerque mayor, for nationality issue days before th May 14 elections.

The Comelec concurred his right to raise his case to the Supreme Court as he pursued his candidacy.

The First Division’s disqualification of Ugdoracion was affirmed by the Comelec en banc, which any ruling for that matter could always in turn be raised to the SC for final decision.

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