Court reverses ruling on NE Congress bet disqualification

>> Sunday, March 13, 2016

By Manny Galvez

CABANATUAN CITY  -- A regional trial court has overturned a decision of a municipal trial court removing congressional candidate Rosanna Vergara from the list of voters in the third district of Nueva Ecija.
In a ruling promulgated on Feb. 19, the Cabanatuan City RTC said the Cabanatuan MTC erred in its Feb. 4 decision excluding Vergara from the list of voters and ordering the Commission on Elections to remove her from the list of candidates.
“To strip her bare...of her right to suffrage at the 11th hour before election day leaving her without any remedy would be most unfair. She had registered in 1997 and a second registration is not sanctioned under RA 8189 (Voters Registration Act),” the RTC decision stated.
In granting the petition filed by provincial government employee Philip Piccio, the Cabanatuan MTC said Vergara’s registration had been deactivated when she became an American citizen in 1998. Piccio said Vergara also failed to register again when she reacquired her Filipino citizenship in 2006.
The RTC said the re-registration of dual citizens is not required under RA 8189.
Vergara is the wife of Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Vergara. She is running against Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali.
She welcomed the RTC ruling, saying it recognizes an individual’s right to suffrage and to choose its leaders.
“This sacred right cannot be sacrificed because of technical details and mere procedural lapses. I am very happy... the fight continues.We won,” she told her supporters.
Piccio said he would appeal the ruling.


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