Today's Punto
Today's Punto
Mayoral row not yet over
By Ding Cervantes

Jul 13, 2017

MABALACAT CITY -- It’s not yet over for this city’s recently disqualified Mayor Marino Morales, dubbed as the country’s longest staying mayor.

Noted election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, Morales’ legal counsel, said he is set to follow up next week with the Supreme Court Morales’ petition for certiorari with prayer for temporary restraining order against the en banc verdict of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that disqualified the mayor.

“We will make a follow up next week since the Supreme Court was busy with martial law cases and the election protest of (Sen. Ferdinand) Marcos against Vice Pres. Leni (Robreado),” he said in an email to Punto.

He noted that the petition was filed two weeks ago before former provincial board member Crisostomo Garbo assumed post as mayor.

In its en banc decision last May, the Comelec said Morales was not qualified to run for mayor in the 2016 polls as he had already exceeded the maximum three successive terms allowed by law. The decision explicitly said Garbo was the legitimate winner in the mayoral race, as he had garnered the second highest mayoral votes.

The Comelec also explicitly said the rule of succession did not apply in the case, contrary to the later assertion of Vice Mayor Christian Halili.

The disqualification case was filed before the 2016 polls by mayoral candidate Pyra Lucas who landed fourth in the mayoral race. Lucas is now head of the provincial Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC). She had linked Morales to the murder of her daughter who was shot dead while driving in this city, some years ago.

Garbo has expressed confidence that the Supreme Court would affirm the Comelec verdict, as he noted that none of its commissioners dissented in the decision.

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