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Jailed village chair reelected
By Ashley Manabat

May 17, 2018

PORAC, Pampanga – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has upheld the reelection of jailed Hacienda Dolores Barangay Captain Antonio “Tony” Tolentino in Monday’s polls.

Comelec Pampanga provincial election supervisor Atty. Lydia Pangilinan noted that despite Tolentino’s continued detention for three years now, he is yet to be convicted.

Pangilinan’s ruling was reiterated by Comelec assistant regional director Atty. Elmo Duque who said “the detention of a candidate is not equivalent to his disqualification.”

Duque said a final conviction is needed for the candidate to be disqualifi ed: “Hindi dahil nabilanggo ang tao ibig sabihin wala na siyang karapatang mahalal at disqualifi ed na siya kasi wala pa namang conviction sa kanya.”

“Our point is, if he was arrested, it does not mean he is disqualified,” he said, clarifying that the candidate remains eligible “until otherwise declared by a competent court that he is guilty of the charges filed against him.”

Tolentino is currently detained at the Angeles City District Jail on charges of carnapping and kidnapping with serious physical injuries arising from the land dispute with the Leonardo-Lachenal Leonio Holdings, Inc., FL Property Management Corp., and Ayala Land Inc. on the vast tracts of lands of the hacienda.

The village chief was also slapped with an administrative complaint for grave misconduct, oppression, abuse of authority and acts prejudicial to public service.

Tolentino was accused of abetting the resistance of farmers who were claiming threats of eviction from the land they tilled for generations in the village.

Opponents of Tolentino for the chairmanship included Emilio “Miling” Sarmiento, Alan A. Ocampo, and Rosendo “Sendong” Pineda.

But Pangilinan said it was a woman candidate for the chairmanship of the barangay who went to the Comelec office last Tuesday to file a disqualification case against Tolentino.

Pangilinan said the Comelec upheld the reelection of Tolentino because there is “no final conviction yet” on his case.

Barangay Hacienda Dolores here is part of the 1,100 hectares of land being developed for a P75-billion mixed-use business hub and leisure resort over the next 20 years by Ayala Land.



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