Ang Kasangga disputes nominee’s disqualification
By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) Updated July 15, 2010 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Party-list group Ang Kasangga sa Kaunlaran said yesterday the Commission on Elections (Comelec) no longer has jurisdiction over its nominee, Teodorico Haresco, so the ruling of its First Division to disqualify him “has no legal basis and must be withdrawn.”
In a statement, Ang Kasangga said the Comelec’s First Division “no longer has jurisdiction to hear and pass upon the qualifications” of Haresco.
The party-list group said the Comelec, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, already proclaimed it last May 31 and awarded it one seat in the House of Representatives after bagging 296,368 votes “representing the clear mandate bestowed to Ang Kasangga to represent its constituents.”
“This proclamation has been reaffirmed on June 23, 2010, when the chairman and commissioners of the Comelec… issued the certificate of proclamation of Teodorico Haresco,” it added.
Ang Kasangga argued that the proclamation declared Haresco as its “qualified nominee” to sit as House representative and “to serve for a term of three years ending June 30, 2013 in accordance with Section 7, Article VI of the Constitution.”
“It is undisputed that Rep. Haresco was already proclaimed, took his oath of office, and assumed office as member of the House of Representatives last June 30, 2010,” it said.
“Hence, it is the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and not the Comelec which has sole and exclusive jurisdiction to pass upon the elections, returns, and qualifications of its members. This is explicitly provided in Article VI, Section 17 of the Philippine Constitution,” it added.
Ang Kasangga said the Senate and the House of Representatives should each have an electoral tribunal which serves as the sole judge of all contests relating to the election returns, and qualifications of their respective members.
Ang Kasangga said Haresco is a “bona fide member (who) comes from the ranks of micro-entrepreneurs,” the sector that the group said it represents.
“He has started micro-enterprises that proved successful and generated livelihood and employment for hundreds of individuals and their families. He has worked in various programs and projects that alleviated the plight of micro-entrepreneurs through the provision of capital, training, education, and support services,” the group added.
The Comelec’s First Division has granted the petition of various groups to disqualify Haresco, citing his business interests that supposedly made him ineligible to represent the marginalized sector of small and micro-entrepreneurs.
Haresco has filed a manifestation with the Comelec seeking to declare the First Division’s ruling “moot and academic.”
“Rep. Haresco is prepared to hail the Comelec to the Supreme Court in order to protect the interest of Kasangga sa Kaunlaran Inc. and its constituents,” the group said.