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Insider’s Notes on Election Laws: An Unlikeable Resident

A plumpy woman with enlarged facial pores which could not be concealed, even with the recent scientific inventions, Ms. Bebang Mayabang (Ms. Bebs), used to be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and a resident of Barangay Bitok, Municipality of Budol. Believing then that nobody could ever love her, hurriedly left the Philippines after passing the board exams.  She worked as a nurse in the US where she eventually acquired US citizenship.  After undergoing, the almost-impossible, massive facial reconstruction therein, Ms. Bebs decided to return to the Municipality of Budol.  In 2012, she was able to secure her community tax certificate from the office of the municipal treasurer of said municipality.  Later, she took her Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before the vice consul of the Philippine Consulate in the US.

In May 2012, Ms. Bebs went to Budol to apply for a voter’s registration.  Ten days later, she flew back to the US and stayed there until September of the same year, purportedly to wind up her affairs and sell the rest of her properties.  In the last week of September, 2012, she returned to the Philippines to execute a sworn renunciation of any or all foreign citizenship.  In the first week of October, 2012, she then filed her certificate of candidacy (cOc) for Mayor of Budol.  She indicated in her cOc, that she has been a resident of the area for one year and eleven days.  The incumbent Mayor of Budol, Mayor Bitong Bigote (Mayor Bigote), a morbidly obese fellow, with a bushy mustache, immediately filed a petition to disqualify (DQ) Ms. Bebs.  Mayor Bigote, with a sinister smirk, claimed that Ms. Beb’s absence (even assuming that some helpless unemployed nobody, good for nothing, will like and eventually court her) from the locality for four months out of the one year and eleven days residency, as she stated in her cOc, interrupted the continuous residency requirement under the Local Government Code, and must be disqualified (dqued).

The Election Office, the constitutional body tasked with the implementation and administration of election laws in the country ruled that the period of six months from the time Ms. Bebs took her oath of allegiance and execution of renunciation of any or all foreign citizenship, failed to establish residence.

The 2013 National and Local Elections (NLE) pushed through and Ms. Bebs won as mayor.  Still devoid of a suitable lover, while she was discharging her functions, she received in December 2013, an Election Office en banc resolution denying her Motion for Reconsideration on her being dqued for not being a resident of Budol.  Thus, her CoC was cancelled and was required to vacate her position.  Worried, with her heart thumping so loudly, finally revealing the most spiteful vast expanse of her facial cavities, Ms. Bebs was prompted to file a petition with the Supreme Court.

Is Ms. Bebs, considered a resident of Budol?

Answer:  Yes.  Ms. Bebs is considered a resident of Budol. “the law does not require that physical presence be unbroken.” (Dano vs. Comelec, September 13, 2016) Residence in the area may be interrupted: “this Court ruled that to be considered a resident of a municipality, the candidate is not required to stay and never leave the place for a one-year period prior to the date of the election.” (Dano vs. Comelec, September 13, 2016)  Although actual physical presence in the area of residence is required for those who wish to run for public office, “The law does not require a person to be in his home twenty-four (24 ) hours a day, seven (7) days a week, to fulfill the residency requirement.” (Sabili vs. Comelec, April 24, 2012) Before the elections, the acts of Ms. Bebs, in making preparations for her return to the Philippines already showed her intent to return (animus manendi et revertendi) to her domicile of origin.  Moreover, for a petition to DQ under section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) to prosper, the misrepresentation stated in the cOc must be done with the intent to conceal and mislead the electorate concerning the candidate’s eligibility, so much so that if the electorate would come to know about it, they will not vote for him or her: “a false representation under Section 78 of the OEC must consist of a deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact, which would otherwise render a candidate ineligible.” (Villamor vs. Comelec, G.R. 250370

 

***The characters depicted herein are purely fictional.  Comments are made by me in my professional capacity as a lawyer and not as an employee of the Comelec.

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