Former Palawan governor Joel Reyes (right) is seen in this PN file photo with a supporter on April 3, 2022. (Photo by Cedez Castro)

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is set to hear on May 19 the disqualification case filed against former Palawan governor Joel Reyes, who is running for governor in Monday’s local elections.

The COMELEC Second Division issued a “Summons with Notice of Preliminary Conference” on May 5, allowing Reyes to respond to the petition filed against him on April 28 by Nasir Miranda and Mohammad Asgali within five non-extendable days from receipt.

Emil Alili, election officer II of Coron, who was directed by the COMELEC Second Division to personally deliver the summons to Reyes, acknowledged to Palawan News on Saturday morning that he had received it.

“Yes, na-receive natin yan kahapon (May 6) close to 6 o’clock na, and then, immediately yan tinakbo kaagad natin doon sa recipient. Wala kaming inabutan maliban doon sa kanilang tao doon sa tinutuluyan niya. Until 8 o’clock, wala pa rin kaming inabutan,” Alili said.

Alili claimed that the individual at the address where they believe Reyes is residing did not accept the summons. However, his first order of business today, May 7, is to redeliver it.

“Ito, first thing na gagawin namin is ipa-receive talaga today,” he added. “Ang inabutan natin [kahapon] yong kanilang ano lang, yong tao lang na nagbabantay doon. Ayaw niyang i-receive, and then ngayon mag-a-attempt kami na ipa-receive ulit”.

Alili explained that if another denial occurs, they will send Reyes a letter detailing his refusal to accept.

“I think, for the last time, baka okay na rin ngayon na i-receive kaagad,” Alili added.

READ RELATED NEWS: Disqualification case filed vs. former Palawan governor

Miranda and Asgali petitioned the COMELEC to disqualify Reyes for being a convicted criminal due to a Sandiganbayan conviction for graft and corruption in August 2017. The punishment included imprisonment for 6 to 8 years and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

The petitioners, who are registered Palawan voters, asserted that the pending motion for reconsideration of the Sandiganbayan conviction for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act was only meant to prolong the court proceedings.

The Supreme Court upheld the Sandiganbayan’s decision in September 2018, but Reyes filed a motion for reconsideration, which is still awaiting a decision.

The summons was signed by Atty. Genesis Gatdula for COMELEC Second Division.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.