File photo from the City Mayor's Office-Puerto Princesa/Bob Ocampo.

Petitioners seeking the disqualification of Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron have filed another “urgent motion to resolve with prayer reiterating the motion to suspend the effects of the respondent’s proclamation pending resolution of this case.”

The urgent motion was filed by petitioners Benhar Halipa, Salvador Tinay, and Francis Laurence Ganibo, who also earlier filed a “Manifestation of grave concern with a motion for immediate resolution” for their first petition filed last June to resolve the legality of Bayron’s candidacy in the May 9 polls, after the commission’s 2nd Division dismissed their first petition on January 28, citing incomplete documents and a lack of sufficient evidence.

The first petition for Bayron’s disqualification was filed in November 2021, after he filed his certificate of candidacy for the May 9, 2022, elections.

A Sandiganbayan case against Bayron was used in the petition to show that he was never kicked out of office during his second term.

Bayron was removed from office in 2017 by the Ombudsman but was reinstated a few months later, and his sentence was reduced to a mere suspension from office following his exoneration by the Court of Appeals.

The COMELEC Second Division said in its January 28 resolution that the petitioners failed to comply with a requirement imposed in Section 2, Rule 23 of COMELEC Resolution 9523.

The division added that petitioners also failed to attach a copy of Bayron’s certificate of candidacy, hence, it “cannot decide based on a mere allegation by Petitioner.”

In their manifestation of grave concern, the petitioners expressed disappointment over the COMELEC’s action on their June petition along with their motion for reconsideration (MOR) for their petition, which was dismissed last January.

Furthermore, they also found offense in COMELEC not asking the respondent to answer the petition.

“We were compelled to file this Manifestation of Grave Concern to express our exasperation at COMELEC’s inaction on our Motion for Reconsideration and for the apparent grave abuse of discretion of the poll body when it dismissed our petition without even requiring Bayron to answer it and for its failure to act on our Motion for Reconsideration,” the petitioners said.

For their second urgent motion, the petitioners also sought the COMELEC to “issue an order suspending the effects of Bayron’s proclamation and issue an order in favor of their MOR for the cancellation of Bayron’s candidacy in the May 9 elections.”

They also asked the COMELEC to issue an order annulling the proclamation of Bayron and directing the COMELEC City Board of Canvassers “to reconvene and to consider the votes cast for respondent as stray or invalid, and to proclaim the candidate who obtained the highest number of votes from among the remaining qualified candidates as the duly elected mayor of Puerto Princesa City.”

Asked for comments, City Administrator Atty. Arnel Pedrosa said the mayor has referred the case to his election lawyers in Manila for appropriate action.

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