Petitioners seeking to disqualify Puerto Princesa City mayor Lucilo Bayron are pressing their case before the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) en banc, following the Second Division’s earlier dismissal of their complaint.
The motion for reconsideration is calling for an en banc ruling, after the division earlier decided in favor of Bayron.
Petitioners Benhar Halipa, Salvador Tinay, and Francis Laurence Ganibo received the order from the COMELEC Former Second Division, dated February 16, after filing a motion for reconsideration on February 7. Their earlier petition was junked by the COMELEC Second Division due to non-attachment of Bayron’s COC in their submitted documents.
The coming elections will be the fourth time Bayron is running for office. His camp repeatedly cited that he is qualified to run for a fresh term because his second term was cut short in March 2017 after he was ordered removed from office by the Ombudsman. The suspension was due to his conviction by the Sandiganbayan on grave misconduct and serious dishonesty in 2016.
However, in August 2017, the Court of Appeals exonerated Bayron from the case and he was reinstated as city mayor soon after. Halipa, Tinay, and Ganibo sought to cancel Bayron’s COC by citing that he was never removed from office during his second term due to the exoneration, thus disqualifying him from running again in May.
“Antayin nalang natin final desisyon ng commission en banc,” Tinay said through Facebook Messenger on Friday.
Speaking on behalf of Bayron, city administrator Atty. Arnel Pedrosa stated that they will continue to abide by the earlier COMELEC ruling on the petition.
“Without any ruling yet from COMELEC en banc, the resolution of COMELEC Second Division ordering the dismissal of the petition for disqualification stands,” Pedrosa said in a text message on Sunday.