SC junks former Bantayan Mayor Despi’s motion for reconsideration

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram |November 11,2017 - 10:57 PM

CITING that there were no substantial arguments to question the order, the Supreme Court (SC) denied with finality the Motion for Reconsideration of former Bantayan Mayor Arthur Despi seeking to reverse the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on unseating him as mayor.

The SC en banc upheld the ruling of the Comelec, where Despi was found to have been disowned by party-list Abag–Promdi (Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiative) as their mayoralty bet for Bantayan town during the May 2016 National Elections, which is considered an error in his Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (Cona), and which the Comelec also used as one of the bases to declare his certificate of candidacy (COC) as null and void.

“Acting on the Motion for Reconsideration (of the resolution dated June 20, 2017), dated August 11, 2017 filed by counsel for petitioner, the Court Resolved to deny with finality the said motion for reconsideration as no substantial arguments were present to warrant the reversal of the questioned resolution,” stated the decision, dated October 3, 2017.

In addition, the SC said “no further pleadings or motions will be entertained.”

Despi won the race for mayor in the May 2016 elections against Escario. He got 16,494 votes, which were 4,451 votes more than Escario.

Following the error in Despi’s Cona, and his camp’s failure to secure a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), the Comelec in Manila declared Despi’s certificate of candidacy (COC) as null and void, and a special board of canvassers (SBC) formally proclaimed Despi’s rival in the May 2016 elections, Ian Christopher Escario from the National Unity Party (NUP), as the “duly elected” mayor last May 2017.

When sought for comment, Despi told Cebu Daily News in a text message that he already expected the outcome of the SC’s ruling.

“That’s expected,” he said.

CDN tried to contact Escario, but he could not be reached for comment.

Bantayan town, the most populated of the three municipalities comprising Bantayan Island, is a first-class municipality located more than 138 kilometers northwest of Cebu City. As of 2016, it has a population of over 78,000.

In December 2015, a few months before the May 2016 elections, Escario filed a petition against Despi requesting the Comelec to disqualify his opponent’s Certificate of Candidacy (COC), and claiming that Despi allegedly falsified his Cona.

Abag–Promdi’s secretary general, Oscar Canton, denied endorsing Despi’s candidacy. These findings prompted the Comelec’s First Division to release an order to have Despi’s COC canceled last May 2017.

Despi, however, sought help from the Supreme Court by filing a motion for reconsideration of the Comelec First Division’s ruling last August 2017.
But the SC denied his motion in the Oct. 10, 2017 decision.

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