Arcilla’s camp assures he is still a bona fide candidate for Cebu City councilor
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Councilor Alvin Arcilla, who is running for another term in the May midterm elections, will continue to be a candidate despite the resolution for disqualification from the Commission on Election (Comelec) First Division.
Arcilla’s camp received the resolution on Tuesday afternoon, March 22, after it was served by the Cebu City Comelec, who in turn received the resolution at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 25.
Lawyer Winifredo Orcullo, Jr., Arcilla’s legal counsel, said that they would be filing a motion for reconsideration at the Comelec en banc as early as Friday in order to appeal the case.
Arcilla’s camp will be given five days to file a motion for reconsideration at the en banc before the decision of the First Division becomes executory.
Lawyer Amando Ligutan, spokesperson for Arcilla’s camp, said that once a motion for reconsideration had been filed, the decision on the case would rest on the en banc.
If the en banc affirms the decision of the First Division, Arcilla’s camp can still appeal the case to the Supreme Court, which is the last juridical body to decide on the matter.
“This issue is still on the legal process. The decision of the First Division is not final and executory,” said Ligutan.
“Alvin Arcilla is a bona fide candidate for Councilor of the North District of Cebu City,” he added.
Similarly, Lawyer Marchel Sarno, the election officer of the Cebu City North District, affirmed that the decision of the First Division might still have chances to be reversed by the en banc.
Sarno said he was expecting Arcilla to appeal the case, and so he could not be taken out of the candidate’s list.
“We don’t know unsa ka taas ang process ani ngadto sa en banc dayon sa Supreme Court pa gyod. So as of now, candidate gyod gihapon si Councilor Arcilla,” he said.
(We don’t know how long the process will be when the case reaches the en banc and the Supreme Court. So as of now, Councilor Arcilla is still considered a candidate.)
However, Sarno said if the case would reach the Supreme Court and the highest court of the land would affirm the disqualification, any votes for Arcilla would become stray votes.
The decision of the First Division stemmed from a complaint from a certain Allen Canoy who argued that since Arcilla was elected for three successive terms in 2010, 2013 and 2016, he retained his title and position even if he was barred from exercising his position because of the issuance of a suspension order against him.
Arcilla was among the city officials, who were ordered suspended in 2016, for granting and availing of the P20,000 calamity assistance which the administration of former Mayor Michael Rama released to victims of the October 2013 earthquake and Super Typhoon Yolanda which happened the following month.
Ligutan insisted that Arcilla’s suspension in 2016 which debarred him from returning into service until the end of his term constituted an incomplete term of service allowing Arcilla to run again for another term this coming elections. /dbs
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