Comelec en banc rules: Arcilla disqualified to run in May 2019 elections

By: Delta Derycka C. Letigio June 14,2019 - 08:32 AM

The Commission on Elections en banc rules that reelected Cebu City Councilor Alvin Arcilla was not qualified to run in the May 2019 elections. |CDN file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc affirmed that Cebu City North District Councilor Alvin Arcilla was not qualified to run in the May 2019 elections because he already served three consecutive terms.

This decision was an affirmation of the initial ruling of the Comelec First Division, which ruled in favor of complainant, Allen Canoy, who argued that Arcilla successfully served three consecutive years in office despite his three-month suspension in 2016.

Arcilla was among the 12 councilors suspended with then Mayor Michael Rama and then Vice Mayor Edgar Labella for granting P20,000 in calamity assistance to all officials and employees of City Hall in the wake of the earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

The en banc promulgated in its decision on May 28 that it found “no cogent reason to disturb or modify the findings reached in the assailed resolution.”

The five-page decision stated that Arcilla has effectively served his last term from 2013 to 2016 despite his suspension.

According to Lawyer Chaunsey Boholst, Comelec Cebu north district election officer, the decision is executory once they receive an execution order from the Comelec en banc.

However, Arcilla’s camp has five days to make an appeal to the Supreme Court for a restraining order against the execution.

Without an appeal, the Comelec en banc may execute the decision rendering Arcilla disqualified from assuming his position as councilor.

Arcilla was reelected in the May 13 local elections but if the Comelec en banc executes its decision, his candidacy is deemed void.

hTis would also mean that ninth placer, incumbent Cebu City Councilor Jerry Guardo, may take his place.

Guardo has recently pledged his support to incoming Mayor Edgardo Labella although he said he has no plans to turn coat from his current party, Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK).

READ: Guardo pledges support for Labella: ‘Now is the time to unite for the good of Cebu City’

However, Comelec protocol dictates candidates who will take the place of a disqualified winner, to file a motion to the Comelec en banc to reconvene the Board of Canvassers (BOC) for his proclamation.

This means that Guardo, as the candidate who will replace Arcilla, will have to do the same.

Boholst said that since the BOC, which he serves as chairman, has been adjourned, only the Comelec en banc can order its reconvention.

He said that only when the BOC has reconvened can the candidates be proclaimed.

Boholst also said that if Arcilla made an appeal to the Supreme Court and he assumes office before the highest court gives its ruling, another set of motions will have to be filed to take him out of position.

Arcilla has yet to make a statement on the en banc’s decision.

Arcilla’s fellow BO-PK councilor, Sisinio Andales is facing the same case but the en banc has yet to make a decision on his disqualification. / celr

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