By Joey Natividad
SAN JOSE, Camarines Sur (BicolToday.com/29-Sept-2012) – The COMELEC Election Registration Board (ERB) on Friday, September 28, finally approved actor Aga Muhlach’s registration as voter in San Jose town, Camarines Sur, thus paving the way for the showbiz personality to file this first week of October his candidacy for Congress in the province’s 4th district.
The ERB’s final ruling dismissed the petition to disqualify Aga and Charlene Muhlach from registering as voters in San Jose town on the question of their claims as residents in the town.
Sometime in March 2012, petitioners led by Gilmar “Maymay” Pacamarra, all San Jose residents, filed a petition for voters disqualification before the town Comelec office upon learning that the showbiz celebrities applied for registration as voters, and had introduced themselves as residents of the town.
The disqualification petition was initially heard, but the ERB hearings were stalled after legal maneuverings by both the Muhlach and the petitioners’ legal counsels. The legal battle also resulted in the dissolution of two ERB’s formed due to alleged “outside pressures from powerful politicians.”
The present ERB, which is the third, are composed of Rosendo Valez as chair, Myrna Pacamarra, and Palmetto Valencia.
The ERB ruled that “Aga Muhlach and Charlene Gonzales-Muhlach are residents of San Jose town, having complied the requirements needed for residency, in relation to their registering themselves as voters.”
Lawyers Elmer Guerzon, Bea Vega, Ace Bautista, and Michelle Juan comprised Muhlach’s legal panel, while lawyers Katrina Castañeda and Jose Miguel Palarca represented the petitioners.
The ERB’s ruling has paved the way for the actor’s bid to file his certificate of candidacy (CoC) first week of October. Muhlach had publicly announced earlier this August that he was planning to run for Congress representing the 4th District, when he was officially inducted into the Liberal Party.
In the past few weeks, Muhlach’s political machinery at the town level has not been fully organized, and his line-up of candidates have been hanging in thin air over the disqualification petition against him that was still unresolved.
“The disqualification petition was like a Damocles’ sword hanging over his head that, at any time, would fall upon him,.” said a political observer. “His disqualification might change the political equation in this Camarines Sur district politics.”
The actor openly admitted that he never voted before, and that it is the first time in San Jose that he registered to vote. The Muhlach lawyers’ defense argument hang on the Constitutional right of every Filipino to vote. [BicolToday.com]
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