By Joey Natividad
NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur (BicolToday.com/22-Jan-2013) – Actor Aga Muhlach has won two skirmishes in his uphill legal battles when the Court of Appeals (CA) ruled on January 16, 2013, to reistate him in the voters list in San Jose, Camarines Sur, while the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) over the week dismissed the disqualification case filed against him on grounds of his questionable nationality as Spanish citizen.
On January 16, this year, the CA issued a temparary restraining order (TRO) ordering the Regional Trial Court and the Election Registration Board (ERB) in San Jose to reactivate and reinstate Aga and Charlene Muhlach-Gonzales in the town’s voters list.
While this week, COMELEC dismissed the disqualification case against Muhlach on his questionable Spanish citizenship. Lawyer Michelle Juan, counsel for the Muhlachs, informed Bicol Today.com on this latest legal developments.
The CA ruling was the result of the appeal filed by the Muhlachs, through their legal counsels, after the RTC on December 17, 2012, affirmed the Municipal Trial Court’s (MTC) decision to exclude the Muhlachs, and have their names stricken out, from the lists of voters in Precinct 10A, Barangay San Juan, San Jose.
The RTC had ruled over the inclusion/exclusion proceeding after the Muhlachs filed their motion for reconsideration at the higher court after the MTC ruled against them, a case filed by several petitioners who are San Jose residents.
Sometime in March 2012, the petitioners had made moves at the local ERB to exclude the Muhlachs from the voters list in Barangay San Juan after the showbiz celebrities applied as voters in San Jose town. According to the petitioners, the Muhlachs are “not residents” in the town. The petitions had dragged down over several months until it reached the courts.
The residency status of the Muhlachs are considered “critical” in his bid to run for a Congressional seat in the 4th District of Camarines Sur. Muhlach is seen as “very tough opponent to beat” by Congressional candidate Wimpy Fuentebella, scion of a traditional political dynasty in the province and son of Deputy Speaker Congressman Arnulfo Fuentebella.
The Fuentebella candidate is a former Congressman in 2001-04, and was identified as “one of the spice boys” in the House who made a failed move to impeach (then) Supreme Court Justice Hilario Davide.
BicolToday.com got a copy of the CA decision and this can be viewed at CA Resolution.
The CA ruling has boosted the morale of Muhlach supporters and his local candidates. A political observer said CA’s issuance of TRO in favor of the Muhlachs can be interpreted that CA will finally render a decision favoring his side.
“It is 85 per cent chance that CA will decide in his favor after TRO issuance,” said the observer.
Meantime, records of the COMELEC decision are still not available and Bicol Today.com will post them in due time this week. [BicolToday.com]