SC overturns decision to disqualify Camarines Norte gubernatorial bet

Marje Pelayo   •   September 13, 2019   •   304

MANILA, Philippines – Voting 8-6, the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday (September 10) granted the petition of Camarines Norte gubernatorial candidate Edgardo Tallado who questioned his disqualification by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the last May 19 elections.

Tallado was allowed to run after the SC issued a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) following Comelec’s decision to disqualify him from the race.

The SC decision, penned by Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, stated that the Court En Banc overturned the Comelec’s decision to disqualify Tallado to run in the gubernatorial race.

The SC Public Information Office will issue a copy of the decision through its website once they receive the official copy from the Office of the Clerk of Court En Banc.

Concurring with Bersamin were Justices Diosdado Peralta, Alexander Gesmundo, Andres Reyes Jr., Jose Reyes Jr., Amy Lazaro-Javier, Henry Jean Paul Inting and Rodil Zalameda.

Dissenting were Justice Francis Jardeleza, Antonio Carpio, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, and Rosmari Carandang.

Comelec had disqualified Tallado to run due to what the poll body says as questionable years of service as governor of Camarines Norte, pointing out that should they grant Tallado’s certificate of candidacy, it would have already been his 4th term as governor.

The law provides that gubernatorial post is only limited to three consecutive terms.

However, Tallado took his case to the Supreme Court questioning the decision of the Comelec, insisting that he is still eligible to run for the May 2019 polls as he was suspended from office in 2015 and was reinstated only in 2018.

Tallado won as the governor of Camarines Norte after garnering 149,002 votes against his rival Cathy Barcelona-Reyes who had 104,635 votes.

Comelec has yet to comment on the matter as it yet to receive a copy of the SC decision. — Marje Pelayo

Supreme Court OKs live coverage of Ampatuan massacre promulgation

Robie de Guzman   •   December 10, 2019

(FILE) Filipino Mayor Datu Andal Ampatuan Junior (R), prime suspect in the massacre of 57 civilians in a southern province, is shoved with photos of the mass murder victims as he arrives at the Department of Justice in Manila, Philippines on 18 December 2009. EPA-EPE/FRANCIS MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court en banc on Tuesday approved the request for live coverage and broadcast of the promulgation of the Maguindanao massacre ruling set on Thursday, December 19at the Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Supreme Court Spokesperson, Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka said the en banc voted to allow the live streaming of the promulgation but did not elaborate if the voting was unanimous.

“After the en banc session of the SC this morning, they granted the request for the live broadcast and coverage of the promulgation of the decision of the case ‘People vs Ampatuan’ which is pending before Branch 221 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City,” Hosaka told reporters.

The request for open and live coverage of the case promulgation was filed earlier by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and several media networks.

The Maguindanao massacre, which occurred on Nov. 23, 2009, is considered as the worst election-related violence and attack on press freedom in the Philippines.

The gruesome incident left 58 people dead, including 32 media personnel, some members of the Mangudadatu family and several civilians.

The ambush happened when they were on their way to a local Commission on Elections office to cover the filing of then gubernatorial bet Esmael Mangudadatu – a political rival of the Ampatuans.

Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr. and his brother Zaldy Ampatuan are the primary accused in the case.

Of the 197 original suspects facing multiple murder charges, 101 were put on trial and could face sentencing soon.

Hosaka said a set of guidelines for the media coverage will be released by the SC Public Information Office.

This will include the number of reporters who will be allowed inside and outside of the courtroom as well as the rules on the use of mobile phones, cameras, and other recording devices.

A room will also be prepared where members of the media may monitor court proceedings during the case promulgation.

“However, due to space limitations and security concerns that the court has imposed. These are in broad strokes the actual resolution and guidelines will be out possibly at the end of the week,” Hosaka said.

DFA calls on deactivated overseas voters to re-register for 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   December 5, 2019

 (FILE) Filipino household workers who were repatriated from Kuwait show their documents as they arrive at Manila’s international airport, Philippines, 21 February 2018. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday called on overseas Filipino workers (OFW)to re-register in order to vote in the 2022 Presidential elections.

The DFA made the call following information from its overseas voting secretariat that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it deactivated a total of 578,185 overseas voters for failing to participate in the last national and local elections in 2016 and 2019.

The DFA said deactivated overseas voters may re-register when registration opens from December 16, 2019 to September 30, 2021 at the following areas:

  • Any Philippine Embassy, Consulate General, Mission, or Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO)

The DFA said that all Filipino citizens who expect to be abroad from April 9 to May 9, 2022 during the overseas voting period for the 2022 Presidential Elections, and are at least 18 years old on May 9, 2022 and not otherwise disqualified by law, may register as an overseas voter at the said locations.

OFWs, as well as immigrants, seafarers and students who are about to leave for abroad and are not yet registered as overseas voters may also register on the said dates.

Trump asks Supreme Court to block subpoena for his tax returns

Robie de Guzman   •   November 15, 2019

US President Donald J. Trump waves as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House upon his return from a campaign rally in Bossier City, Louisiana; in Washington, DC, USA, 15 November 2019. EPA-EFE/YURI GRIPAS / ABACA / POOL world rights

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s personal attorneys on Thursday asked the US Supreme Court to quash an attempt by prosecutors in New York to obtain his tax records for the last eight years.

The filing comes after a US district court and a federal appellate panel ruled that Trump’s accountants, Mazars USA, had to comply with a grand jury subpoena for the documents.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., whose office has been trying to enforce the subpoena, said he would delay action to allow the president’s lawyers to ask the Supreme Court to consider the case in the current term, according to The New York Times.

“For the first time in our nation’s history, a state or local prosecutor has launched a criminal investigation of the President of the United States and subjected him to coercive criminal process,” Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said. “Politically motivated subpoenas like this one are a perfect illustration of why a sitting president should be categorically immune from state criminal process.”

The dispute goes back to August, when Vance’s office demanded that Mazars hand over the tax records as part of an investigation into whether the Trump campaign’s 2016 hush-money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal violated the laws of New York State.

Both women said they had affairs with Trump, who denies the claims.

On Wednesday, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals let stand an earlier ruling that Mazars must also provide eight years of Trump’s tax returns to the Oversight and Reform Committee of the US House of Representatives.

The committee is seeking the tax records for “legitimate legislative pursuits, not an impermissible law-enforcement purpose,” the appellate judges concluded.

Trump’s legal team plans to ask the Supreme Court to take up that case as well.

While the US Department of Justice has long held that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime, Trump attorney William S. Consovoy has maintained that his client enjoys “temporary presidential immunity,” not only from prosecution, but also from investigation. – EFE-EPA

llb/dr

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