This August 3, 2012 file photo shows movie and TV stars Charlene Gonzalez-Muhlach and Aga Muhlach attending a Liberal Party gathering in Quezon City. – Photo courtesy of INQUIRER
By JUAN ESCANDOR JR
NAGA CITY: A local court in Camarines Sur has ordered the exclusion of actor Aga Muhlach and spouse Charlene from the list of new voters of San Jose town, a court decision obtained by the Philippine Daily Inquirer showed.
In a decision dated Oct 25, Judge Ricky Begino of the San Jose-Presentacion, Camarines Sur Municipal Circuit Trial Court said the actor, who is eyeing a seat in Congress to represent the fourth district of Camarines Sur, failed to comply with the residency required of a registered voter as cited by the Commission on Elections Resolution No 9149.
In his decision, Begino cited a document “Answer with Omnibus Motion to Rectify Error and to Grant the Petition” submitted in court by the Election Registration Board (ERB) of San Jose town composed of chairman Rosendo C Vales and Palmetto P Valencia and Myrna C Pacamara as members.
The document essentially asked the MCTC to “rectify the error” made by the ERB when the latter approved the registration of Aga and Charlene on Sept. 28.
According to the ERB, Aga and Charlene “could not be residents of Rizal Street, San Juan, San Jose, Camarines Sur having failed to meet the requirement of six months residence in said place prior to their registration on March 19, 2012 and they had filed their voter application on the disallowed period pursuant to Comelec Resolution No. 9149.”
Francisco Dizon, Edgar Malate, Crispin Imperial, Ferdinand Fernando and Felix Monasterio were the petitioners referred to by the ERB who had asked the MCTC to deny Aga and Charlene’s application as duly registered voters of San Jose town.
Dizon had testified before the MCTC that since 2007, he never noticed the presence Aga and Charlene in San Jose town.
According to Dizon, he lives in a house adjacent to the house owned by Cesar Chavez, which the Muhlachs supposedly had leased since August 2011.
The testimony of Dizon was corroborated by other petitioners and dozens of witnesses who said the Muhlachs have not been residents of San Jose.
Lawyer Romulo Macalintal, counsel of Aga and Charlene, said the MCTC’s decision was “highly questionable” and he would appeal to the Regional Trail Court (RTC) in San Jose.
“I don’t know how a voter like Aga Muhlach could be excluded from the list just because he registered earlier than May 12, 2012,” said Macalintal.
Macalintal said the Comelec resolution was only “directory” because the Comelec has been urging voters to register early so Aga and Charlene registered early, “something which the Comelec had accepted and eventually included them in the voters list”.
The ERB “cannot undo what they have done … and Aga and Charlene are denied of their right to be heard when the ERB made the reversed decision submitted to the MCTC through an omnibus motion", said Macalintal.
Macalintal added the filing of the petition to exclude Aga and Charlene from the list of voters at MCTC was “fatally defective” because it did not contain the certification of non-forum shopping that he said is required in all petitions filed. - Inquirer