By JUAN ESCANDOR JR
NAGA CITY: The names of actor Aga Muhlach and his wife, Charlene Gonzales, will remain in the list of voters of San Jose, CamSur, until the Regional Trial Court’s (RTC) exclusion ruling over his lack of residency in the town is decided with finality, an election official here said.
Lawyer Noriel Badiola, CamSur provincial election supervisor, said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the decision of the RTC in San Jose has to become final and executory before the Comelec can strike out the names of the Muhlach couple from San Jose’s voters list.
“Aga and Charlene are still qualified voters of San Jose” pending appeal, stressed Badiola.
He also said that the ruling of the voter’s disqualification of the Muhlach couple has nothing to do with the candidacy of Muhlach for a congressional seat in Camarines Sur.
This means that Muhlach, who is running for the congressional seat in CamSur’s fourth district, would remain an official candidate unless there is a final court ruling that would say otherwise, said Badiola.
Muhlach’s name is also in the list of candidates for the congressional seat in the Partido (fourth) district of CamSur that is now being readied for the printing of the official ballots to be used for the automated elections in May next year, Badiola said.
Badiola said they have yet to receive an official copy of the decision of Judge Noel Paulite, the presiding judge of RTC Branch 30 in San Jose, CamSur, who ruled to strike out the Muhlach couple from the town’s list of voters for failing to comply with the six-months residency requirement for registered voters.
In fact, he said he learned about Paulite’s decision only when this reporter ask him how the Comelec would respond to the RTC decision that was reported in the Inquirer on Friday.
Badiola said that after reading the news in the Inquirer, he immediately sent his staff to San Jose to secure a copy of the ruling.
The decision was penned by Paulite on Dec 17, based on the copy of the ruling shown to the Inquirer by a source identified with the camp of Deputy House Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella, the patriarch of the clan that has been ruling the Partido district for over a century.
Muhlach, a candidate of the Liberal Party, is running against Felix William “Wimpy” Fuentebella, a son of Arnulfo.
The source, who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak on the matter, declined to say how they got hold of a copy of the ruling ahead of the Comelec in Camarines Sur. - Bicol Mail