SC Orders House to Swear in Justice’s Son as Marinduque Congressman

Lord Allan Jay Velasco

The Supreme Court has ordered the House of Representative to officially declare Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr’s son as the winning congressman of Marinduque’s lone district.

At a media briefing on Tuesday, SC spokesman Theodore Te said the court en banc granted the petition for mandamus filed by Velasco’s son Lord Allan Jay Velasco.

In its decision, the SC ordered House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte to administer the oath of Lord Allan as the duly-elected representative of Marinduque.

“Public respondent Hon. Marilyn Barua-Yap, secretary general, House of Representatives, shall likewise register the name of petitioner Velasco in the roll of members of the House of Representatives after he has taken his oath of office,” said the SC.

The court ruled that Lord Allan was entitled to the writ of mandamus under Rule 65, Sec. 3 because the finality of the court’s ruling in GR No. 207264 and the Comelec resolution in SPA No. 13-053 and SPC No. 13-010 “left no issue as to who is the rightful representative of the lone district of Marinduque.”

In GR No. 207264, the SC magistrates voted 7-4-3 to dismiss a petition for certiorari filed by Regina Ongsiako-Reyes, contesting her disqualification by the Commission on Elections.

The high court ruled that the Comelec, through its SPA No. 13-053 and SPC No. 13-010, did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it disqualified Reyes for being an American citizen.

Reyes was still able to participate in the May 13, 2013 mid-term elections because at the time, her disqualification was not yet final.

The following day, on May 14, the poll body – in a four-page resolution – junked Reyes’ motion for reconsideration, rendering her disqualification final.

Reyes’ camp ended up filing a motion for reconsideration twice.

In disqualifying Reyes, the Comelec en banc ordered the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) of Marinduque to proclaim Lord Allan Jay Velasco, son of SC Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, as the winning representative in the province’s lone district.

The older Velasco has since inhibited himself from the case pending with the SC.

“The May 18 proclamation of the respondent, Regina Ongsiako Reyes, is declared null and void and without any legal force and effect,” the Comelec said.

Voting 5-2, the Comelec en banc said Reyes lacked the one-year residency required for an elected official. In March, the Comelec First Division canceled her certificate of candidacy on the grounds that she is an American citizen.

Reyes had repeatedly denied that she’s an American citizen. She also accused her rival’s father, Justice Velasco, of wielding his influence following a high court ruling favoring Reyes’ earlier disqualification by the Comelec. Reyes ended up still being proclaimed as the winning candidate and took her oath after that.

As of this posting, Reyes is still listed in the House of Representative’s website as its member representing the lone district of Marinduque.

Source and courtesy: Mark Merueñas, GMA News

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