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  • Writer's pictureMenchie Kinao

Petition filed in Tinglayan, Kalinga to exclude 206 voters

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

Tinglayan, Kalinga – A total of 206 registered voters in various precincts in five barangays in Tinglayan were petitioned for exclusion, alleging that they are non-residents and are fictitious.

Mayoral candidate and incumbent Vice-Mayor Charles Abay filed the petition against the voters of Barangays Ambato, Luplupa, Sumadel 1, Sumadel 2, and Old Tinglayan at the Municipal Circuit Trial Court Tinglayan -Tanudan on January 28, 2022.

Upon the petitioner’s request, a hearing which was initially scheduled on February 04 was conducted this February 08, where both parties defended their sides.

The exclusion of 205 voters was contained in eight election cases.

The first case was filed for some voters listed in Precinct No. 0004C in Ambato, another in Precinct No. 0032A in Luplupa, Precinct No. 0033B in Luplupa, Precinct No. 0034A in Luplupa, Precinct No. 0041B in Sumadel 1, Precinct No. 0046A in Sumadel 2, Precinct No. 0039A in Old Tinglayan, and Precinct No. 0039B in the same barangay.

According to Abay, the voters are residents of different places. This, he said, is based on the information given by his relative, the voters’ Facebook profile, and barangay certification issued by barangays outside Tinglayan.

The petitioner stands that the voters violated Section 9 of RA 8189, otherwise known as Voter Registration Act of 1996 which states that a citizen must be at least 18 years old who shall have resided in the place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months preceding the election.

Facebook profile, relatives’ stories not basis to prove place of residence

Attorney Rafie Gumilab, in defense of the voters petitioned to be excluded, affirmed that residence address and proof of existence should not be determined based on mere stories of relatives and information on Facebook.

He explained that anyone can put different details on Facebook application to protect their privacy. His profile himself indicates that he lives in Baguio City, but he is a native of Tinglayan.

In addition, Gumilab said the petitioner has no proof that the same account is owned or maintained by the respondents.

Further, Gumilab argued that for some of the respondents, the barangay certificate from other places does not prove non-residency in Tinglayan, because it may be that they are working outside Tinglayan, hence maintain temporary residences outside Tinglayan.

Some of those who were petitioned on the grounds of being fictitious appeared to prove their existence.

"It is not upon the respondent to defend their qualifications as voter but it is incumbent for the petitioner to first establish their disqualifications by clear and convincing evidence not by just mere allegations, to which the latter failed to do," stressed Gumilab.

The counsel likewise emphasized that the right of suffrage is a constitutionally guaranteed right of every Filipino citizen, thus should not be taken away by just mere allegations of an individual who has a personal interest in the outcome of the election.

Another Hearing on Feb. 21

Continuation of the hearing was scheduled on February 21 for those who were included in the list of petitions but were not able to appear for some reason.

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