Lipa City Mayor Meynardo Sabili Disqualified By Comelec

By on Sep 1, 2010 in Local, Politics Comments

In a 7-page resolution dated August 17,2010, the Comelec en banc made its decision to disqualify Lipa City Mayor Meynardo Sabili from the May 2010 elections for lack of residency. The resolution is signed by Commissioners Nicodemo Ferrer, Armando Velasco, Rene Sarmiento, Lucenito Tagle, Gregorio Larrazabal, Elias Yusoph and certified by Chairman Jose Melo.

The motion for reconsideration filed by Sabili that sought to reverse a January 26 resolution made by the Comelec’s Second Division regarding the case has been unanimously denied.

A certain Florencio Librea filed the petition for disqualification that was granted by Ferrer, Tagle and Yusoph. Librea claims that Sabili is not a resident of Barangay Pinagtong-ulan and a registered voter of Precinct 407. Librea said that Sabili lives in San Juan, Batangas and does not pass the 1-year residency requirement in Lipa City as required by the Local Government Code.

Sabili won last May 2010 election against the incumbent Mayor Oscar Gozos by securing 55,268 vote against Gozos‘ 48,815 votes. He was able to run in the May 2010 election since the decision on his motion for reconsideration filed with the Comelec en banc was still pending during that time.

Sabili claimed that he has been residing in Lipa City since 2007. He bought a house and lot in Barangay Pinagtong-ulan where he lived with his wife and their two children. He showed a residency certification from Barangay Pinagtong-ulan chairman. He also showed other documents including certifications from the Parish of Sto. Nino of Barangay Pinagtong-ulan, income tax returns for 2007-2008, voter’s certificate from the Comelec and a membership certificate from the Guardians Brotherhood’s Lipa chapter.

However, Comelec en banc gave little weight to the documents calling them “self-serving.” The affidavit from the barangay chairman was not notarized. The parish certification was not an indication of residence but just an acknowledgement of Sabili’s financial support. The voter’s certificate is not conclusive proof of change of domicile, the Comelec en banc said.

Sabili plans to secure a TRO from the Supreme Court as soon as he receives the copy of the Comelec resoluton.

Sabili claims that it is clear that Librea is being used by his political rivals since the latter is not from Barangay Pinagtong-ulan but resides in Barangay Calamias.

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