BONTOC, Mountain Province – The second division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) set for hearing on July 5, 2016 the petition for annulment of proceedings and proclamation of Atty. Cathy Jyll Mayaen as Provincial governor of Mountain Province.
In a 2-page order signed by Presiding Commissioner Al A. Parreno, the poll body directed the members of the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC and the younger Mayaen to file their comments and answers to the petition for annulment of proceedings and proclamation within five days upon receipt of the order and to furnish the petitioner, Thom Tawagen, a copy of their comments with proof of service.
The hearing on July 5, 2016 will be done at the Comelec Session Hall, Intramuros, Manila at around 2 pm.
The order also directed the Comelec regional director in the Cordillera to furnish the concerned parties a copy of the order and to submit immediately their compliance.
Earlier, Tawagen petitioned the Comelec to annul the proceedings of the provincial board of canvassers during the May 9, 2016 elections in relation to the canvassing of votes for the position of provincial governor and subsequently, to annul the certificate of proclamation issued in favour of the deceased independent candidate Gov. Leonard G. Mayaen because he was an independent candidate who died before the conduct of the elections and the votes he garnered are considered stray votes.
In a 4-page petition submitted to the Comelec en banc, Thom P Tawagen also prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction against lawyer Cathy Jyll Mayaen-Luis, the substitute candidate in favour of the older Mayaen, who was denied by the Commission in pursuing her candidacy, from usurping into office in the event that the petition will not be resolved before June 30, 2016 in order to prevent any damage that will be caused to the government and to the people of Mountain Province.
Tawagen alleged that despite receipt of the resolution denying the certificate of candidacy of the substitute, the members of the provincial board composed of Provincial Election Supervisor Julia Elenita Tabangin-Capuyan, Provincial Prosecutor Golda Bagwi and Provincial Schools Division Supervisor Gloria Boya-ao, still went on to proclaim the younger Mayaen at around 10:40 in the evening of May 10, 2016, as the duly elected governor of Mountain Province, using the certificate of canvass and proclamation of her deceased father in her favour.
He claimed the proceedings of the provincial board of canvassers, as far as the proclamation of the elected governor, is null and void from the beginning because the certificate of candidacy of the substitute was denied by no less than the Commission en banc.
Further, Tawagen argued the members of the provincial board of canvassers erroneously used the certificates of canvass and statements of votes of the deceased older Mayaen in the proclamation of her daughter as the duly elected governor of the province.
While the petition was filed outside the 10-day reglementary period required by the Comelec rules of procedure, Tawagen emphasized that it should be treated as an exemption because the acts of the members of the provincial board of canvassers has been null and void from the beginning.
Mayaen succumbed to cardiac arrest on March 31, 2016 while inside the Governor’s Mansion and that on May 5, 2016, her daughter filed her certificate of candidacy as substitute for her deceased father for the scheduled elections.
On May 7, 2016, the Comelec en banc, through Resolution No. 16-0342, denied the younger Mayaen’s certificate of candidacy as substitute for her father based on expressed provisions of the Omnibus Election Code and its implementing rules and regulations contained in various Comelec resolutions.
Tawagen also filed a petition for quo warranto before the Comelec seeking similar legal remedies in order to nullify the proclamation of the younger Mayaen considering that the action of the members of the board was contrary to the previous pronouncements of Chairman Andres Bautista that what will apply in the case of the province will be special elections considering that a substitute for an independent candidate will not apply in the case of the deceased Mayaen.
Section 77 of the OEC provides that if after the last day of the filing of certificates of candidacy, an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any case, only a person belonging to, and certified by, the same political party may file a certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate who died, withdrew or was disqualified.
The substitute candidate nominated by the political party concerned may file his or her certificate of candidacy for the office affected in accordance with the preceding sections not later than mid-day of election day; said certificate may be filed with any board of election inspectors in the political subdivision where he or she is a candidate, or, in the case of candidates to be voted by the entire electorate of the country, with the Commission.