BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Commission on Election’s law department ordered the three-member Provincial Board of Canvassers to submit their individual counter-affidavits in relation to an election case filed against them by a registered voter for violation of the provisions of the Omnibus Election code and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
In a 2-page subpoena dated August 2, 2016 signed by Atty. Maria Norina S. Tangaro-Casingal, Acting Director IV of the poll body’s law department, she directed former Provincial Election Supervisor Elenita Julia Tabangin-Capuyan, Prosecutor Golda Calaoa-Bagawi, and Dr. Gloria B. Buya-ao, all members of the PBOC of the province in the May 9, 2016 national and local elections, “to appear and submit counter affidavits with supporting documents at the Law Department, COMELEC, 8th Floor Palacio Del Gobernador, Intramuros, Manila on September 22, 2016 at 10 o’clock in the morning before Atty. Shemidah G. Cadiz.”
Casingal warned the PBOC members that faiure on their part to comply with the subpoena shall be considered as a waiver of their right to present their defense and the case shall be considered submitted for resolution based on the evidence on record.
Earlier, Salvador Liked filed charges against the PBOC members before the Commission for alleged violation of the Omnibus Election Code when they proclaimed Atty. Kathy Jill Mayaen-Luis as the duly elected governor of the province on the night of May 10, 2016 despite having received an advance copy of Resolution No. 16-342 of the Commission en banc that denied the certificate of candidacy of the younger Mayaen as substitute for her late father, Gov. Leonard G. Mayaen, who succumbed to cardiac arrest on March 31, 2016, on the morning of the same day.
Bagawi and Buya-ao opted to proclaim Mayaen-Luis as the duly elected governor while Tabangin-Capuyan, being the PBOC chairperson, abstained from the voting.
According to Liked’s complaint, the actions of Tabangin-Capuyan PBOC chairperson reeks of insubordination, grave abuse of authority, a monumental showcase of deception, grave dishonesty, and disobedience to lawful orders handed down by higher authorities and no less than the Commission en banc.
Regional Director Julius Torres of the COMELEC-CAR, who was earlier directed by the Law Department, through a Memorandum dated June 9, 2016, to conduct Preliminary Investigations, inhibited himself from performing the task due to conflict of interest considering that the election supervisor is his subordinate and officemate.
Last June 28, 2016, Atty. Kathy Jill Mayaen Luis took her oath of office as governor while Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr. as the then acting governor and elected vice governor, took his oath on June 30, 2016 as governor on the premise of succession in the absence of an elected governor after the First Division of the poll body issued a writ or preliminary injunction preventing the younger Mayaen from taking her oath as Provinjcial governor pending the resolution of a petition for quo warranto filed by Thom Tawagen which is subject for future decision.
It can be recalled that the Commission en banc also denied the motion filed by Mayaen’s camp praying for the elevation of the records of the case to the en banc for lack of merit and considering that the motion is an interlocutory pleading and instead ordered Tawagen to file his comment on the motion for reconsideration within five days upon receipt of the order.
A petition for quo warranto is a legal remedy questioning the qualification of a person to occupy a certain post and in the pending case, Tawagen seeks to question the legal personality of the younger Mayaen to be proclamined as Provincial governor by the PBOC when her certificate of candidacy as substitute of her father was denied by no less than the Commission en banc. Based on en banc Resolution No. 16-0342.
Tawagen is expted to file his comment on the motion for reconsideration of the Mayaen camp in order for the First Division to resolve the said motion before proceeding to hearing the merits of the petition for quo warranto in the coming months.