SC keeps Lanao del Norte mayor

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

MANILA -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has failed to unseat a mayor in Lanao del Norte, who was once ousted from his post by the Supreme Court (SC) for continued use of United States passport despite having renounced his American citizenship.

SC spokesperson Theodore Te said Tuesday the Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the Comelec, resolution, which annulled the proclamation of Rommel Arnado as winner of the mayoral race in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte on May 13, 2013.

Arnado got 8,902 votes while his rival Florante Capitan only received 1,707 votes. Capitan then questioned Arnado’s candidacy before the poll body, citing the SC decision dated April 16, 2013.

Te did not state Capitan’s arguments which led to the Comelec resolution although the SC had made it clear when it disqualified Arnado as candidate in the May 2010 elections that he cannot run anymore for any local elective post.

In its ruling, the Court said Arnado was not fit to run for public office under Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code because he was a dual citizen at the time he filed his certificate of candidacy on November 30, 2009.

“While the act of using a foreign passport is not one of the acts enumerated in Commonwealth Act No. 63 constituting renunciation and loss of Philippine citizenship, it is nevertheless an act which repudiates the very oath of renunciation required for a former Filipino citizen who is also a citizen of another country to be qualified to run for a local elective position,” it said.

The SC declared Casan Maquiling as the duly-elected mayor for having obtained the second highest number of votes.

Maquiling then took his oath before a trial court judge but Arnado refused to vacate the municipal hall in June last year pending resolution of his appeal with the SC.

The Court reiterated its ruling on July 2 or nearly two months after Arnado reaffirmed his renunciation of US citizenship. (Sunnex)

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