56 electoral protests filed before House tribunal
By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
MANILA, Philippines – A total of 56 cases of electoral protest have been filed against members of the House of Representatives who won in the first automated elections last May 10, records at House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) showed.
The cases were lodged before the body even before the 15th Congress formally opens on July 26.
Among the lawmakers facing cases are Ilocos Norte Representative and former First Lady Imelda Marcos, Leyte Representative and television host Lucy Torres-Gomez, Pangasinan Representative Leopoldo Bataoil, Ilocos Norte Representative Rodolfo Farinas, Laguna Representative Justin Marc Chipeco, Quezon City Representative Jorge Banal and Bayan Muna partylist Representatives Teodoro Casino and Neri Colmenares.
The case against Marcos was filed by her defeated opponent, Mariano Nalupta Jr., and his lawyer Ferdinand Ignacio, for not fulfilling the residency requirement.
Eufrocino Codilla Jr., son of the incumbent congressman, filed the case against Gomez, while Bataoil is facing a protest against Maria Blanca Kim Lokin, a former partylist representative of the Citizens Battle Against Corruption.
Incumbent Quezon City Representative Matias Defensor filed the case against Banal, while former mayor Reynolan Sales lodged the case against Farinas.
The group Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction Inc. filed cases against partylist groups Bayan Muna and An Waray. Bayan Muna is facing another protest case from former congressman and retired military general Jovito Palparan Jr.
Other members of the House with pending election protests filed against them are Representatives Herminia Roman (Bataan), Eufranio Eriguel (La Union), Randolph Ting (Cagayan), Wilfredo Enverga (Quezon), Monique Yazmin Lagdameo (Makati City), Edwin Olivares (Paranaque), Rosenda Ocampo (Manila), Anna Christina Go (Isabela), Jesus Emmanuel Paras (Bukidnon), Fernando Gonzales (Albay), Rogelio Espina (Biliran);
Mary Mitzi Cajayon (Caloocan City), Isidro Ungab (Davao City), Salvio Fortuno (Camarines Sur), Bai Sandra Sema (Maguindanao), Marie Jocelyn Bernos (Abra), Cesar Sarmiento (Catanduanes), Victorino Dennis Socrates (Palawan), Milagrosa Tan (Western Samar), Antonio Rafael Del Rosario (Davao del Norte) , Nelson Collantes (Batangas), Emil Ong (Northern Samar), Tomas Apacible (Batangas), Aurelio Gonzalez Jr. (Pampanga);
Joselito Andrew Mendoza (Bulacan), Elmer Panotes (Camarines Norte), Renato Unico (Camarines Norte), Jerry Trenas (Iloilo), Mylene Garcia (Davao City), Tupay Loong (Sulu), Nur-ana Sahidulla (Sulu), Francisco Matugas (Suriogao del Norte), Maximo Dalog (Mt. Province), Lord Allan Jay Velasco (Marinduque), and Pangalian Balindong (Lanao del Sur).
Outgoing Speaker Prospero Nograles said the number of cases lodged appear to have exceeded those filed at the start of the 14th Congress.
The HRET is composed of nine members, three of whom are justices of the Supreme Court who are assigned to the tribunal by the chief justice; the remaining six are the members of the House of Representatives chosen on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and the parties or organizations registered under the party-list system.