CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has expressed concern over a disqualification order against a mayoral candidate allegedly issued by the poll body which it said it did not issue.
Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia said his colleagues were alarmed when they learned that a document began circulating on social media Friday night.
Answering queries from Cagayan de Oro-based reporters, Guia denied the Commission issued such an order.
“I also told my fellow commissioners already and they are disturbed that our signatures can be copied,” the Comelec official told Gold Star Daily in a follow-up interview Saturday morning.
The alleged order to disqualify city mayor Oscar Moreno, who’s seeking reelection, came out two days before the local and national elections on Monday, May 13.
Earlier, Guia has dismissed the document a hoax.
“That is fake. It did not come from us. No resolution on the case was issued,” said Guia in a text message.
The three-page order says the poll body issued the decision to disqualify Moreno on May 1, 2019, a non-working holiday.
The order was posted on the DDS News – CDO Facebook page at 6:56 p.m. Friday, with 404 shares as of Saturday morning.
The document stated that the disqualification case was filed by former Barangay Taglimao chairman William Guialani against Moreno, docketed as SPA No. 19-005 (DC), for disqualification.
Guialani based his petition on the number of Moreno’s graft cases, more than a hundred of them, some of which have been decided on by the Ombudsman, but the mayor was able to secure temporary restraining orders and writ of preliminary injunction.
Some of the cases have also been dismissed by the Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan.
“In this case, petitioner had been punished with dismissal from service with all its accessory penalties, including perpetual disqualification from holding public office,” reads a portion of the supposed order.
“Therefore, the Honorable Commission is duty-bound to disqualify herein Respondent [Moreno] from being a candidate for the May 13, 2019 Elections,” it added.
The order was allegedly signed by Guia as the presiding commissioner, with commissioners Socorro Inting and Antonio Kho Jr. as co-signatories.
In an interview with Gold Star Daily, Guia said he didn’t remember signing anything pertaining to the disqualification.
In a hastily called conference Friday evening, Moreno’s legal counsel Dale Bryan Mordeno said they did not receive any order from the Comelec.
Mordeno noted that the order that circulated on social media was not an official Comelec document as the wrong font was used in the text.
A news report said the city Comelec office has also not received a copy of the alleged order.
In a phone interview Saturday afternoon, Nicole Managbanag, media liaison officer for the Hugpong ng Pagbabago-Padayon Pilipino-Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines coalition, has confirmed that she distributed a copy of the alleged Comelec order to reporters through Facebook Messenger late Friday afternoon.
Managbanag also said she obtained a copy from William Guialani, the complainant, also via Messenger.
She said she only forwarded the document after verifying from Guialani that it was authentic.
She said she got a call from a colleague who informed him that the order has already come out prompting her to call up Guialani and hear it from him.
But Managbanag clarified that the document did not come from the coalition’s mayoral candidate Jose Gabriel “Pompee,” who has been accused by political opponents as behind the spread of so-called fake news on social media.(davaotoday.com)