By Ellson Quismorio
It’s not a relative of Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno who’s having a bit of trouble this time, but that of his recent critic Camarines Sur 1st district Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr.
This, after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) stopped former Pasig City Mayor Maribel Andaya-Eusebio from running for congresswoman of Camarines Sur’s second district in the coming polls for failing to follow the residency rule.
Andaya-Eusebio is the sister of Andaya, the former House Majority Leader who has been–and still is–hard on the case of Diokno and his in-laws for their alleged involvement in questionable multi-million peso flood control projects in the Bicol region, particularly in Sorsogon.
Andaya-Eusebio is married to Roberto Eusebio, the incumbent Pasig mayor seeking reelection in the May elections.
The poll body determined that she was ineligible to vie for the House seat since she is not a registered voter in that province.
In a unanimous resolution, the Comelec’s first division cancelled Andaya-Eusebio’s certificate of candidacy (COC) for committing “false material representation” when she claimed last year in her COC that she was eligible to run for a congressional post in Camarines Sur even though she was not a registered voter in the municipality of the province’s second congressional district where she intends to get elected in the midterm polls.
It was back in October when the Election Registration Board (ERB) of the local Comelec office thumbed down Andaya-Eusebio’s application for transfer of registration record from Pasig City to Libmanan, Camarines Sur. This was because the lady candidate didn’t fully satisfy the requirements of residency as mandated by law.
The Comelec division’s move to junk Andaya-Eusebio’s COC was made on the strength of a December 20, 2018 resolution by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Libmanan, which, in turn, upheld the earlier October 29 ruling of the ERB to deny her appeal to be included in the Comelec’s list of voters of Barangay Puro Batia in the municipality of Libmanan.
As per Comelec, the denial by the Libmanan RTC of Andaya-Eusebio’s appeal is “final and executory,” given that no higher court had issued any ruling stopping the enforcement of its decision.
“For to rule otherwise would create a contemptible scenario where a candidate who is not even a registered voter of the district he is supposed to represent may come out victorious in the elections, making a mockery of our election laws and rules,” the poll body reckoned.
Andaya-Eusebio’s ineligibility to run for the post warrants the cancellation of her COC, said the Comelec in a resolution signed by the first division’s presiding Commissioner Al Parreño and Commissioners Rowena Amelia Guanzon and Marlon Casquejo.
The commissioners said in their eight-page resolution that with the denial of Andaya-Eusebio’s bid to have her voter’s registration record transferred from Pasig City to Barangay Puro Batia in Camarines Sur, “it becomes clear that (she) lacks one of the qualifications to vie for the position of Member, House of Representatives of the 2nd District of Camarines Sur, that is being a registered voter in the district in which she shall be elected.”
Andaya, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is running for Camarines Sur governor.