By Lyka Manalo
MATAAS NA KAHOY, Batangas—-The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has summoned a vice mayoralty candidate in this town to answer a disqualification case against him.
The Comelec First Division has ordered Jay Ilagan to file an answer to the case filed by his political rival, Henry Laqui.
In the summons dated April 16, Manuel T. Lucero, acting clerk of the commission, ordered Ilagan to submit a reply five days.
A preliminary conference has been set on Friday, April 26, at the Comelec’s Election Contest of the Adjudication Department (ECAD) in Manila.
In the case filed last Feb. 16, Laqui alleged that Ilagan did not submit a Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) from the two election periods in 2013 and 2016 when he ran for mayor.
A SOCE is required of every candidate for electoral office. Any candidate who fails to do faces perpetual disqualification to hold office.
Laqui included in his petition a certification from Rickee Gerald D. Brieva of the Comelec’s Campaign Finance Office stating that Ilagan did not file a SOCE
Reached for comment, Ilagan’s wife, Janet Magpantay-Ilagan, has denied Laqui’s allegations and showed copies of her husband’s SOCE filed with certification from the local Comelec office.
“That’s not true, they just want to disturb our supporters,” said Ilagan, the vice mayor who is now running for mayor.
The couple are running mates under PDP-Laban party.
Vice Mayor Ilagan told Manila Bulletin her husband is out of the country on a business trip.
Jay Ilagan was mayor in 2013 and was reelected in 2016. He was however disqualified by the Comelec because rape and human trafficking charges were filed against him in Ormoc City by a 19-year-old woman.
He surrendered at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Manila in 2016 and the Ormoc court apparently acquitted Ilagan in December of the same year.