By: Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City –The Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) Second Division denied for lack of merit the petition of a resident of Toboso, Negros Occidental to cancel the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) of mayoralty candidate Evello Muñez Valencia Jr. and declare him “ineligible” for the position.
In an 8-page resolution dated May 10, 2019 and signed by Presiding Commissioner Luie Tito F. Guia, the Comelec division said Valencia did not “commit material misrepresentation when he claimed under oath that he is a Filipino citizen and that he is qualified to run for public office … the instant Petition is hereby Denied for Lack of Merit.”
Commissioners Socorro B. Inting and Antonio T. Kho Jr. also signed the resolution.
In his petition, Toboso resident Ryan Bedonia alleged that Valencia is a US citizen “but stated in his COC (for mayor of Toboso in the recent May polls) that he is a Filipino citizen.”
Bedonia also alleged that after assuming his first term as mayor of Toboso on June 30, 2004, Valencia travelled abroad twice using a US passport.
As vice mayor of Toboso, Valencia continued to use his US passport to travel abroad on several occasions, Bedonia added.
Valencia filed his COC for mayor on Oct 16, 2018 while Bedonia filed his petition on Oct 24.
Valencia lost to incumbent Mayor Richard Jaojoco.
Santiago Maravillas is Bedonia’s lawyer, while Ariel Malunes represented Valencia.