March 3, 2024

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Legazpi City Mayor Rosal ousted from post; Comelec acts on disqualification petition

Mayor Geraldine Rosal, Legazpi City. Photo from FB

Legazpi City Mayor Carmen Geraldine Rosal was disqualified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from the May 2022 elections for violating a provision of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) on the disbursement of public funds during the election period.

In a 19-page resolution promulgated on Tuesday, Comelec’s Second Division ruled in favor of the petition of Joseph San Juan Armogila to disqualify Rosal from the Mayoralty race.

The resolution was signed by Second Division Presiding Commissioner Marlon Casquejo and Commissioner Rey Bulay.

The Petitioner ran for councilor, but lost in the last polls.

The petition filed on April 12 sought to disqualify respondent Rosal, and that her proclamation be suspended and/or deferred until such time that the Commission renders final judgment.

Petitioner Armogila alleged that Rosal released cash assistance amounting to PHP2,000 to tricycle drivers and senior citizens during the campaign period, which violated the prohibition on release, disbursement, and expenditure of public funds.

However, the Comelec Second Division cleared Rosal for alleged vote-buying.

The poll body gave weight on Section 261 of the OEC that prohibits the release of expenditure of public funds during the 45-day period before election day.

However, Rosal, in her defense, made her stand that the cash assistance was a continuing project under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and was not covered by the prohibition.

Rosal said, in her defense, the activity was reported to the Commission on Audit.

The Second Division took note that the respondent should be held liable for violating the OEC even as she was only a candidate at that time.