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SC disqualifies Lanao mayor anew

By Frank E. Dosdos, Jr.

KAUSWAGAN, LANAO DEL NORTE – In a decision promulgated on August 18, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that Rommel C. Arnado who had occupied the position of Municipal Mayor in this municipality was not qualified to run in the 2013 Elections and declared his opponent Florante Capitan as the duly elected Mayor.

It appeared that Arnado, born of natural Filipino parents in this municipality, migrated to the United States of America and later acquired an American Citizenship.

On April 3, 2009, he renounced his American citizenship and returned to his hometown.

On November 30, 2009, he filed a Certificate of Candidacy for the May 2010 Elections.

Before the said Elections, he departed for the United States and later reentered the country using his American passport.

Linog Balua, one of the losers got hold of the records in the Board of Immigration of Arnado’s departure and reentry using an American passport and filed a petition for his disqualification in that election.

The Balua petition was overtaken by the May 2010 Elections and Arnado who garnered the highest number of votes among the candidates was proclaimed winner by the Commission on Elections.

Later, Casan Maquiling who garnered the second highest number of votes intervened in the Balua Petition.

On October 5, 2010, the Commission on Elections issued a resolution declaring Arnado unqualified to run in the 2010 Elections for being an American Citizen and declared Casan Maquiling as the duly elected Mayor of this municipality in that election.

Arnado appealed the COMELEC resolution and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

Arnado ran again in the 2013 Elections and proclaimed winner over his lone opponent Florante Capitan despite a pending petition for his disqualification filed by the latter.

Before that Election the Supreme Court decided that Arnado was not qualified to run in the 2010 Elections and declared Casan Maquiling as the duly elected Mayor of this municipality.

Maquiling took his oath of office as the Mayor to serve the remaining one month of the term. However, he was not able to enter the municipal hall as it was blocked by supporters of Arnado who stayed in the Office of the Mayor.

Capitan’s petition was granted by the Commission on Elections, Arnado’s proclamation was voided and he was proclaimed winner in the 2013 Elections.

Arnado appealed the COMELEC resolution and again the case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

In its decision on August 18, 2015, the Supreme Court cited its previous decision in the Casan Maquiling case and pointed out that even after the 2010 Elections and before the 2013 Elections Arnado has not relinquished his American Citizenship is therefore disqualified to run for any elective local government position under the law.

The New Ranao Star


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