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Vol. XXI No. 1

March 14, 2001

Virac, Catanduanes

Sanchez camp shrugs off disqualification case

A disqualification case filed against Governor Hector S. Sanchez by four provincial officials and his bitterest rival for alleged violation of election laws will not place the incumbent's reelection bid in jeopardy, the governor's camp said last week.

A source said that the violation cited by the disqualification petition is not among the grounds for disqualification outlined in Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code. He added that in the unlikely event that the Comelec rules against Sanchez for the alleged election offense, he cannot be prevented from running in the May 14 polls unless he is convicted of the violation upon final judgment. This means the case could stretch for years and allow Sanchez to serve out the next three years assuming he wins his battle with Rep. Leandro B. Verceles, Jr. and former Gov. Severo C. Alcantara.

The other Monday, the outgoing solon joined Provincial Budget Officer Ireneo C. del Rosario, Provincial Engineer Rodolfo G. Malinana, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Priscilla T. Navar and Human Resource Management Officer IV Seth M. Aguilar in filing the case against Sanchez before the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) provincial office.

The petition alleged that on Jan. 10, 2001, well into the election period which started Jan. 2, Governor Sanchez detailed del Rosario to the Office of the Governor without the latter's consent without prior approval of the COMELEC and in violation of Section 261(h) of the Omnibus Election Code. It stated that the official was stripped of his powers and replaced by Budget Officer IV Nina Guerrero.

In his memorandum, Sanchez told del Rosario that "you have not been doing the best of your efforts to supplement the aim of the undersigned for good governance in the provincial government." The governor also added that the budget officer did not make efforts to follow Sanchez's instructions.

A source who refused to identify himself also claimed that del Rosario denied the governor's request to release P50,000 in government funds to fulfill his promise made in 1999 to give the amount to personnel of the Eastern Bicol Medical Center. It was also alleged that the budget officer also objected to funding the purchase of high-powered firearms by the Sanchez administration.

On the other hand, Aguilar and Navar was allegedly detailed by Gov. Sanchez to the provincial administrator's office last year and have not been reinstated to their former posts. In Engr. Malinana's case, he has been detailed to the governor's office since December 1999 and has not been reinstated as of even date.

Del Rosario's Jan. 10 detail order as well as the governor's refusal to reinstate the other three officials, the petition claimed, is in violation of Section 261(h) of the Omnibus Election Code.

On the other hand, Rep. Verceles said he is an interested party in the petition "because the Detail Orders issued by Governor Hector Sanchez and his continuing refusal to reinstate them to their respective former positions constitute election offenses committed by him for the purpose of enhancing his chances of winning in the May 14, 2001 elections."

It may noted that the four provincial officials signed their joint affidavit on non-forum shopping, a requirement in filing such cases, on March 4, a day after Rep. Verceles signed his affidavit before Atty. Arnel Sarmiento, who himself is running for a seat in the provincial board.

Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code enumerates the grounds for disqualification of a candidate as including bribery, terrorism, overspending, illegally-acquired campaign funds, and "violation of any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, subparagraph 6..."

It may be noted that the violation of Section 261 (h) cited by the disqualification petition against the governor is not among the grounds for disqualification as spelled out in the OEC.

However, the same Code provides imprisonment of not less than six months to six years, without possibility of probation, as well as deprivation of the right to vote and perpetual disqualification from public office of the guilty party.

A source at the Verceles camp confided to the Tribune late last week that another disqualification case was set to be filed last Monday. The case hinges on the allegation that Gov. Sanchez tried to bribe the solon's uncle, Prospero I. Verceles, with P2-million to file his certificate of candidacy for the gubernatorial post.

List of candidates in May 14, 2001 elections  



Voices From Cyberspace 




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VIRAC'S FINEST. SPO2 Nelson Tabor and PO2 Whelming Escaro are shown receiving their commendations from PNP deputy provincial director Col. Virgilio Remo and Virac deputy police chief Insp. Rosita Vargas during the other week's flag raising rites at Plaza Rizal.


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DARAGANG MAGAYON. Mutya ng Bicol SCUAA Effrelyn Reolo of Bicol University (center) poses with her court along with Natsy Verceles (2nd from right) and Dr. Evelyn Bagadiong.





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TRAFFIC JAM. A long line of tricycles are caught in jam as SCUAA athletes turn into Plaza Rizal during last week's parade around Virac poblacion.

































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