THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has suspended the proclamation of former Social Welfare and Development secretary Erwin Tulfo as next-in-line nominee of ACT-CIS party-list due to an unresolved disqualification case filed against him.
Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia, in a letter to House Secretary-General Reginal Velasco dated March 1, 2023, said the suspension of proclamation is in line with the Commission's rule on the disqualification of party-list candidates.
Garcia cited Rule 5, Section 8 of Comelec Resolution 9366, stating “if the evidence is strong, the proclamation of the nominee shall be suspended notwithstanding that fact that his group or organization received the winning number of votes in such election.”
“Hence, the Committee en banc will resolve with dispatch the petition for disqualification to determine if the proclamation is in order,” it added.
The petition to disqualify Tulfo as nominee of ACT-CIS party-list group was filed by lawyer Moises Tolentino Jr.
ACT-CIS got the highest number of votes in the May 9, 2022 election. It has been allotted three seats in the House of Representatives.
Tulfo is the fourth nominee of ACT-CIS.
He claimed his post after his nomination as DSWD secretary was bypassed by the Commission on Appointment, and after ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Jeffrey Soriano resigned from his post.
In his petition, Tolentino questioned Tulfo's citizenship and cited his conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude and his withdrawal as nominee of ACT-CIS after he accepted his appointment as DSWD secretary. Tolentino said that “as a result of the withdrawal of his nomination, respondent cannot be renominated by ACT-CIS or any other party” as provided for under Section 11 of Comelec Resolution 10717.
On Tulfo's citizenship, Tolentino cited the respondent's admission that he used to be a member of the US Army, which requires one to be a US citizen.
He also pointed out that Tulfo's conviction by final judgment of four counts of libel is a ground for disqualification under Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code.
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