BASISTA, Pangasinan — The municipal mayor here has filed a motion for reconsideration in connection with a resolution of the Supreme Court that dismissed with finality his petition for certiorari questioning the decision of the Commission on Elections en banc ousting him from office for having used his American passport even after renouncing his United States citizenship.
Lawyer Orlando de Guzman filed the motion for reconsideration in behalf of petitioner Mayor Manolito de Leon even as the followers of De Leon’s rival in the 2013 election, Jocelyn Perez, held a rally in front of the Basista municipal hall that called De Leon to step down in view of the SC resolution.
Perez filed the petition against the mayor way back before the 2013 election after finding on record that even if De Leon–who at that time was seeking a second term of office– had renounced his U.S. citizenship, he (De Leon) still used his passport in traveling to the U.S.
De Leon filed the petition for certiorari after the Comelec en banc issued a resolution on Oct. 9, 2015 ousting him from office, sustaining the grounds cited by Perez in her petition against him.
The two are now again facing each other in a return bout in the May 2016 election.
Tension broke out on Jan. 6 when aside from holding a rally, the followers of Perez stormed the municipal hall and padlocked the office of the mayor to prevent De Leon from entering his office.
Policemen led by Senior Inspector Buenaventura Benavidez III, chief of police, rushed to the scene and ordered the supporters of Perez to remove the padlock to De Leon’s office and pacified the rallyists.
Policemen of Basista were beefed up by elements of the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) from Tayug to prevent violence. They are still in the area today.
In a talk to newsmen at his residence, De Leon admitted that he was in the United States and returned to the Philippines after 32 years and became a dual citizen, adding that he has already renounced his American citizenship.
Despite his alleged renunciation of his American citizenship after being a dual citizen, De Leon ran and won as mayor of Basista in 2010. He ran for reelection in 2013 but before that, Perez filed a petition against her opponent De Leon after obtaining records from various government agencies attesting that he (De Leon) traveled to the United States using his American passport.
In a resolution dated Nov. 10, 2015 but only recently released by clerk of court Felipa Anama, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Commission on Elections that ousted the winning mayoralty candidate in the 2013 elections. The reason for the ouster was that De Leon used his American passport after renouncing his United States citizenship.
In its resolution dated Nov. 10, 2015, the SC ruled that: “After a judicious review of the records, the Court resolves to dismiss the instant petition and affirm the resolution dated Oct. 9, 2015 of the [Comelec en banc].”
In dismissing the petition, the High Tribunal cited its own earlier ruling in the 2013 case of Maquiling vs. Comelec. In the said case it was ruled that “a candidate who used American passport after renouncing his American citizenship was deemed to have recanted the oath of renunciation that he took.” With this citation, the SC ruled that De Leon’s use of his American passport meant he had reverted to his earlier status of being a dual citizen. PNA / northboundasia.com