AMITA O. LEGASPI, GMANews.TV
The House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) has yet to be convened but it is already being deluged with cases of electoral protest arising from the recently concluded national and local elections.
A check at the HRET records showed that a total of 56 electoral protests have been filed against a number of House members whose candidacies or victories in the May 10 elections are being questioned by their defeated rivals.
The HRET is composed of six House members, who will be chosen once the 15th Congress opens on July 26, and three justices of the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Renato Corona recently designated Justices Conchita Carpio-Morales, Antonio Eduardo Nachura and Arturo Brion as the SC component in the HRET. (See: SC announces revamp, new appointees in electoral tribunals)
The first to be filed was an electoral protest against Bataan Rep. Herminia Roman.
Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, television host and wife of actor-host Richard Gomez whose own candidacy was earlier disqualified, is herself facing two protests. One was filed by her defeated rival, former Rep. Eufrocino Codilla Jr., and the other by a certain Silverio Tagolino.
Former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep Imelda Marcos was accused by her opponent Mariano Nalupta Jr. of not fulfilling the residency requirement.
Two cases were also filed against Quezon City Rep. Vincent Crisologo, the first by Vivienne Tan, daughter of tobacco magnate Lucio Tan, and the other by Elizabeth Delarmente.
Former Quezon City Rep. Matias Defensor and former Quezon City Councilor Franz Pumaren also questioned the victory of Quezon City Rep. Jorge John Banal Jr. Pumaren’s complaint was junked, however, due to his failure to pay the P150,000 docket fee and P10,000 filing fee.
The protest filed by Ernesto Aspillaga against Makati Rep. Abigail Binay was also junked due to the failure to pay the fees.
Apart from these two cases, six others were also dismissed due to non-payment of fees, while two protests were withdrawn.
Former Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante filed a protest against Rep. Rosenda Ocampo.
Former Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CBAC) Rep. Maria Blanka Kim Lokin also questioned before the HRET the electoral victory of Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil.
Former Bantay party-list Rep. Jovito Palparan Jr. also filed a protest against Bayan Muna party-list Reps. Teodoro Casino and Neri Colmenares. Bayan Muna and AnWaray are also facing a protest filed by Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction Inc.
The others members of the House facing electoral protests are:
Monique Yazmin Lagdameo (Makati City)
Mary Mitzi Cajayon (Caloocan City)
Edwin Olivares (Paranaque)
Aurelio Gonzalez Jr. (Pampanga)
Joselito Andrew Mendoza (Bulacan)
Reps. Eufranio Eriguel (La Union)
Randolph Ting (Cagayan)
Wilfredo Enverga (Quezon)
Fernando Gonzales (Albay)
Marie Jocelyn Bernos (Abra)
Cesar Sarmiento (Catanduanes)
Nelson Collantes (Batangas)
Tomas Apacible (Batangas)
Elmer Panotes (Camarines Norte)
Renato Unico (Camarines Norte)
Anna Christina Go (Isabela)
Victorino Dennis Socrates (Palawan)
Salvio Fortuno (Camarines Sur)
Rogelio Espina (Biliran)
Milagrosa Tan (Western Samar)
Emil Ong (Northern Samar)
Jerry Trenas (Iloilo)
Lord Allan Jay Velasco (Marinduque)
Jesus Emmanuel Paras (Bukidnon)
Isidro Ungab (Davao City)
Mylene Garcia (Davao City)
Antonio Rafael Del Rosario (Davao del Norte)
Bai Sandra Sema (Maguindanao)
Tupay Loong (Sulu)
Nur-ana Sahidulla (Sulu)
Francisco Matugas (Surigao del Norte)
Maximo Dalog (Mt. Province)
Pangalian Balindong (Lanao del Sur)