Referring to candidates either suspended or found guilty

TACLOBAN CITY- Candidates who have either been suspended or found guilty by a court are still eligible to run in this year’s midterm elections.
Thus said lawyer Felicisimo Embalsado, assistant regional director of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), when asked if these candidates are still qualified to run for public posts relative to the May 13 elections despite of the suspension order or been found guilty by a court meted against them.
According to Embalsado, these candidates are still entitled to run considering that they could contest the ruling by filing their motion for reconsiderations.
“There is no final decision or conviction yet involving these candidates. They can still appeal their cases up to the Supreme Court under our laws,” the elections assistant regional director said.
Among those in the running in this year’s elections whose qualifications were put into doubt were Mayors Stephany Uy-Tan of Catbalogan City and Christopher Sheen Gonzales of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, and Rep. Milagrosa ‘Mila’ Tan of Samar’s second congressional district.
Rep. Tan, who is running for governor of the province, was found guilty of graft case by the Sandiganbayan involving alleged anomalous procurement of medicine.
While both Uy-Tan and Gonzales were ordered suspended by the Ombudsman for 90 days.
Uy-Tan for an alleged questionable land deal while Gonzales for his alleged misuse of ‘Yolanda’ funds.
Uy-Tan withdrew the mayoralty race in Catbalogan City and will be running for councilor instead while Gonzales is running for the lone congressional district of Eastern Samar.
The three candidates have all appealed the court decision suspending or have found them guilty of the complaints lodged against them.
Embalsado, however, said that while legally the three could still run, the adverse decisions may affect their respective candidacy.
“There could be perception among their voters, especially those living in remote areas where informations are hard to reach, that these candidates are indeed disqualified,” the Comelec assistant regional director said.
The Comelec official added that whoever will be elected still rest on the voters whom they want to become their next leaders. (JOEY A. GABIETA)