Bishop urges Comelec to reconsider DQ case vs Albay gov

By Cet Dematera

LEGAZPI CITY---The Diocese of Legazpi in Albay has urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reconsider its decision disqualifying incumbent Albay Gov. Noel Rosal and his wife Legazpi City Mayor Carmen Geraldine Barrameda-Rosal from office.


The poll body disqualified the Rosal couple for violation of election ban on government spending before the May 2022 polls.


They handed out cash assistance to tricycle drivers and senior citizens from March to April, coinciding with the 45-day ban on the release of public funds.


In an interview, Bishop Joel Baylon declared that accusations against the Rosal couple as unjustified to unseat them.


He noted that other local officials also gave “ayuda” before the elections, and yet only the couple was charged.


“The local poll body should have considered the arguments raised by the people that “their votes were not bought, but that they voted for Rosals,”


“We want justice for our governor who has done so much for his constituents. We will support him, all the way until we find justice for him,” Baylon said.


He also expressed fear that the recent disqualification of Rosal from office “could pave the way for the resumption of destructive illegal quarry activities around the foot of Mayon Volcano.”


He said prior to the move to disqualify the governor, Rosal had issued drastic measure to end illegal quarrying around the volcano.


“Here is a leader who is trying to do his best. He did it not for aggrandizement or to be elected. He has been doing long before the elections, like what he did to help and protect our people from the pandemic,” Baylon said.


“I can attest to the fact that the incumbent governor is not an arrogant, abusive leader nor he enriched himself in his position, but did many things to benefit his constituents” Baylon said.


In another interview, Father Rex Paul Arjona, parish priest of St. Roch Parish of Taysan, Legazpi City, lamented how the disqualification cases against the couple undermined the will of the electorate.


“Beyond the legal arguments, these recent political controversies are an indictment of our broken electoral system and how it is easy to undermine the people’s will,” Arjona, former executive director of Social Action Center of the Diocese of Legazpi, said.


Bishop Baylon said they back the governor and the mayor, respectively and that “the support of the Church and other sector which we are showing is not ningas cogon, we will support him all the way to the Supreme Court “hanggang makamtan natin ang kagustuhan ng mamamayan.”