Comelec cancels: Caramoan mayoral bet’s certificate of candidacy

By Mark A. Gomez

The Second Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has cancelled the certificate of candidacy (COC) of Angel G. Naval for the position of municipal mayor of Caramoan, Camarines Sur for purposes of the 2022 national and local elections on the ground of material misrepresentation under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC).


In a resolution promulgated on April 19, 2022 in Special Action Case No. 21-129 (DC) entitled Constantino H. Cordial Jr., vs Angel G. Naval, the Comelec agreed with Cordial’s petition that the declaration of Angel Naval in his COC that he is a resident of Barangay Tawog, Caramoan since 2012 to this date (nine years and three months) is false.


According to the Comelec resolution, Naval could not be a resident of Caramoan town, which is in the 4th District, while sitting as an elective official in the province’s 3rd District.


Comelec ruled that Naval has not shown any permanence in his domicile but more importantly that he could not be a resident of Caramoan for more than nine years considering that Naval has


served as board member for three consecutive terms from 2004 to 2010 in the 2nd District and from 2010 to 2013 in 3rd District of Camarines Sur.


To recall, Naval transferred his voter’s registration in Caramoan in 2015 and ran as mayor of the town, but he lost the election after which he again applied for his voter’s registration to be transferred back to Calabanga in the 3rd District.


The Comelec resolution that cancelled Naval’s COC stated that: “His track record speaks for itself. He had been a political vagabond within the Province of Camarines Sur, all for the purpose of situating himself to run for a public post that is the most exigent given the circumstances.”


Meanwhile, in a statement, Naval said that he is still an official candidate for mayor in Caramoan. The Comelec already released the official list of candidates on Feb. 25, 2022 and my name is on the list.


Please vote for me so that if I win, their efforts to disqualify me would be futile as the voice of the people will prevail, he added.


He said his political rivals wanted to disqualify him for the reason that he has no house or residence in Caramoan. My residence is my hotel that my wife and I called Istaran Hotel, which is our house. Maybe they want that the mayor to be must have a mansion. My wife and I loved simple living. We don’t need a big house or a mansion. Although we want that also but we cannot afford it. Maybe if I’m corrupt and involved in a business earning easy money, I can afford to build a beautiful house.


“Under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code – a verified petition seeking to deny due course or cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by an person exclusively on the ground that any material representation contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof is false.”


Based from the foregoing provisions, it is required that the false representation must pertain to a material fact which refers to a candidates qualifications for elective office such as the candidate’s residence.”


The Comelec ruled that Naval is deemed not to have complied with the three requisites for a full and effective transfer of domiciles. One, he has not exhibited any action that would prove his physical presence in Caramoan for the last nine years and three months. Two, Naval has not exhibited animus manendi (the intention of remaining) to the municipality of Caramoan because as late as 2018, he opted to transfer his voter’s registration to another town. Three, Naval past actions also do not exhibit animus non-revertendi (with no intention of returning) because he undeniably hops from one locality to another, depending on his political aspirations.


The poll body stated that Naval has transferred his voter’s registration from Caramoan to Calabanga after his defeat in the 2016 elections. This means that when Naval moved his voter’s registration back to Calabanga after the 2016 elections, as requirement, he would have been a resident of the said municipality first.


“This same principle applies when he again moved back to Caramoan in 2021, in preparation for 2022 elections. For truly, his most recent application to transfer his voter’s registration on 2021 is itself an admission that he is NOT a resident of Caramoan, but that of another locality where he resides and holds an elective office in,” the ruling added.


Naval’s in his statement reiterated that he is still an official candidate for mayor. “Yaon sa balota si Naval Numero Tres sa balota . . . . pangitorogan tang pagbabago mangyayari kung manggana si Naval. Dai ta na togotan na makabalik ang mga kurapto, may mga kaso, pagoripon sa mga kasaraditan . . . may Pagasa pa ang Caramoan . . . Ang paglaom yaon po ki Naval.”


There are three candidates for Caramoan mayor in the May 9 national and local elections. Naval is running under Partidong Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), while his two rivals are: Marilyn Socorro “Malyn” Co of Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and Constantino “Onyo” Cordial Jr. of the Kilusan Bagong Lipunan (KBL).