Thursday, June 20, 2024

Baguio: Court junks disqualification case versus Cong. Yap

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A local court has junked a petition to exclude Benguet caretaker congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap from the list of permanent voters in the municipality for lack of merit.

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In a 25-page resolution, Judge Charlie Vallo of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) stated that the petition for exclusion of the name of Congressman Yap in the list of voters of Precinct No. 0047-B located at Tocmo elementary School in barangay Loacan is nothing but a tool used by the petitioners to fish for evidence against the lawmaker.

The court pointed out that a perusal of the evidence of the petitioners to support their allegations that questioned the residency of Congressman yap and the fact that he is not a Filipino citizen are mere affidavits that contain nothing but inadmissible, baseless, and malicious statements.

“Jurisprudence dictates that affidavits, being self-serving, must be received with caution. This is because the adverse party is not afforded any opportunity to test their veracity. By themselves, generalized and pro forma affidavits cannot constitute relevant evidence which a reasonable mind may accept as adequate. There must be some other relevant evidence to corroborate such affidavits,” the court stressed.

The court uncovered 2 things in the said case which are certain and undeniable such as the fact that the petitioners do not have an aota of proof or evidence to support their baseless claims against Congressman Yap and that the petitioners are using the court to conduct a fishing expedition and fish for evidence against the lawmaker.

Further, the court emphasized that the petitioners have no legal standing to file the said case against Congressman Yap since a perusal of the petition would reveal that other than the bare allegations that they are alleged registered voters, the petitioners miserably failed to attach any document necessary to prove and establish the assertion that they are supposed registered voters who have legal standing to file the same.

The court asserted that ultimately, the allegations of the petitioners are nothing but clear indications that the petition for exclusion was filed merely to harass Congressman yap, thus, the court will not allow itself to be used as a tool by opportunistic individuals who have no other intention but to file a malicious case.

According to the resolution, Congressman Yap’s supposed citizenship cannot be the subject of the aforesaid petition for exclusion as the court has no jurisdiction to rule upon the same.

The court stipulated that the inclusion of an issue pertaining to one’s citizenship in a petition for exclusion is grossly erroneous as a collateral attack on one’s citizenship is not allowed.

The resolution explained that Congressman Yap has satisfied all the requirements necessary to be a registered voter as residency is one of the conditions in the exercise of the right of suffrage granted to every qualified Filipino citizen by the fundamental law of the land.

On November 26, 2020, Yap filed his application to transfer his voter’s registration to Itogon and indicated his new residence at 32-D Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodge, Loacan, Itogon, Benguet have stayed there for one year and six months.

On January 18, 2021, the Itogon election registration board approved the aforesaid application thereby including the name of Yap among the registered voters for Precinct No. 0047-B, Tocmo elementary School, Loacan, Itogon, Benguet.

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