MANILA -- Actor Edu Manzano on Wednesday maintained that he is still included in the congressional race for the lone district of San Juan City.
I am not disqualified. Kandidato pa rin ako (I'm still a candidate). My name is still in the ballot. I can still be voted on. And my votes will still be counted, Manzano said in a press conference.
This came after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) cancelled Manzano's certificate of candidacy (COC) citing issues on his citizenship.
Manzano maintained that he renounced his allegiance to another country when he filed his candidacy, stressing that he faced the same complaint in 1998 when he won the race for vice-mayor of Makati City.
"When I filed my COC, I renounced my other allegiances. I voted in '92, '95, '98; I became a candidate in 2010, and then I became a candidate in 2016. So what happens there is every time you file a certificate of candidacy, there is a little oath there that you renounce your allegiance to any other country and you affirm your allegiance to your country," Manzano said.
Manzano, who served the US Army from 1973 to 1977, said that since there was a war ongoing at that time, he said, I was never asked to take an oath of allegiance, so I never swore for the US.
"Hindi matatanggal ang pangalan natin sa balota at mabibilang ang boto sa akin ng mga kababayan natin sa San Juan (My name will not be removed from the ballot and the votes of the people of San Juan for me will be counted)," the 63-year-old Manzano said in a message to his supporters in San Juan.
Manzano, along with his lawyer, former Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., said they will be filing the motion for reconsideration either on Thursday or Friday.
Brillantes noted that Manzano is not yet disqualified to run as the resolution of the Comelec's second division is not final and executory.
"We are appearing here not just to discuss the merit of the case we just want to have some sort of publicity to counter the negative publicity generated by the announcement that he (Manzano) has already been disqualified by a mere division which [it's] decision is not final, and since the election will be on Monday there's no way that the decision rendered by the division last May 6 will never become final on election day. Therefore, Edu Manzano is still a legitimate candidate," Brillantes said.
Once we file the motion for reconsideration, the decision of the division will be considered vacated and we will wait now for the final decision of the Commission en banc, which is expected to come out weeks or months after the election, he added.
Aside from local posts, Manzano also ran for vice president and for senator in the 2010 and 2016 polls, respectively.
On Monday, the poll body's Second Division granted the petition filed in November 2018 by Sophia Patricia Gil, a San Juan City resident claiming that Manzano misrepresented himself after he declared that he is a Filipino citizen when he filed his COC for the May 13, 2019 elections.
The Comelec noted that Manzano, who was born both a Filipino and an American citizen, failed to re-acquire his Filipino citizenship at the time he filed his COC in October last year.
It added that the actor lost his Filipino citizenship when he served as a member of the United States Army from 1973 to 1977 under Commonwealth Act 63.
CA No. 63 is clear and explicit in stating that by rendering service to, or accepting commission in, the armed forces of a foreign country, a Filipino will lose his Philippine citizenship, the Comelec said.
In his submissions to this Commission (Second Division), respondent did not contest or dispute the allegations of petitioner that he served in the United States Armed Forces. Hence, we therefore find that respondent automatically lost his Philippine citizenship when he served in the US Armed Forces pursuant to CA No. 63, it added.
Source: Philippines News Agency