The candidacy of Sultan Kudarat gubernatorial aspirant Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu remains valid.
On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which earlier canceled Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy (COC) for allegedly failing to meet the one-year residency requirement.
Copies of the TRO were shared with members of the local media Friday night.
“Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu’s candidacy remains valid, legal, and legitimate,” Mangudadatu’s lawyer, Cyrus Torreña, said in an interview Saturday.
Datu Pax Ali is running to succeed his father, Governor Suharto Mangudadatu, and will be up against Sharifa Akeel, the wife of his uncle, Maguindanao Rep. Esmael Mangudadatu.
Suharto and Esmael are cousins.
Akeel and two others sought Mangudadatu’s disqualification, claiming false material representation in his COC.
They said the gubernatorial bet indicated he is a resident of Lutayan town at the time of filing of the COC in October 2021 while he was still the mayor of Datu Abdullah Sangki, Maguindanao.
Mangudadatu countered that he already resigned as mayor and moved to Lutayan as early as May last year.
The Supreme Court gave all parties a non-extendable 10-day period to comment on the TRO.
Torreña said the TRO remains in effect until the Supreme Court issues a new decision.
He noted that Mangudadatu’s name is still on the official ballot and will not be deemed invalid or stray because of the TRO.
The Comelec denied Mangudadatu’s motion for reconsideration on the cancellation of his COC with a vote of 4-2 on May 2, upholding the decision of the 1st Division.
Akeel and her counsel were unavailable for comment as of posting time.
Source: Philippines News Agency