DQ case vs Zambo Sur town mayor-elect dismissed

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By Bong Garcia

ALL is set for returning and Mayor-elect Wilfredo Asoy Sr. to assume the mayoralty post come June 30 in the town of Dinas, Zamboanga del Sur.

This, as the Commission on Elections (Comelec), through its second division, has dismissed the disqualification case filed against Asoy by incumbent and outgoing Dinas Mayor Basilio Vidad.

The resolution dismissing the case against Asoy was promulgated on May 8, 2016 by the second division chaired by Comelec Commissioner Al Parreño.

Vidad has filed a petition before the Comelec asking to declare null and void the certificate of candidacy of Asoy on the basis that the Ombudsman has found probable cause and has filed malversation and corruption charges with the Sandiganbayan against the latter.

The case against Asoy stemmed from his alleged failure to liquidate and account P2.4 million in government funds since 2011. Asoy served as mayor of Dinas for three straight terms from 2004 until 2013.

Attorney Domingo Redelosa, IV, the legal counsel of Asoy, said the Comelec turned down the petition of Vidad since the Sandiganbayan has not yet rendered a decision on the cases filed against his client.

“From the foregoing, it is clear that finality of the decision from a competent court finding respondent to be suffering from a disqualification is necessary. In the case, the Ombudsman resolution referred to by the Petitioner only points to a finding of probable cause to indict the respondent,” the Comelec second division stated in its decision.

“Probable cause, for purposes of filing a criminal information, has been defined as such facts as are sufficient to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and that respondents are probably guilty thereof. As such, the finding of probable cause has no bearing to the instant Petition, that these reasons the Commission decided to dismiss the case,” the Comelec added.

Redelosa said Asoy was elated over the decision of the Comelec.

Redelosa added they will furnish a copy of the Comelec decision to the Regional Trial Court Branch 19 in the city since there is a pending similar case Vidad has filed against Asoy.

Asoy is optimistic the RTC will also dismiss the case against him filed by Vidad.

Asoy ran and won as a village chairperson in Don Jose, Dinas, after he ended his third term as town mayor in 2013.

Later on, he became an ex-officio board member since he was unopposed when he ran as Liga ng mga barangay president in Dinas as well as of the province of Zamboanga del Sur.

He defeated Vidad for the mayoralty post by a margin of 637 votes in the May 9 local and national elections garnering 7,835 votes while Vidad got 7,198 votes.