Rival seeks Ronald Singson's disqualification

With 19 days to go before the midterm elections, a disqualification case and an election complaint were filed in the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Wednesday against former Ilocos Sur representative Ronald Singson by his rival for the congressional seat in the May elections.

Lawyer Bertrand Baterina, who is running as congressman for the first district of Ilocos Sur against Singson, came to the Comelec to file a complaint against Singson for allegedly having a government police escort with electronic sirens locally known as “wang-wang.”

“Policemen were using ‘wang-wangs’ which I believe are allowed only for emergency vehicles.  Moreover, the police mobile vehicles of the City of Vigan, which was filled with armed SWAT personnel, served as back-up vehicle."

The alleged incident occurred on April 20 around 10 in the morning at the national highway of the Municipality of Bantay, Ilocos Sur, he said.

Singson should not have such escorts since he was not a government official and was also not entitled to such because he was a candidate.

A disqualification case against Singson was also filed by Baterina saying he was previously convicted in Hong Kong for Drug Trafficking after he was caught at the airport with 6.67 grams of cocaine and two tablets of narcotics back in 2010.

Baterina says the crime for which Singson was convicted by final judgment in a Hong Kong court is a crime of moral turpitude, which is a ground for disqualification under the Omnibus Election Code.

Citing the same Omnibus Election Code, Baterina says Singson is also disqualified within 5 years from service of his sentence in Hong Kong. This means he can only run again after the 2016 polls.

The petition also asked that Comelec “issue an order on or shortly before the 13 May 2013 elections suspending [Singson's] proclamation should he receive the higher number of votes,” in the event that the disqualification case was not yet resolved.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes declined to comment on the matter though he wondered out loud why the case was filed only now, with just 19 days to go before election day.

Singson is the son of controversial Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Chavit Singson.

Bertrand Baterina is the nephew of Estrada impeachment prosecutor Salacnib Baterina.

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