DUMAGUETE CITY – The third district of Negros Oriental is up for a possible “battle” between two controversial political names during the special poll on Dec. 9.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Saturday said the widow of slain Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, is expected to submit her certificate of candidacy (COC) within the filing period Nov. 6 to 8.
Likewise, former governor Pryde Henry Teves, younger brother of expelled Arnolfo Teves Jr., may file the same.
“The role of Comelec is just ministerial, and therefore we will accept COCs filed by anyone interested to run representative of Negros Oriental, regardless of the issues concerning their qualifications, and provided they are not barred by law from running,” lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano, Comelec-Central Visayas director, told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.
“If there are questions regarding the legality of an aspirant’s COC filing, any individual or party can always lodge a disqualification complaint against that person, and there is due process for that,” he added.
Teves Jr. was officially removed by the House of Representatives on Aug. 16 on several grounds, including abandonment of public office and indecent behavior.
“Such acts are so grave as to merit the most severe form of disciplinary action allowed by the Constitution in order to protect the institutional integrity of the House,” read the 18-page report of the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, making Teves Jr. the first House member to be dropped from the rolls sans a prior court conviction for a criminal offense.
Teves Jr., who has not returned to the country since the expiration of his official leave of absence in early March, is tagged as the alleged mastermind in the assassination of Governor Degamo and nine others on March 4.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also tagged the Teves siblings and 11 others as terrorists in a resolution dated July 26, 2023, citing killings and harassments in Negros Oriental that created an “atmosphere or spread a message of fear.”
Two other potential candidates for the third district are incumbent Siaton Mayor Fritz Diaz and retired Philippine Navy colonel Rey Lopez, both known allies of the Degamos.
Diaz and Lopez have been openly talking on social media about their possibility to seek election next month. (PNA)