Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao failed to drive his rival Roy Chiongbian out of the political ring after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division denied his party's petition for lack of merit.
The People's Champ Movement, a party founded by Pacquaio, sought the disqualification of Chiongbian from the Sarangani congressional race in May because he usually takes residence at Muntinlupa City, not Sarangani.
Chiongbian asserted that while he established some businesses in Metro Manila, he continues to live in the Sarangani province, where he is a registered voter and a member of a local political party.
The poll body sided with Pacquiao's opponent, saying that he has satisfied the one-year residency requirement needed to qualify him to run for congressman.
Article VI, Section 6 of the Constitution allows persons to be members of the House of Representatives as long as they are natural-born Filipino citizens and are at least 25 years old on the day of the election.
Candidates for a House seat should also be able to read and write, and except for party-list representatives, should be a registered voter in the district in which they will be elected.
Candidates should also be residents of the area they plan to represent, not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election, the same constitutional provision said.
The Comelec said a residence may not be his permanent home but where he "eventually intends to return and remain."
Moreover, the Comelec said Chiongbian has proved his “regular presence" in Sarangani, as it is corroborated by witnesses.
The Comelec likewise declared the petition filed by former National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) chief Ralph Recto to disqualify fellow senatorial candidate Richard Recto to be moot and academic because the commission’s law department has already declared Richard as a nuisance candidate last December.
The former NEDA chief said Richard's sole purpose in filing his certificate of candidacy was to confuse the voters by having two candidates with similar names running for the same position. - GMANews.TV