- MITCH M. LIPA
“Bacolod, here I come,” was the reaction of former congressman Alfredo “Albee” Benitez July 28 after the City Election Registration Board approved his application to transfer his voter registration from Victorias City to Barangay Mandalagan, Bacolod.
Benitez also thanked the ERB for junking the opposition filed against his application, saying he respects the decision and has faith in the Comelec and the process made.
The ERB resolution, dated July 23 and released July 28, was signed by city election officer, Atty. Katrina Trinio-Cana, Atty. Hermilo Pa-oyon – city civil registrar, and Glady Amylaine Sales, assistant schools division superintendent.
The ERB noted that the three oppositors, Hector Yula and Teodora and Jonah Abao, are not residents of Mountain View Subdivision in Barangay Mandalagan, and the Board is more inclined to give credence to the witnesses of the respondent since they are residents of the subdivision who are in a better position to prove the residency of Benitez.
“The testimonies of the witnesses of the complainant were belied by the witnesses of Benitez. The president of the subdivision attested that Benitez resides in Mountain View Subdivision, and the mother of one of the witnesses of the complainants signed an affidavit that her son lives in another subdivision and not living in their house in Barangay Mandalagan, and the claim of a barangay kagawad that one of the witnesses of the complainant is not a resident of Mountain View Subdivision have all strengthened the claim of Benitez,” it added.
The ERB also said that the contention of the complainants in the position paper that Benitez should establish first his domicile before filing his application as a voter is gravely misplaced.
The ERB said Benitez was able to meet the residency requirement of six months on the day of election. Even if the period of his residency at Mountain View be reckoned from the time of his filing of transfer of registration record until the eve of the election day on May 9, Benitez would still be a resident of the city for more than one year. – MML