Comelec disqualifies mayoral candidate in Ilocos Norte town

By Leilanie Adriano, VERA Files

Laoag City—The Commission on Elections has disqualified mayoral candidate Marynette Gamboa of Dingras town in Ilocos Norte for misrepresenting her eligibility to run as mayor.

In an 11-page resolution issued on March 12, the Comelec first division excluded Gamboa as a mayoral candidate in view of a criminal case filed against her in the United States where she is reportedly considered as a fugitive.

The same case caused her disqualification in the 2010 elections when she was reelected mayor of Dingras.

The Comelec resolution stated that Gamboa has been indicted of three counts of felony for “uttering and passing an altered traveler’s check worth $1,000 with the intent to defraud Macy’s, Thomas Cook and the Hongkong and Shanghai Bangking Corporation; unlawfully possessing eight unfinished counterfeit traveler’s checks with the intent to defraud the same entities; and unlawfully possessing 67 counterfeit $20 bills, with the intent to pass the same and to permit, cause, and procure the same to be uttered and passed with the intent to defraud United States Treasury.”

It said Gamboa jumped bail during the hearing of the charges and an arrest warrant was issued against her.

Provincial Election Supervisor Atty. Joel Ginez handed the Comelec decision to Gamboa on Friday afternoon.

Gamboa later told reporters that her lawyer will appeal the Comelec’s decision on Monday.

Under Comelec Resolution 8696, candidates disqualified by a division have three days from the promulgation of a decision to file a motion for reconsideration.

The motion suspends the implementation of the decision.

In the 2010 elections, Gamboa, on the recommendation of the Philippine National Police-Ilocos Norte, was included in the Zenarosa Commission’s list of individuals with private armed groups (PAGs). Then President Gloria Arroyo had created the independent body to address the profileration of PAGs.

She subsequently sued the PNP, seeking a writ of habeas data and the destruction of what she said were unverified reports in the PNP Ilocos Norte’s database. She charged the PNP with violating her right to privacy and maligned her reputation.

In July last year, the Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling dismissing Gamboa’s petition.

The High Tribunal said, “(T)he state interest of dismantling PAGs far outweighs the alleged intrusion on the private life of Gamboa, especially when the collection and forwarding by the PNP of information against her was pursuant to a lawful mandate.”

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)

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