Losing bet wants Marikina congresswoman Stella Quimbo disqualified

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The defeated opponent of Marikina 2nd District Representative Stella Quimbo  has filed a disqualification case against her, claiming she's not eligible for the position.

Rappler on Friday, July 12, obtained a copy of the petition for quo warranto ad cautelam filed by former ABS representative Eugene de Vera before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET).

In his petition dated July 9, De Vera cited "ineligibility" as ground for Quimbo's disqualification.

“Respondent Quimbo should not be allowed to assume office on the ground of ineligibility and be declared disqualified and prohibited from assuming the position as member of the House of Representatives of the 2nd District of Marikina City or alternatively, if she has already assumed such position, that she be dropped from the rolls and be excluded from the House of Representatives,” De Vera said.

Citing Section 8 of Republic Act No. 10667 or the Philippine Competition Act, De Vera argued that Quimbo should not have been qualified to run for office because officials of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) – of which Quimbo was former commissioner – are not allowed to run for office “in the election immediately succeeding their cessation from office.”

De Vera, a lawyer, said no court has yet to rule on the unconstitutionality of Section 8.

“To date, there is no final decision from any court of competent jurisdiction which declares the afore-quoted law as unconstitutional, hence it is a perfectly valid law which must be followed, for ours is a government of laws and not of men,” said De Vera.

Quimbo had resigned from the PCC to run in the Marikina congressional race, as her husband, former deputy speaker Miro Quimbo, was on his third consecutive term.

Quimbo, who ran under the Liberal Party, won by a landslide over De Vera in the May 2019 polls, garnering 79,598 votes against De Vera’s 13,995 votes. 

In his petition, De Vera also accused Quimbo of filing her certificate of candidacy for Marikina representative in November 2018 “without disclosing that she was a former commissioner of the PCC who just recently resigned from office immediately preceding the May 13, 2019 elections.” 

“And to hide this fact, she stated in her COC that she was just a teacher,” said De Vera.

Quimbo served as professor and department chair of the University of Philippines School of Economics before venturing into politics. She finished her business economics degree in the state university, where she graduated summa cum laude.

De Vera asked the HRET to disqualify Quimbo from serving as congresswoman and to instead declare him as the “duly elected” representative of Marikina’s 2nd District.  

Rappler had sought Quimbo for comment but she had yet to reply as of posting time.

De Vera served as ABS representative until his removal from the House of Representatives in November 2018, following his expulsion from the party-list group. 

Quimbo camp to De Vera: 'Move on'

Quimbo's lawyer Bernadette Sardillo called De Vera's arguments  patently self-serving" and "erroneous."

"De Vera’s interpretation of the law is patently self-serving, erroneous, and has no legal basis. As such, it is not surprising that not a single legal authority, Court or tribunal has agreed with his erroneous understanding of the law," Sardillo said in a statement.

The election lawyer expressed confidence that the HRET will rule against De Vera who, they said, should just "move on" and accept defeat.

"It’s time for him to move on and accept the will of the people of Marikina. Teacher Stella Quimbo obtained  almost 85% of total votes resoundingly  defeating De Vera. Kung mahal nya ang Marikina, he should respect the overwhelming will of the majority of our people," said Sardillo. 

Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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