By Tara Yap
Iloilo City—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has ordered the disqualification of Mayor Jason Gonzales of Lambunao town in Iloilo.
The Comelec order dated February 2 nullified the candidacy and subsequent proclamation of Gonzales as mayor in 2016 due to residency issues.
The Comelec ruled in favor of the petition filed in November, 2015 by former Lambunao mayor Vicente Ramirez, who claimed that Gonzales was not a resident of the town at the time he filed his candidacy. Gonzales was still serving as a councilor in Iloilo City.
Gonzales only resigned from the Iloilo City Council in October 27, 2015, more than a week after filing his candidacy for mayor.
Comelec rules stipulate that a candidate must be a registered voter of the area one year prior to the elections.
Gonzales told Manila Bulletin he became a registered voter in Lambunao in January, 2015, when he was still a councilor in Iloilo City. He also insisted he frequently went home to Lambuano, where his father had served as mayor.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. said Gonzales is still mayor and can still appeal since the Comelec decision has not been implemented.