General & Misc

CA upholds Usurpation Raps vs Ex-Marinduque Solon

Date: 15 April 2019; Type: Legal News; Source: Philippine News Agency

MANILA, Apr 15 (PNA) - A ruling by the Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed criminal charges against former Marinduque Rep. Regina Ongsiako Reyes for usurpation of official functions following her disqualification in the 2013 elections.

In a 12-page decision dated April 11, the special 5th division of the CA turned down Reyes's petition, which sought the reversal of a Department of Justice (DOJ) resolution against her two years ago - approving the filing of case for violation of Art. 177 of the Revised Penal Code.

The appellate court said the DOJ did not err in finding probable cause in the complaint filed by Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, who was proclaimed winner in the elections both by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Supreme Court (SC).

Reyes insisted that she could not be held liable for performing her duties in good faith and with the belief that only the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) could order her to vacate her post, being a member of the House.

The CA explained that claim of good faith was “directly in contradiction with the findings of the Supreme Court” in its 2013 and 2016 decisions, wherein the SC ordered the House to administer the oath of office of Velasco because of the nullity of Reyes’s candidacy and the absolute lack of legal basis to let her keep the seat.

Velasco filed the charges against Reyes "for continuously representing herself to be the Marinduque representative and performing functions relative to the position and for allegedly receiving salaries and other benefits including funds intended for the maintenance and operational expenses of the office of the Representative for Marinduque."

Velasco was able to assume his post and served only in the last five months of his three-year term in February 2016. He then went on to defeat Reyes in the May 2016 elections.

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