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Green Card Holders Illegal in RP's Election

Mayor Jose Ugdoracion, Jr.In effect the Supreme Court of the Philippines has declared Green Card holders illegal in RP's Election with the unseating of elected mayor of Albuquerque town in Bohol province.

Martin Bautista one of AKP’s senatorial bet in the last election calls it an injustice when Albuquerque town mayor Jose Ugdoracion Jr. a green card (permanent US resident) holder was stripped of his post that he won in the May 2007 election.

His woes started with the Commission on Elections resolution canceling his certificate of candidacy for material misrepresentation.

The point of contention is Ugdoracion’s failure to comply with the one-year residency requirement under Sec. 29 of the Local Government Code to qualify as mayoralty candidate filed by defeated mayoralty bet Tungol.

To be a candidate for elective position one of the requirements is the one year residency requirement based on surrendering ones green card that is used as a basis for re-establishing residency in the Philippines. In the case of Ugdoracion the photo-copy presented as proof of surrendering his green card was dated October 18, 2006 or 8 months prior to his candidacy.

What is puzzling in the Supreme Court decision upholding the comelec en banc resolution acknowledging Ugdoracion’s being born in Albur and has in fact served as mayor and councilor for almost 12 years? Accordingly his immigrant status in the US was in 2001 so despite his status was still in office for 7 years and it is only now that they figured this one out?

Be that as it may a serious look into this provision is in order and Martin Bautista raised some points that need to be considered in this issue, to quote:

In a very disturbing development, the Philippine Supreme Court upheld the disqualification of an elected mayor because he is a United States permanent resident as shown by his possession of a green card. In a glaring display of ignorance, the Supreme Court ruled that US permanent residents are deemed to have abandoned and renounced their status as residents of the Philippines.

A few facts rankle. First, the disqualification emanated from resigned and disgraced elections commissioner Benjamin Abalos. While the elected mayor chose to return to his country and participate in rebuilding it, Abalos was busy sealing the deal that would have allowed him a big portion of a $135 million kickback.

Second, the Philippine government strongly encourages Filipinos in the US to send money back home, invest in real estate and business ventures and return frequently as tourists.

Finally, in order to work in the US and become productive Filipinos who can potentially contribute to our country, we need to legally adjust our status by becoming permanent residents.

There is not an iota of love lost for the Philippines in this process. Every remittance reconnects us to our communities. Unless our government prefers us to hang around the corner store and drink beer and gin and sell our votes to all these traditional politicians who control the political process from whence they make their livelihoods.

In all seriousness though, I think this is the preference of the government.

As a major sector that props up the sagging economy of the Philippines is it not an injustice that Overseas Filipinos aspiring to have a direct responsibility in running the affairs of the government through elective position are unjustly disqualified due to the technicalities of the law? I can understand the residency requirement in terms of making sure that those seats belong to the local population but those who were born and raised in certain localities who set out to seek greener pastures to be legally declared to have abandoned their residency just smacks of exclusivity and obvious discrimination. I say revise that provision in order to encourage participation from a sector that has a lot to offer in terms of expertise and knowledge gained from their professional and social experience outside of the country, a perspective that may help solve our graft and corrupt ridden government.

Article source:

Albur Mayor Disqualification
Bohol town mayor disqualified by SC for US green card

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