Thus exclaimed Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba following the decision of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) en banc over the petition for disqualification filed by his opponent Zarah Rose Lara.
According to Mamba, the decision of the COMELEC is a victory of 302,025 Cagayanons who voted and trusted him to govern.
The COMELEC ruling “only showed how good is God for the truth to prevail,” he said.
“The dismissal by the Commission on Elections En Banc of the Petition for Disqualification filed by Zara Lara against me is a significant win for the 302,025 Cagayanos who voted for me, and a testament to how truly good and awesome God is for willing truth and justice to prevail.”
“Every Cagayano who voted for me know that I did not buy a single vote during the elections. I have worked hard and non-stop to deliver on my commitment of good governance to the people of Cagayan.”
“Thanks to the Comelec En Banc, I will continue to do so until the end of my term in 2025. Given the consistency of the Resolution with decisions of the Supreme Court, I truly believe that a reversal by the High Court is slim to none.”
“Just as the Commission stated ‘to accept a jurisdictional infirmity is a blatant disregard of law and long-standing judicial pronouncements to benefit the personal interests of a few and in defiance of the will of the electorate,’” Mamba said.
“I have an excellent legal team that exhibited outstanding legal prowess in advocating our case; I have dedicated PGC Executive Family who have always believed in our cause in the Provincial Government; I have friends, old and new, who did not fail me in my time of need; I have my family who remain as my rock; I have God who has never failed to grant me what I need when I need it most. “
The poll body reversed its previous ruling that disqualified Mamba from the 2022 local race he had won over the alleged disbursement of government funds from March 25 to May 8, 2022.
In a decision dated Monday, March 6, the COMELEC en banc ruled that the disqualification petition filed against Mamba can no longer be heard by the poll body since it was belatedly filed, and therefore no longer falls under its jurisdiction.
According to the Comelec, the petition of Lara was considered filed on May 11 at 8 am, because it was sent via email after working hours on May 10. The official filing came hours after the poll body proclaimed Mamba as winner of the gubernatorial race at 1:39 am.
Six members of the Comelec en banc voted to overturn the Comelec’s 2nd Division order in December, including commissioners Nelson Celis and Marlon Casquejo, who previously voted to disqualify Mamba.
Commissioner Rey Bulay, who also previously voted to bar Mamba from the 2022 gubernatorial race, took no part in the en banc resolution.
The Comelec’s 2nd Division preciously ruled that Mamba violated a 45-day ban on the release of public funds during the campaign period.
Mamba won the May 2022 election with around a 52% share of the votes, compared to Lara’s 47%.
Upon learning the Comelec resolution, Mamba assured that there was no incident of vote-buying and vowed to provide the best service to all Cagayanons.
The commission, however, referred the allegations against Mamba to its law department for the conduct of a preliminary investigation.