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Monday, June 24, 2024

Mamba out as Cagayan governor—Comelec

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has disqualified Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba from the 2022 National and Local Elections (NLE) for violating the Omnibus Election Code (OEC).

In a decision released by the Comelec First Division, Mamba was disqualified for defying OEC provisions, which prohibit the release, disbursement, or expenditure of public funds for any and all kinds of public works from March 25, 2022 until May 8, 2022.

The poll body also declared the position of governor of Cagayan as vacant and will automatically be filled in by the vice governor in accordance with the law on succession.

Victorio Casauay filed the complaint against Mamba. Other respondents in the complaint were Mabel Mamba and Francisco Mamba III, who ran for vice governor and representative of the third district of Cagayan, respectively, in the 2022 NLE but lost their candidacies.

Casauay said that the then candidates used public funds in providing financial aid, scholarship grants, and various transport vehicles to their constituents during the 45-day prohibition period.

In a statement, the poll body noted that “Mamba is incorrect in claiming that the prohibition does not extend to local government units.”

“This prohibition aims to prevent the use of public funds for campaign purposes, and it serves a deterrent effect on incumbent public officials having control and access to public funds from using the same in furtherance of their own political interests,” the Comelec said.

On the other hand, the Comelec cleared Mamba from vote buying allegations, noting that the source of the election paraphernalia bearing his name and containing P1,000 bill could not be verified, thus his culpability cannot be established.

Meanwhile, Mamba has filed a motion for reconsideration before the Comelec to appeal the disqualification order against him, according to the Cagayan Public Information Office (CPIO).

“In this regard, Governor Manuel Mamba will remain and continue to serve as governor of the province while there is no final decision yet,” the CPIO said.

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