Comelec throws out disqualification case vs Senator Tulfo

Neophyte Senator Rafael Raffy Tulfo

MANILA – Senator and broadcast journalist Rafael “Raffy” Teshiba Tulfo can now sleep well.

This as the Commission on Elections (Comelec)  dismissed the disqualification case filed against the neophyte senator and TV 5 show host filed his first wife in connection with the May 9, 2022 national and local elections.

In an eight-page resolution dated February 28, the seven-man Comelec en banc led by Chairman George Garcia found no valid reason to reverse the decision of the Comelec 1st Division, which dismissed the March 4, 2022 petition filed by her former partner, Julieta Nacpil Licup Pearson.

“After a careful review of the records, the Commission en Banc finds no cogent reason to reverse and set aside the ruling of the Commission (1st Division) dismissing the Petition,” the resolution states. “Without any valid ground for the reversal of the Assailed Order, the Motion should be dismissed.”

The poll body noted that it was established that the motion “neither argues that the evidence on record is insufficient to justify the Assailed Order nor that the ruling arrived upon by the Commission (1st Division) is contrary to law,” in accordance with the grounds set forth under Section 1, Rule 19 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure.

“Petitioner merely re-submitted the Petition in the form of the Amended Petition,” it said.

The Comelec also said it no longer has jurisdiction over a disqualification case against Tulfo, who is now a sitting member of the Senate after having already been proclaimed as senator on May 18, 2022 and taken his oath of office on June 22, 2022, under Article VI, Section 17 of the Constitution.

“The Senate Electoral Tribunal assumes exclusive jurisdiction over all election contests relating to the members of the Senate,” it said.

In her October 25, 2021 petition, Juliet Licup Pearson sought to disqualify Tulfo due to alleged material misrepresentation, claiming that she is Tulfo’s legal wife and not Jocelyn Pua Tulfo, whom the senatorial bet declared in his Certificate of Candidacy as his spouse.

Juliet had filed a bigamy case against Tulfo.

In her October 25, 2021 petition, Pearson said she and Tulfo were married in October 1982 in Capas, Tarlac, and that their marriage supposedly was never nullified.

“This misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy was done by him fully aware that he is not legally married to his declared wife in the COC, Jocelyn Pua Tulfo,” the petition stated.

Tulfo admitted in 2019 that he had a child with Peason, but claimed that she was just trying to extort money from him.

Then-acting Comelec chairperson Socorro Inting confirmed in February 2022 that the petition against Tulfo was junked, allowing Tulfo to run and win in the senatorial elections of 2022. Tulfo placed third in that elections with over 23 million votes. (Jeanne Michael Penaranda)

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