The Commission on Elections en banc has ruled with finality on the filing of electioneering cases against former Tagbilaran City Mayor Dan Lim and two radio broadcasters.
The former city mayor, together with radio broadcasters Ted Ayeng and Lito Responte who are all affiliated with Station dyTR, will be charged with election-related offenses for the continued airing of the radio program, “Ang Mayor sa Dakbayan,” which was co-anchored by Lim and Ayeng even after the start of the campaign period for local elective posts on April 29, 2013.
It may be recalled that on August 10, 2017, the Comelec en banc promulgated a resolution which approved the filing of criminal charges in court against the former city mayor, Ayeng and Responte.
However, despite having received a copy of the resolution, Lim and his lawyer, Atty. Doni Piquero, did not file a motion for reconsideration within the prescribed period of 15 days.
Since no motion for reconsideration was filed by Lim’s camp, the Comelec en banc issued a certificate of finality on September 25, 2017, ordering its legal division to “file the necessary case before the appropriate court” against Lim and the two broadcasters.
In its resolution promulgated in August, the poll body found probable cause and strong evidence to charge Lim for using his radio program to campaign for congressman and to attack his political opponents.
In 2013, Lim was on his last term as city mayor and consequently filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for congressman of the First District. However, the mayor refused to stop anchoring his radio program, which is in violation of the Fair Election Act and the Omnibus Election Code.
Through his weekly episodes of Ang Mayor sa Dakbayan, aired every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Lim mounted his campaign for congressman while also using said radio program to attack re-electionist Rep. Rene Relampagos and his other political opponents over the airlanes.
It may be recalled that at the height of the campaign for the May 2013 Elections, Provincial Administrator Alfonso “Ae” Damalerio filed the complaint questioning Lim’s continued broadcasts over his political program even when the campaign period has officially started.
The en banc resolution, signed by Comelec Chairman J. Andres Bautista and Commissioners Christian Robert Lim and Al Perreno, cited the former city mayor for ignoring a letter sent by Atty. Lionel Marco Castillano, who was then the provincial election supervisor of Bohol, warning the management of Station dyTR and Lim to stop anchoring his radio program.
The poll body criticized the former city mayor for using his radio program in promoting the objectives of his political party, Bag-ong Bol-anon and for spreading malicious and defamatory criticisms against the opposing political party.
Based on the en banc resolution, Lim, Ayeng and Responte will be charged for violation of Section 6 of R.A. 9006 and Section 32 of Comelec resolution No. 9615.
An election offense carries the penalty of imprisonment of one to six years, disqualification from public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage.
If proven guilty of the election-related charges, Lim may be slapped with perpetual disqualification to hold public office and the right to vote, while his two co-accused, Ayeng and Responte, both of station DYTR, may lose their license to engage in radio broadcast, and their station could possibly lose its franchise to operate, according to lawyer Lord “Popot” Marapao IV, counsel for provincial administrator Damalerio.
Atty. Marapao said that the case against the former city mayor is set to be filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC).
Atty. Marapao, citing Section 264 of RA 9006, said that “any person found guilty of any election offense under this Code shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation. In addition, the guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right to suffrage.”
Marapao, quoting Section 7 of Comelec Resolution No. 9615, said that media outlets which violate election rules “shall be criminally liable with the candidate and, if applicable, further suffer the penalties of suspension or revocation of franchise or permit in accordance with law.”