Balilihan election case escalates

Despite securing a favorable decision in an election protest over the legitimacy of her residency in Balilihan, Bohol, Mayor Pureza Chatto hit back at her detractor with the filing of two criminal complaints before the Office of the City Prosecution of the City of Tagbilaran.

The filing of court cases has deeply intensified the brewing political climate of Balilihan, a known bailiwick of the Chatto couple, with their supremacy challenged by a successful businessman, Joemar Unabia and a former top official of Tagbilaran City, Mark Leo Monton, who are both running for the town’s mayoralty. 

RETALIATION

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The complaint stemmed from a decision upholding the permanent residence of Mayor Pureza Chatto in Balilihan, Bohol by Acting Presiding Judge, Joy Angelica P. Santos Doctor of the 19th Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Balilihan-Sikatuna-Corella promulgated on February 11, 2019.

The petition contesting the qualification of residency of Balilihan’s highest municipal official, Mayor Chatto, was filed on January 31, 2019, by Esteban Chatto, Punong Barangay (village chief) of Barangay Del Carmen Weste, first-degree cousin of Governor Edgar Chatto, husband of Mayor Chatto.

PERJURED DOCUMENTS  

Documents attached to the complaint filed by Barangay Captain Chatto were found to be “perjurious,” according to Mayor Chatto.     

A complaint for perjury in solemn affirmation and offering of false testimony in evidence was filed by Mayor Chatto against her cousin-in-law. 

Docketed as NPS Docket No. Vll-14-INV-19B-071, the complaint for perjury in solemn affirmation accuses Barangay Captain Chatto of submitting a sworn petition made to appear that the document went through the process of verification and certification pursuant to section 35 of Republic Act (RA) 8189.

Known as the Voters Registration Act of 1996, section 35 requires that a sworn petition should be filed for the exclusion of a voter from the permanent list of voters.

Through his counsel, Atty. Teodoro M. Lagang, of the Villas Lagang&Tumanda Law Offices, the verification and certification attached to the petition executed by Barangay Captain Chatto on January 28, 2019, and notarized by Notary Public Atty. Nicodemus A. Tago was “perjurious.”

According to Mayor Chatto, the petition dated January 28, 2019 is “clearly perjurious” since it was prepared only on January 31, 2019, or three days after the alleged sworn petition was submitted in court.

The same act of Barangay Captain Chatto also constituted a crime of offering false testimony in evidence since the perjured document was offered in evidence for her exclusion from the permanent list of voters of Balilihan, according to Chatto.

Executing a verification and certification before a notary public containing false narration of facts is a clear violation of Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code.

Any person who knowingly makes untruthful statements, testifies under oath, makes an affidavit before a competent person authorized to administer an oath shall suffer the penalty of incarceration of four months and one day to six months or arresto mayor in its maximum period, according to the Revised Penal Code.

The offender shall also suffer the minimum period of prision correctional which is six months and one day to 2 years and four months.

The perjury case was filed by Mayor Chatto after a notice that Barangay Captain Chatto is appealing the decision before the RTC, Tagbilaran City immediately after the promulgation of the decision on February 11, 2019. (Chito M. Visarra) 



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