Aga Muhlach, Fuentebella agree to drop CamSur poll cases
MANILA, Philippines – More than a year after losing in the tight congressional race in Camarines Sur, actor Aga Mulach has decided to move on, and so has his opponent.
Muhlach and the respondent in his electoral protest, Felix William Fuentebella, filed a joint motion to dismiss the cases they filed against each other with the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). It was granted by the tribunal.
HRET said the two mutually agreed that the cases "will not work for the best interests of the people of the fourth district of the province of Camarines Sur."
Muhlach filed the election protest two months after the May 2013 elections after losing to Fuentebella, who ran under the banner of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and received 82,834 votes. Muhlach, who ran under the banner of the Liberal Party (LP) obtained 80,629 votes. (READ: Aga Muhlach fails to dethrone a dynasty)
In his protest, Muhlach cited reports of widespread vote buying, harassment, pre-shading of ballots, and irregularities in canvassing of votes, among others. He alleged that these happened in 225 clustered precincts in 7 of 10 municipalities in the 4th district of the province. (READ: Aga Muhlach says he won, files case vs Fuentebella)
Fuentebella, however, replied that Muhlach’s camp caused delay in the voting process, and charged the actor of committing massive vote buying.
In September 2013, HRET found both Muhlach's protest and Fuentebella’s counter-protest to be sufficient in form and substance, and ordered in November the collection of ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia involved in the case. (READ: HRET orders opening of ballot boxes in Aga Muhlach protest)
Before the 2013 polls, Muhlach survived a disqualification case due to a residency issue. He and wife Charlene allegedly failed to meet the 6-month residency requirement in the district that would have allowed the couple to vote there. The Court of Appeals and the Commission on Elections decided on Muhlach's favor, allowing the actor to join the congressional race. – Rappler.com