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Comelec disqualifies Aurora Vice Gov Noveras

PROVINCE OF AURORA —Vice Governor Gerardo “Jerry” A. Noveras of the Province of Aurora has been removed from his position by the Commission on Election en banc (Comelec) after they upheld the decision of the Comelec First Division that ordered his disqualification.

The Comelec en banc did not support Noveras’ ‘motion for reconsideration.’ Noveras was a candidate for the position of vice governor of Aurora in the May 9, 2022 National and Local Election (NLE).

The Comelec’s decision stems from a case filed by former Dipaculao Vice Mayor Narciso Amansec against Noveras on April 26, 2022. Amansec accused Noveras of allegedly using his position as the governor of Aurora to utilize the province’s facilities and resources for his campaign as vice governor.

According to the Comelec, it has been proven that the provincial personnel were caught on video inside the Aurora Training Center compound while printing campaign materials, including banners and other items to be used for Noveras’ campaign.

It is worth noting that several months after filing the case against Noveras, Amansec, along with his wife Merlina and their driver, was killed by unidentified suspects inside their pickup truck in Barangay Dibatunan.

In a decision released on September 6, 2023, the Comelec en banc emphasized their commitment to adjudicate the case based on legal merits rather than technicalities. According to Rule 23 of the Comelec Rules, a case can be dismissed if the petitioner or their attorney fails to appear at the preliminary conference.

However, the Comelec maintained that strict adherence to procedural rules should not impede the Commission’s efforts to prevent and penalize violations of election laws.

The Comelec First Division discovered that Noveras allegedly orchestrated a deceptive scheme involving Tecuico, a casual plantilla worker at the Provincial Capitol of Aurora, to carry out actions in favor of his candidacy. This included printing campaign materials for Noveras using government assets and facilities.

The Comelec First Division also emphasized in their decision that Noveras allegedly manipulated and coerced his subordinates to support his campaign in the 2022 NLE. According to their ruling, “Tecuico’s printing of campaign materials could be seen as a result of influence or pressure based on their government positions.”

In the resolution issued by the Comelec First Division, it was established that Noveras utilized his authority as governor to influence his subordinates within the provincial government to use government property and funds for his campaign.

In an exclusive interview with Atty. Rene Cruz, provincial election supervisor of Aurora, he said, Noveras was given 5 days to make an appeal to the Supreme Court.