MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division has disqualified Laguna Gov. ER Ejercito for overspending in the May 2013 polls.
According to Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, Ejercito was only entitled to spend P3 per voter, which means for the estimated 1.5 million registered voters in Laguna, he was only supposed to spend P4.5 million for his campaign.
"But the findings on spending indicate that for ads alone...he [spent] I think almost P6 million. So that's a very clear case of overspending," Jimenez said in an interview with ANC's "News Now" Thursday.
He said Ejercito has five days to file a motion for reconsideration before the poll body.
Ejercito, meanwhile, stressed that he is still Laguna governor because the Comelec decision is not final and executory.
“I am entitled to file a motion for reconsideration and pending resolution thereof, I will remain to be the governor of the province of Laguna,” he said in a statement.
Ejercito said he is hoping that there is no “evil politics” behind the decision to disqualify him.
“For now, let it be known that I have full trust and confidence on the integrity of the Comelec,” he said.
If the Comelec decision becomes final and executory, Vice Governor Ramil Hernandez will take over Ejercito's post.
Ejercito, who ran under the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, defeated Liberal Party bet Edgar San Luis in the Laguna gubernatorial race.
Last April, the President chided Ejercito for being hours late in a meeting held at the Palace to discuss flood mitigation efforts for provinces around the Laguna Lake.
He did not name names but Aquino alluded to Ejercito's other job as an actor while endorsing the Liberal Party's candidate for governor, Edgar San Luis.
"Kung tunay na pagmamalasakit sa bayan at kapwa ang pag-uusapan— sa totoong buhay po at hindi sa mga pelikula lamang— buong-buo po ang tiwala ko sa susunod ninyong Gobernador: si Egay San Luis," Aquino said in his speech at a campaign rally in the town plaza.
Despite Aquino's endorsement, Luis still lost to Ejercito in the May elections.