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Deadline to stop Rama bid to be solon July 9

/ 07:05 PM June 30, 2012

Annabelle Rama. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Controversial talent manager Anabelle Rama will soon hit city streets here to “feel the pulse” of the voters, ahead of the July 9 deadline for oppositors to block her bid for Congress.

Rama, who faces a string of libel cases from former actresses Nadia Montenegro and Amalia Fuentes, said she had firmed up her decision to run for a seat in the House of Representatives in the city’s north district after her children and husband approved of her plan to plunge into politics.

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She said, however, that she wouldn’t push through with her plan if her visits to the district’s 48 villages showed that she didn’t have enough support from residents.

“If they don’t like me, then I will not push through with my plans to run,” said the talent manager who is known for her public spats with other show biz personalities.

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Rama said she still had time to gauge her acceptability among voters since the deadline for filing of candidacies is in October.

Rama first made known her plan to run when she applied at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in the north district to be registered as a voter, which is a prerequisite to running for public office.

Marchel Sarno, election registrar for the north district, said Rama’s application for registration would be discussed by the Cebu City’s north district Election Registration Board and anyone opposing it has until July 9 to formally do so.

The board is expected to convene on July 16.

“Any question on her residency will be referred to Comelec Manila but this may also be referred back to us for investigation,” said Sarno.

Existing laws require applicants for voter registration to be residents of the place where they want to vote for at least six months prior to elections. Candidates are required to be residents of the place where they are seeking public office for at least a year before elections.

Sarno said his office went over its records and found that Rama had not been registered in Cebu City or in any other part of the country.

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Although she is a native of Cebu City, Rama has made Manila her home.

“It is possible that this is the first time she registered. If anyone will claim that she is not qualified [to be a registered voter], the burden of proof will be on the accuser,” said Sarno.

If Rama’s plan pushed through, she would face either incumbent Rep. Rachel “Cutie” del Mar or her father, former Representative Raul del Mar in next year’s elections. The Del Mars are undefeated in the district since the 1980s.

Sarno said if no one opposed Rama’s bid to be a registered voter in the north district, “she could register because our task is just ministerial.” Doris C. Bongcac and Edison delos Angeles, Inquirer Visayas

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