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In re Nominating Petition of Gerena

April 21, 2009

IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF ANGELA GERENA
APPEAL OF ISRAEL ALFARO
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF EDUARDO MERCADO
APPEAL OF JOANNA LOPEZ
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF MIGUEL ANGEL DEJESUS
APPEAL OF MILSA RODRIGUEZ
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF MARIA FELICIANO
APPEAL OF ELISE ESERANZA-PEREZ
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF ZENAIDA COSME
APPEAL OF LINDA SOTO
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF MARIA SANTIAGO
APPEAL OF ROSA GUZMAN
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF JUANA MARTINEZ
APPEAL OF ANGEL ORTIZ
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF YVONNE CABERA
APPEAL OF JESUS PAGAN
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF WANDA LOPEZ
APPEAL OF NANCY RIVERA
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF JOANDELIS MARQUEZ
APPEAL OF NILDA SOTO
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF HANIEL MIGUEL DEJESUS
APPEAL OF PRISCILLA LOZADA
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF VILMA DELVALLE
APPEAL OF LENORE WEINBERGER
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF JIMMY RIVERA
APPEAL OF FRANKIE ORTIZ
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF MARISELA RAMIEREZ
APPEAL OF CINDY ARROYO
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF MELISSA GARCIA
APPEAL OF WALESKE BERNER
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF JENNIFER FLORENTINO
APPEAL OF AIDA ROBIT
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF CARMELO PARILLA
APPEAL OF JUAN RIVERA
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF DARRYL WALLACE
APPEAL OF DEBBIE TORO
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF MARIBEL DEJESUS
APPEAL OF CARLOS PADRO
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF JAHARI MARQUEZ
APPEAL OF MARIA SOTO
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF RAMON RIVERA
APPEAL OF EMILIO MONTES DE OCA
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF MARILYN RIVERA
APPEAL OF CRYSTAL RIVERA
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF LUZ MARIA DEJESUS
APPEAL OF CARMEN ALICEA
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF INEZ PEREZ
APPEAL OF ANGEL RODGQUEZ
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF FELIPE PAGAN
APPEAL OF LORI CONTRERES
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF IRMA IRIS MARTINEZ
APPEAL OF ELBA ROSARIO
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF JOSE A. VIRUET
APPEAL OF ANGEL RIVERA
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF NEREIDA MENDEZ
APPEAL OF ANGEL RIVERA
IN RE: NOMINATING PETITION OF CARMEN SOSA
APPEAL OF ELBA ROSARIO



Trial Ct. Nos. 002523 (Election Matter), 002556 (Election Matter), 002557 (Election Matter), 002559 (Election Matter), 002560 (Election Matter), 002523 (Election Matter), 002519 (Election Matter), 002561 (Election Matter), 002549 (Election Matter), 002563 (Election Matter), 002566 (Election Matter), 002518 (Election Matter), 002543 (Election Matter), 002532 (Election Matter), 002537 (Election Matter), 002521 (Election Matter), 002540 (Election Matter), 002524 (Election Matter), 002551 (Election Matter), 002546 (Election Matter), 002541 (Election Matter), 002554 (Election Matter), 002545 (Election Matter), 002526 (Election Matter), 002536 (Election Matter), 002546 (Election Matter), 002525 (Election Matter), 002528 (Election Matter) & 002555 (Election Matter)

Per curiam.

ORDER

AND NOW, this 21st day of April, 2009, it is ORDERED that the above-captioned opinion filed April 16, 2009 shall be designated OPINION rather than MEMORANDUM OPINION, and it shall be reported.

Argued: April 16, 2009

BEFORE: HONORABLE JOHNNY J. BUTLER, Judge

OPINION

FILED: April 16, 2009

JUDGE BUTLER

Israel Alfaro, Joanna Lopez, Milsa Rodriguez, Elise Eseranza-Perez, Linda Soto, Rosa Guzman, Angel Ortiz, Jesus Pagan, Nancy Rivera, Nilda Soto, Priscilla Lozada, Lenore Weinberger, Frankie Ortiz, Cindy Arroyo, Waleske Berner, Aida Robit, Juan Rivera, Debbie Torro, Carlos Padro, Maria Soto, Emilio Montes de Oca, Crystal Rivera, Carmen Alicea, Angel Rodgquez, Lori Contreres, Elba Rosario,*fn1

Angel Rivera and Angel Rivera*fn2 (collectively Objectors) appeal the March 23, 2009 order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County (trial court) accepting the nomination petitions of Angel Gerena, Eduardo Mercado, Miguel Angel Dejesus, Maria Feliciano, Zenaida Cosme, Maria Santiago, Juana Martinez, Yvonne Cabera, Wanda Lopez, Joandelis Marquez, Haniel Miguel Dejesus, Vilma Delvalle, Jimmy Rivera, Marisela Ramierez, Melissa Garcia, Jennifer Florentino, Carmelo Parilla, Darryl Wallace, Maribel Dejesus, Jahari Marquez, Ramon Rivera, Marilyn Rivera, Luz Maria Dejesus, Inez Perez, Felipe Pagan, Irma Iris Martinez, Jose A. Viruet, Nereida Mendez, and Carmen Sosa (collectively Nominees) for various Democratic office positions within the 7th ward of Philadelphia County. The only issue before the Court is whether the trial court erred or abused its discretion in accepting the Nominees' petitions for various Democratic office positions within the 7th ward where the Objectors failed to serve their objections on the County Board of Elections within seven days after the last day for filing nomination petitions pursuant to Section 977 of the Election Code.*fn3 For reasons that follow, we affirm the orders of the trial court.

On March 10, 2009, the Nominees filed their respective nomination petitions with the Philadelphia County Board of Elections. On March 17, 2009, Objectors filed their respective motions to set aside the nomination petitions (objections) with the Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas. On March 23, 2009, the trial court held a Hearing to Show Cause why the objections raised by the Objectors should not be granted. The trial court issued its orders that same date accepting the Nominees' petitions based on the fact that the objections were not served on the County Board of Elections pursuant to Section 977 of the Election Code.

Objectors individually appealed to this Court.*fn4 On April 7, 2009, this Court consolidated the individual appeals for briefing and argument purposes. Objectors argue that the Board of Elections waived the issue of defective service of the objections because William Rubin, the Board's Acting Supervisor, appeared at the Rule to Show Cause hearing and did not object to service, thus he consented to the jurisdiction of the trial court. We disagree.

Section 977 of the Election Code provides in pertinent part:

All nomination petitions and papers received and filed within the periods limited by this act shall be deemed to be valid, unless, within seven days after the last day for filing said nomination petition or paper, a petition is presented to the court specifically setting forth the objections thereto, and praying that the said petition or paper be set aside. A copy of said petition shall, within ...


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