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Comelec urged to resolve Magalang mayoralty row

June 1, 2008 10:10pm

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines - The Pampanga Provincial Board (PB) has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to speed up the resolution of the mayoralty feud in Magalang town.

The PB members appealed to the Comelec through Resolution 1194, which they unanimously passed, to immediately decide on the case of Mayors Lyndon Cunanan and Romulo Pecson, saying the election body's prompt action in Magalang's political case would be for the best interest of the public and the municipal employees.

"We are not taking sides here. We just want that the problem be resolved for the benefit of the people of Magalang," said first district Board Member Crisostomo Garbo during the recent PB session.

Garbo, along with Board Member Tarcicio Halili, sponsored Resolution 1194.

The PB is worried about the political situation of the town and its possible effects on the administrative functions of the local government unit.

According to Garbo, the feud deprives Magalang residents of the basic services from the Municipal Government, adding that the PB, through the instructions of Vice Governor Joseller Guiao, himself a resident of Magalang, will forward copies of the resolution to the Comelec and the DILG.

The Comelec has earlier granted the motion of Cunanan for a writ of preliminary injunction, a decision that virtually reinstated him as mayor of Magalang.

In its decision signed on May 21, the Comelec en banc granted Cunanan's "Manifestation and Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the Honorable Ponente's Opinion."

The election body also ruled that the "order of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) dated December 3, 2007, declaring businessman Romulo Pecson as the town mayor, be set aside. It also granted the motion to quash the March 11, 2008 writ of execution pending appeal of the trial court."

It even directed both camps to observe the status quo prevailing prior to the filing of the election protest case.

This decision was signed by Chairman Jose Melo and Commissioners Romeo Brawner, Rene Sarmiento, Nicodemo Ferrer and Moslemen Macarambon.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has even acknowledged the Comelec's order and recognized Cunanan as mayor of Magalang.

However, Pecson argued that there is still 30 days before the injunction would take effect, thus he insisted on staying at the Municipal Hall, saying the Comelec order is "not yet final and executory."

"We will still wait for 30 days before the Comelec order become final and executory," said Pecson's lawyer, Ananias Canlas.

Canlas cited Section 13 Rule 18 of the 1993 Comelec Rules and Procedures, which states that in ordinary actions, special proceedings, provisional remedy and special relief, a decision of the Comelec en banc shall become final and executory after 30 days from its promulgation.

He also said they could always file a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court (SC) and likewise secure an injunction and temporary restraining order on the Comelec decision.

Pecson officially assumed office as town's chief executive on April 14 following a four-week stalemate between him and Cunanan. The two hold office as town mayor for about one month. - Sun.Star
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