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A Caloocan court on Monday issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) halting the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) from executing the preventive suspension order against Caloocan City Mayor Enrico “Recom” Echiverri.
Judge Eleanor Kwong of the Caloocan Regional Trial Court Branch 128 issued the TRO, supposedly to prevent possible “chaos” between supporters of Echiverri and Vice Mayor Edgar Erice.
It was Erice who accused Echiverri before the Office of the Ombudsman of failing to remit P38 million of Caloocan government employees’ contributions to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) from July 1997 to December 2002 and from January 2007 until December last year.
The issuance of the TRO came hours after DILG chief Jesse Robredo signed the suspension order against Echiverri.
In issuing the order, Kwong said that the TRO is “not intended to subvert” the ruling of the Court of Appeals, which upheld Echiverri’s suspension last week.
“It [The TRO] is issued for the purpose of preserving the status quo ante pending resolution of the petitioner’s motion for reconsideration and to maintain public order considering that a barricade has been established in the premises of city hall which may result in uncontrolled violence or chaos thereat,” the local court said in the order.
Echiverri, who is aligned with the ruling Liberal Party, for his part, welcomed the Caloocan court’s decision to issue the TRO.
“As city mayor, it is my sworn duty to keep the peace and prevent disorder to reign in the streets… I am glad that in deciding this case, the court placed public interest over and above personal interest,” he said in a statement. Malacañang, meanwhile, earlier said it is keeping its distance from the row between Echiverri and Erice. –KG, GMA News