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Maliksi's rival for Imus mayor to appeal Sereno TRO

Homer Saquilayan appealed to the Supreme Court on Monday to cancel the temporary restraining order issued by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno stopping his assumption to office as mayor of Imus town in Cavite. “Sa pagkakaroon ng [Supreme Court] en banc [session] bukas, sana ma-lift ‘yung TRO kasi ako ‘yung aggrieved party dito. Ang TRO ay para sa aggrieved party, hindi sa oppressive,” Saquilayan told reporters at a press briefing. He was referring to Sereno’s order last week stopping the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from unseating Emmanuel “Manny” Maliksi as Imus mayor. In August, the Comelec First Division declared Saquilayan as the duly elected mayor of Imus. The decision was upheld by the Comelec en banc on its September 14 resolution. Maliksi, however, filed a petition for an issuance of a TRO against the Comelec ruling. The Rules of Court allows the chief justice to issue a TRO even without consultations from other justices. Saquilayan and Maliksi are set to face off again in the 2013 mayoral race in Imus.   Saquilayan’s legal counsel, Charles Mercado, said they would formally ask the Supreme Court en banc to cancel the temporary reprieve given to Maliksi.   “The usual practice in SC, in the next regular en banc session tomorrow, they have the option to confer or withdraw the TRO… [If they will not withdraw the TRO,] in filing our comment, we will include a motion to quash the TRO,” he said. “We received the TRO notice last October 12, and we have until October 22 to file our comment, [but] we will not wait until the deadline. We will file it [comment] in the next few days,” Mercado noted. Ferdinand Topacio, another of Saquilayan’s counsel, described Sereno’s issuance of the TRO as “irregular.” “She is susceptible to political pressure,” he claimed, adding Sereno could have consulted the high court en banc in her decision as they are still in a regular session. He pointed out that the issuance of a TRO by a chief justice “is only done in very extraordinary circumstances.” “The chief justice should issue a TRO only if it is of paramount, transcendental importance or it involves matter of life and death. It is not issued if the court is in session or if the justices are readily available,” Topacio said. “The chief justice could have waited for a regular SC session or called for special session,” he added. — KBK, GMA News