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SC unseats Imus, Cavite mayor

In a close vote, the Supreme Court on Tuesday voted to unseat the incumbent mayor of Imus, Cavite. Voting 8-7, the high tribunal sitting in full court upheld a Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling nullifying the victory of Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi and declaring Homer Saquilayan the duly elected mayor of the city. SC Public Information Office chief Theodore Te told reporters that the high court's latest ruling effectively lifts the temporary restraining order it earlier issued that stopped the Comelec from removing Maliksi from his post. "The decision is immediately executory considering that there are only less than 5 months left in Saquilayan's term of office," said Te. Voting in the majority are Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Associate Justices Mariano del Castillo, Roberto Abad, Mar Villarama, Jose Perez, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Marvic Leonen. Sereno, Perlas-Bernabe, and Leonen, all appointees of President Benigno Aquino III, voted against Maliksi, who comes from Aquino's Liberal Party. Those who joined Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin in his dissent were Presbitero Velasco, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Jose Mendoza and Bienvenido Reyes. In its resolution, the Comelec earlier affirmed its First Division's findings that Saquilayan was the winner in the 2010 mayoral race after a recount of votes in contested precincts revealed that he garnered 48,521 votes or 8,429 more than Maliksi’s 40,092. Saquilayan was originally proclaimed the winner of the 2010 polls. Imus Regional Trial Court Judge Cesar Mangrobang later annulled the victory, prompting Saquilayan to bring up the matter before the Comelec. — BM, GMA News