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In a close vote, the Supreme Court on Thursday reversed its earlier ruling that unseated Imus, Cavite Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi, remanding the case back to the Commission on Elections. The latest court ruling allows Maliksi to continue sitting as municipal mayor. "SC, voting 8-7, granted Maliksi's MFR [motion for reconsideration]. Case is remanded to Comelec en banc for further proceedings consistent with instructions to be contained in its resolution which will be released in due course. Legal consequence of the grant is that Comelec writ of execution is undone," Supreme Court Public Information Office chief Theodore Te told reporters.
The SC also ordered Comelec to decrypt printed ballot images and do a recount, according to GMA News' Lia Mañalac.
On March 12, 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. The Comelec on March 18 ordered Maliksi to vacate and relinquish the post to Saquilayan, but Maliksi said he would appeal the Supreme Court decision. 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, a previous report said. Saquilayan was originally proclaimed the winner of the 2010 polls, but Imus Regional Trial Court Judge Cesar Mangrobang later annulled the victory, the report said. Saquilayan then brought the matter before the high court. Delaying tactics In a report on GMA News' "24 Oras," Saquilayan said that the MFR was only a delaying tactic on Maliksi's part. "Hindi naman sinasabi ng Supreme Court na si Saquilayan ay talo, hindi naman sinasabi ng Supreme Court na si Maliksi ang nanalo," Saquilayan said. "So ang sinasabi ng Supreme Court, ibalik sa Commission on Election at i-decrypt muli yung mga contested ballots, at habang gumagawa sila ng paraan, delaying tactics para manatili diyan," he added. Meanwhile, Maliksi, who remains in his office at City Hall, said "actually, sila nga yung parang nanggugulo dito kasi ang lapit na ng eleksyon, eh kailangan pang guluhin yung nangyayari dito sa city hall." "So diba dapat kung may bagong ebidensya na ilalabas, karapatan lang namin, kasi kasama kami dun sa kaso, na maabisuhan, so yung due process na tinatawag," Maliksi said. According to the report, Maliksi and Saquilayan are both running for mayor in Imus again in the upcoming elections. Both hoped that the COMELEC will announce their final decision regarding the case, to ensure the credibility of the PCOS machines in the elections. — Carmela G. Lapeña/Amanda Lago/DVM/RSJ, GMA News