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Paniqui mayoralty row far from over as challenger defies Comelec ruling


Despite the Commission on Elections handing down its ruling on the matter, the mayoralty row in Paniqui town in Tarlac appears to be far from over.

On Tuesday, mayoralty bet Rommel David insisted he was the rightful winner of the 2013 mayoral race, winning over Presicent Benigno Aquino III's cousin Miguel Rivilla.

This was despite the Comelec's ruling earlier this month in favor of Rivilla – junking the decision of the Tarlac regional trial court that ruled Rivilla lost the mayoral race in 2013.

But David pointed out he is not stepping down as there is no writ of execution.

David's camp has filed a motion for reconsideration with the Comelec to appeal the decision of the poll body's first division favoring Rivilla.

Also, David's camp plans to file charges against some department heads of the municipal government.

For his part, Rivilla insisted David should step down and respect the Comelec's decision, which he said is already final and executory.

The mayoralty row heated up last October, when the Tarlac court ruled David was the winner of the 2013 mayoralty contest.
 
Rivilla refused to heed the order while his supporters occupied the capitol's compound.
 
Last May, David filed an electoral protest against Rivilla before the regional trial court, but the protest was junked last June 21.
 
The Comelec said David should have lodged an appeal before it within five days but did so only on July 8 – and before the RTC instead of before the Comelec.
 
It also said Tarlac judge Agapito Laoagan may have abused his power when he declared David the winner of the 2013 race. — Joel Locsin /LBG, GMA News