7,000 gather in rally vs move to oust Lucena mayor


EMBATTLED Lucena Mayor Barbara Ruby Talaga talks to her supporters at a rally on Wednesday. DELFIN T. MALLARI JR./INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

LUCENA CITY—At least 7,000 supporters of Lucena Mayor Barbara Ruby Talaga held a rally here on Wednesday to press for a reversal of a Supreme Court decision that unseated Barbara as city mayor.

Organizers dubbed the rally as a prayer vigil but carried placards demanding that Barbara be retained as mayor and calling her vice mayor, Roderick Alcala, as an illegitimate mayor.

The scene was a peaceful version of the protest staged by Talaga supporters on June 17, 2011 when officials from the Commission on Elections and the Department of Interior and Local Government forced their way through a barricade to enforce the Comelec order unseating Talaga and installing Alcala as new mayor.

Despite a drizzle on Wednesday night, Talaga’s supporters stayed until the rally, which started after office hours, ended at 8 p.m.

“It is my duty to fight for your sacred votes,” Talaga told her supporters during the rally.

She said her lawyers will file a motion for reconsideration today against the October 9 ruling of the Supreme Court that unseated her and declared Alcala to be mayor.

The ruling invalidated Barbara’s candidacy, which came when she substituted for her husband, Ramon, who was disqualified from running for another term in 2010 because he had reached the end of his term limit.

Alcala said he will not force his way into the mayor’s office to take over. He has been accused of using his family’s influence in the Aquino administration to remove Barbara.

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