Puerto Princesa vice mayor takes oath as mayor
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Puerto Princesa City’s vice mayor, Luis Marcaida III, took another oath of office as mayor here on Thursday even after the Court of Appeals (CA) ruled to acquit Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron of charges of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty and reversed his suspension as mayor previously ordered by the Ombudsman.
Talking to reporters on Friday, Marcaida justified his decision to claim the post of mayor even without a clear order from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) or the courts by claiming that the CA ruling, which acquitted Bayron, “was not final and executory” since the case could still be brought to the Supreme Court.
Marcaida claimed that the Ombudsman’s latest order suspending Bayron remained in force and that there was a “permanent vacancy.”
He said Bayron’s designation of one of the city councilors as acting mayor since last week, while he was out on travel, “had already lapsed.”
“For all intents and purposes, there’s now a permanent vacancy at the mayor’s office,” said Marcaida.
Marcaida took his oath in a private affair at the sala of Judge Ambrosio de Luna around 4 p.m. on Thursday.
Returning from his travel to Manila on Friday and reassuming his position, Mayor Lucilo Bayron blasted his estranged vice mayor’s move, criticizing it as “disruptive” and dismissing its legal basis.
“I am really more concerned about the interest of our people here which is being compromised because of this problem,” said Bayron in a press conference.
“The investors are getting worried and the projects that we need to do are not being started,” he said.
Arnel Pedrosa, city legal officer, said Marcaida’s oath of office as mayor “has no legal basis.”
Supporters of Bayron massed at the city hall on Thursday following reports of Marcaida’s oath taking, vowing to physically prevent Marcaida from taking over as mayor.
Members of the city police were also deployed on Friday with instructions to keep the peace.
Bayron won acquittal from the CA after he was ordered suspended by the Ombudsman early last week for “grave misconduct and serious dishonesty.”
His case stemmed from a complaint filed by a citizen in 2013 following that year’s regular elections when he won his first term as mayor.
Asked if there were ongoing talks between him and Marcaida to resolve their differences, Bayron said there was not even a back channel dialogue going on between them.
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