DILG: Reelected Antique mayor cannot assume post due to gun ban violation
ILOILO CITY—A town mayor in Antique, who was convicted and jailed for violating the election gun ban in 2016 but was reelected in the last election, cannot assume office, an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.
DILG Western Visayas director, Ariel Iglesia, said Mayor John Lloyd Pacete of Bugasong town “cannot physically and legally assume office.”
He said Pacete could only assume office if a higher court would overturn his conviction.
The elected vice mayor will assume as acting mayor, according to Iglesia.
Pacete who ran under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan was reelected after he got 10,139 votes, a margin of 3,349 votes against Vice Mayor Bernard Pesayco’s 6,790 votes.
Pacete had been detained at the district jail in San Jose, Antique’s capital town, since April 26.
Judge Mario Andres Jr. of the Bugasong Antique Regional Trial Court convicted Pacete on Feb. 27 for violating the election gun ban in the 2016 elections.
Possession and carrying of firearms or other deadly weapons without written authority from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) are prohibited during the election period under the Omnibus Election Code.
Pacete was sentenced to an imprisonment of a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years. He was also disqualified from holding public office and from voting.
The court had denied Pacete’s motion for reconsideration. It is unclear if Pacete has appealed the ruling in the Court of Appeals.
He was allowed by the Comelec to run in the May 13 elections because the decision was still not final and executory.
The case stemmed from an incident on April 16, 2016, during the campaign period for local and national elections at Barangay Taludtod North in Bugasong.
Pacete, then the vice mayor and who was running for mayor, was campaigning in the village when a scuffle broke out between his bodyguard, Emmanuel Tauro, and a resident.
The resident stabbed and killed Tauro and allegedly took the latter’s .45-caliber pistol before turning it over to Barangay Captain Alex Valdevieso.
Valdevieso testified during the trial that he turned over the firearm to Pacete.
Police Maj. Juvy Cordero, Bugasong police chief, said Pacete initially admitted that the gun was turned over to him but he had misplaced it. But Pacete later denied having the firearm.
In his testimony, Pacete denied that Tauro was armed and that Valdevieso turned over any firearm to him. He also denied carrying another firearm.
He said Valdevieso’s testimony was “fabricated and politically motivated.”
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