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Poll ruling confuses Imus execs

/ 11:26 PM December 22, 2011

The unseated mayor of Imus town in Cavite, Homer Saquilayan, has refused to relinquish his post amid conflicting interpretations of a ruling issued Thursday by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Saquilayan insisted the Comelec First Division headed by Commissioner Rene Sarmiento had issued a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) in his favor that stopped his rival, Emmanuel Maliksi, from assuming as mayor.

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Maliksi, however, insisted that the TRO issued Wednesday was invalid because while the resolution was signed by Sarmiento and the two other division commissioners—Armando Velasco and Christian Robert Lim—the latter two had handwritten dissenting opinions above their signatures.

To Maliksi, it meant that with Sarmiento outnumbered by the two commissioners, the Comelec has in effect upheld the Imus Regional Trial Court ruling that declared him winner and ordered him installed as the duly elected mayor of Imus in the 2010 elections.

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The confusing Comelec order, dated Dec. 20 said the Comelec First

Division ruled to issue a 60-day TRO, as petitioned by Saquilayan, and

ordered Imus RTC Judge Cesar Mangrobang to “cease and desist” from implementing the court’s decision to seat Maliksi as the rightful winner in the 2010 mayoral race.

The Imus RTC, after a manual recount of the votes, ruled on Nov. 15 that Maliksi of the Liberal Party won by 665 votes against Saquilayan of the Nacionalista Party.

Maliksi acknowledged that the order created a “legal crisis” since, while it was meant to issue a TRO, the majority dissenting opinions it embodied also in effect rejected the TRO.

Nonetheless, Maliksi said he would not insist on assuming the mayoral office now and would instead wait for the Imus RTC’s writ of execution to be issued on Dec. 28 for him to assume post.

In Manila, Sarmiento on Wednesday said, “There is no TRO due to the two against one vote for the non-issuance of a TRO.” He said he was outvoted by his fellow division members.

Sarmiento said Saquilayan cannot appeal the division’s ruling to the Comelec en banc in accordance with Comelec rules of procedure. Unless Saquilayan appeals to a higher body such as the Supreme Court and secures another TRO on the Comelec’s decision, Maliksi would be the seated mayor while the case is pending before the division, Sarmiento said. With Jerome Aning in Manila

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TAGS: Comelec, Emmanuel Maliksi, Homer Saquilayan, Imus, Politics
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