Mayor, vice mayor clash on right to rule Samar town
SAN SEBASTIAN, SAMAR—Mayor Arnold Abalos reassumed his post on Thursday despite an earlier order from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) that barred him from holding public office.
Abalos, who won the mayoral race in May, said the court granted his plea to set aside the DILG order.
“So I am asking the elected vice mayor to [step down as acting mayor] and let’s talk to avoid any conflicts in our town,” he said.
But the acting mayor, Vice Mayor Eleuterio Mabao, refused to yield, saying he would only step down once he received an order from the DILG.
“I am not clinging to this post … However, I will consult first with DILG [officials] … considering that it was the DILG which asked me to assume the post of municipal mayor in an acting capacity,” he said.
In 2014, the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas ordered Abalos’ dismissal from government service for his failure to remit P7.6 million worth of insurance premiums of employees to the Government Service Insurance System.
Abalos filed a quo warranto petition, with a prayer for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order (TRO), in the regional trial court (RTC) in Catbalogan City on July 12 so he could reassume his post. On Oct. 7, Judge Cicero Lampasa of RTC Branch 27 granted the TRO.
Judy Batulan, DILG provincial director, said the agency had yet to receive a copy of the court order cited by Abalos. —JOEY GABIETA
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