Tension rises in Ecija town after mayor suspended, replaced by rival vice mayor
ALIAGA, Nueva Ecija—Tension escalated on Wednesday (Oct. 14) at the municipal hall after the provincial board ordered Mayor David Angelo Vargas suspended for six months and the vice mayor, Edwin Javaluyas, assumed office shortly as acting mayor.
In an order dated Oct. 12 and served on Wednesday, the provincial board said it found Vargas “guilty” of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service and simple misconduct.
The supposed violations involved Vargas’ alleged implementation of ordinances for the P210-million 2020 municipal budget and the P1.2-million pension fund for senior citizens.
The board said Vargas enforced the spending measures “despite the fact that he has knowledge that those two ordinances were declared null and void by this body.”
The suspension order was served by officials from the provincial legal office and was received by Vargas before 11 a.m. Vice Mayor Erwin Javaluyas later assumed as acting mayor at 3 p.m.
Supporters of the two officials trooped to the municipal hall at the height of the tension and police immediately secured the premises.
Vargas’ camp said the mayor has secured a temporary restraining order and a certification from Malacañang that supposedly prevented the implementation of the suspension order.
Javaluyas said he was willing to step down anytime should there be a legal order to stop the suspension of Vargas.
Vargas and Javaluyas are political rivals but Javaluyas said he was not involved in the cases against the mayor as these were filed by private senior citizens who were allegedly excluded from the pension program.
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