Ousted Ecija mayor reclaims post as Comelec orders status quo
JAEN, Nueva Ecija — Mayor Sylvia Austria may now reassume her duties as local chief executive after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ordered her rival, former Mayor Antonio Prospero Esquivel, to “peacefully turn over” the post to her.
Austria stepped down last month after Judge Angelo Perez of the Regional Trial Court Branch 87 declared her proclamation in the May 2019 elections null and void.
The court’s decision was based on the election protest filed by Esquivel.
In its Dec. 7 ruling, Perez said Esquivel won the mayoral election with 18,737 votes over Austria’s 14,000, citing a manual recount. It contradicted the 2019 tally of the municipal board of canvassers, which declared Austria the winner after she garnered 20,815 votes, with Esquivel getting 18,461.
But the Comelec’s Second Division, in an order on Jan. 12, issued a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO), asking Perez to stop enforcing its previous order and the writ of execution, paving the way for Esquivel to assume the position.
Esquivel has declined to comment on the Comelec’s decision, but the Inquirer learned that his camp would file a motion for reconsideration. —ARMAND GALANG
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