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SC stops Comelec from installing La Union mayor’s rival

The Supreme Court building is viewed from its closed gateway. STORY: SC stops Comelec from installing La Union mayor’s rival

The Supreme Court building as viewed from its closed gateway. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

AGOO, La Union, Philippines — The Supreme Court has stopped the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from enforcing a resolution which sought to cancel the certificate of candidacy (COC) of Frank Ong Sibuma, who ran and won as mayor of this town during the May 9 elections.

The assailed Comelec decision annulled the proclamation of Sibuma as Agoo mayor and installed his rival, Stefanie Ann Eriguel-Calongcagon, as the “duly elected” mayor of the town.

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On Tuesday, the high court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a status quo ante order against the Comelec and Calongcagon to set aside the Comelec ruling granting a motion to cancel Sibuma’s COC.

The Supreme Court also restrained the municipal board of canvassers of Agoo from reconvening at the Comelec’s main office on Tuesday, which was also set as the proclamation ceremony for Calongcagon.

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But Calongcagon was already proclaimed as mayor of Agoo at Comelec’s main office in Intramuros, Manila, on Tuesday.

In the same resolution, the Supreme Court also required the Comelec and Calongcagon to comment on the petition filed by Sibuma within 10 days.

Sibuma, who ran under the People’s Reform Party, got 21,364 votes against Calongcagon’s 16,603. Sibuma was immediately proclaimed winner.

Residency

But on May 13, the Comelec’s Special Second Division granted a petition of one Alma Panelo to cancel Sibuma’s COC over allegations that Sibuma falsified his place of residence in his COC filed last year. The Comelec said its resolution was “final and executory.”

Panelo alleged that Sibuma’s actual place of residence was in nearby Aringay town.

A month later, the Comelec directed the Agoo municipal board of canvassers to reconvene to annul Sibuma’s proclamation and proclaim Calongcagon.

But Sibuma asserted that he was born in Agoo’s Barangay Sta. Barbara, where the Eriguels also live.

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In an interview, Sibuma welcomed the high court’s order, which he received at noon on Wednesday at the mayor’s office where he was encamped since Monday while surrounded by around 300 supporters. Calongcagon was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.

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TAGS: Agoo mayoralty, Comelec, Frank Ong Sibuma, Stefanie Ann Eriguel-Calongcagon, Supreme Court
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