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Petilla formally steps down as Leyte governor

By: - Correspondent / @joeygabietaINQ
/ 03:29 PM November 05, 2012

President Aquino congratulates Jericho Petilla after the Leyte governor took his oath as energy secretary at Naia 2. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla formally stepped down as governor of Leyte on Monday morning, paving the way for outgoing Vice Governor Ma. Mimiette Bagulaya to assume the former’s post for the next seven months.

Petilla, 49, is on his third and last term as governor that would have ended on June 30, 2013.

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However, he has to cut short his remaining days as Leyte governor due to his appointment and assumption into office as the new secretary of the Department of Energy.

On Sunday, Petilla took his oath of office before President Aquino. He replaced Secretary Rene Almendras, who was named Secretary to the Cabinet.

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The assumption of the 56-year-old Bagulaya as Leyte governor temporarily cut the dominance of the Petillas in the provincial capitol.

Both Petilla’s parents, Leopoldo and Remedios, were former governors of the province. Leopoldo served as governor from 1992 up to 1995 while Remedios was governor from 1995 up to 2004.

Remedios ran and won as mayor of Palo during the 2010 elections while Leopoldo was named as member of the board of the PNOC-Exploration Corp. this year.

But the reign of power in Leyte was expected to return to the Petillas after next year’s elections where Jericho’s younger brother, Leopoldo Dominico, is a sure winner since he is running unopposed.

Bagulaya, who first served as vice governor in 2004, has filed her certificate of candidacy for board member representing Leyte’s third district in next year’s elections.

She took her oath as governor of Leyte before Executive Judge Lauro Castillo at 8:04 a.m. at the terrace of the provincial capitol in Tacloban City. Petilla was among those in attendance.

Taking his oath as vice governor was senior Board Member Florante Cayunda Jr., 31.

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