Fugitive mayor may not hold office if held, says DILG exec
ILOILO CITY—A fugitive mayor-elect of Mambusao town in Capiz may still not assume his post if he fails to take his oath of office or if arrested, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Evelyn Trompeta, DILG director for Western Visayas, said the elected vice mayor of Mambusao will assume as municipal mayor if engineer Leodegario Labao Jr. will be physically unable to assume office.
“[Labao’s case] will be considered a temporary vacancy when he cannot assume the position and therefore the vice mayor takes over as acting mayor,” Trompeta told the Inquirer.
Labao is being hunted by police after he was tagged as mastermind in the May 4, 2012, killing of Mambusao Vice Mayor Abel Martinez. He has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Martinez, 79, died, from five bullet wounds after he was repeatedly shot by a lone gunman outside his house in Barangay Poblacion Proper, Mambusao, about 45 kilometers southeast of the capital Roxas City.
Martinez was being eyed by the ruling Liberal Party (LP) as its mayoral candidate when he was gunned down.
Labao, who ran for mayor under the National Unity Party (NUP), which is allied with the United Nationalist Alliance, defeated Sharon Martinez-Martelino (LP), daughter of the slain vice mayor.
Labao had 12,117 votes against Marterlino’s 7,109, or a margin of 5,008 votes. Independent candidates Marlon Tupaz had 204 votes while Edito Lacorte had 49 votes.
Labao’s running mate Jose Alba also won with 13,177 votes against Martelino’s running mate, Dorothy Navarra, who had 5,418 votes. The NUP also won seven of the eight seats of the municipal council.
Labao has reportedly not been seen in public after the Capiz Regional Trial Court Branch 21 issued a warrant for his arrest on April 10 in connection with the killing of Martinez.
A manhunt has been ordered after he eluded police who attempted to arrest him in a hospital in Iloilo City on April 14.
“Despite being elected, we will arrest him on sight because of the warrant,” Capiz police director Senior Supt. Domingo Cabillan told the Inquirer.
Police have not received surrender feelers from Labao but Cabillan said they believed that the fugitive is on Panay Island.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.