Comelec gives Ejercito until Tuesday to get TRO
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it would let Laguna Gov. Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito remain in his post until Tuesday when the Supreme Court (SC) is expected to decide whether or not to give him a temporary reprieve.
The poll body last Wednesday unanimously affirmed the disqualification and removal from office of Ejercito for overspending in the 2013 midterm polls.
According to Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes, Ejercito has a five-day period or until Monday within which to file a motion for reconsideration and secure a temporary restraining order (TRO) against their ruling.
“If there is no TRO by Monday, we can still wait for it the next day, Tuesday, when the SC holds [an en banc] meeting. If he secures a TRO by Tuesday, it’s still acceptable … he won’t be removed from office. We are not unreasonable,” said Brillantes in a radio interview.
But if after Tuesday there is no order from the high court, Brillantes said the decision of the Comelec disqualifying Ejercito will already be deemed executory.
“By Wednesday or Thursday, [if there is no TRO], we will already have the decision sent to the Department of Interior and Local Government for implementation,” said Brillantes.
Upon Ejercito’s removal, the law of succession will apply, which means Vice Gov. Ramil Hernandez will be taking over as Laguna governor.
Ejercito, running under the banner of the United Nationalist Alliance, won as Laguna governor in the 2013 elections with 549,310 votes. Hernandez was with the Nacionalista Party.
Ejercito on Friday asked the SC to stop the poll body from implementing its decision.
Ejercito also asked the high court to nullify the Comelec’s resolution, saying the poll body committed grave abuse of discretion in finding him liable for spending P6 million for television advertisements during the campaign period when the Omnibus Election Code allowed him to spend only P4.5 million.
In a 22-page certiorari case filed by his lawyer Enrique dela Cruz Jr., Ejercito faulted the Comelec for deciding on his disqualification when the original case against him, filed by gubernatorial race runner-up Edgar San Luis, was merely a request for the initiation of a criminal proceeding for election law violation. Under the Omnibus Election Code, the Comelec should have conducted a preliminary investigation and then filed the case before the court, the governor said.
He also scored the Comelec for disbelieving him when he said that the TV ads were not paid by him and that he had no knowledge about them.
“It disqualified petitioner for an act done by a third party who simply exercised its right to free expression without the knowledge and consent of petitioner,” Ejercito added.
Under the Omnibus Election Code, a candidate must spend only P3 per registered voter. Laguna has about 1.5 million voters.