Comelec ruling not yet final—Ejercito
LAGUNA, Philippines—Jeorge “ER” Ejercito refused to step down as governor of Laguna, saying the ruling of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that disqualified him in the 2013 midterm elections is not yet final.
Ejercito on Tuesday evening declared his intention to remain in his post before hundreds of his supporters holding ground at the Laguna provincial Capitol compound in this town.
“I am Laguna’s voice expressed through the ballots of 550,000 people,” he said.
Ejercito said the decision of the Comelec was not yet final and executory since the Supreme Court has already ordered the poll body to comment on Ejercito’s motion within a ten- to 30-day period.
“I opt to await for the Supreme Court decision to settle this controversy…If I leave my post, I may be charged with abandonement and deriliction of duty,” Ejercito said.
The Comelec has removed Ejercito from his post for campaign overspending in the May 2013 elections.
The Comelec, earlier on Tuesday, swore in Laguna Vice Governor Ramil Hernandez as the new governor of the province. Hernandez said he was ready to assume the governor’s seat.
Ejercito has however been holed up at the governor’s office since late last week, only leaving briefly when he addressed his supporters holding a vigil at the Capitol grounds.
Ejercito said he was being “illegally removed” by Comelec chair Sixto Brilliantes, former Laguna Representative Edgar San Luis, Hernandez and the six Comelec commissioners when they “railroaded” the decision on the case against him.
It was San Luis, a member of the Liberal Party who lost to Ejercito in the 2013 gubernatorial race, who filed evidence to the Comelec showing the Ejercito overspent on his campaign advertisements.
“Ano ang nagtutulak sa Comelec para gawin ‘to? Palagay ko mayroong unseen hand (What pushed the Comelec into doing this? I think there is an unseen hand),” he said.
Ejercito said the Comelec should respect the rule of law and the mandate of the people who elected him as governor.
“I will not abandon the mandate of Laguna,” Ejercito declared.
Instead of running after him, he said Malacañang should instead run after those who are involved in the pork barrel scam and are still in their posts.