ER Ejercito urged to give way to Hernandez
MANILA, Philippines—Election law expert Romulo Macalintal on Wednesday said ousted Laguna Governor Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito should give way to Vice Governor Ramil Hernandez to perform the duties as governor.
“Instead of prolonging the agony of the residents of Laguna, he should give way for the Vice Governor,” Macalintal told reporters.
He said even if Ejercito would step down does not mean he no longer has any chance to defend his case.
Macalintal said Ejercito could file another motion with the high court indicating the urgency to issue a restraining order against the Commission on Elections’ order ousting the latter as governor for overspending in his campaign.
“That way, he [E.R. Ejercito] could show the Supreme Court that he respects authority,” Macalintal said.
Ejercito filed a petition with the high court to stop the Comelec from implementing its decision disqualifying him from office.
The high court, however, has not acted on the petition. Instead, it ordered Comelec to comment. The high court justices is currently on decision-writing break.
In his 22-page petition, Ejercito said the Comelec violated his rights when it issued the “haphazard” ruling.
Petitioner also said that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying him when the petition filed against him was only for a request to initiate the criminal proceedings for violation of election laws.
He argued that the poll body wrongly assumed that the case was for his disqualification contrary to the rule under Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code.
Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code requires that “a party is declared by final decision of a competent court guilty of or found by the Commission of …spent in his election campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by this Code…shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate or if he has been elected, from holding the office.”
He stressed that instead of disqualifying him from office, the Comelec should have instead filed a criminal complaint against him or first ordered a conduct of an inquiry on allegations of overspending.
He noted that what was filed by his rival in the election, Edgar “Egay” San Luis of the ruling Liberal Party, before the poll body was only for a request to initiate a criminal proceeding for violation of election laws.
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