Antique vice governor takes oath as governor
ILOILO CITY, Philippines—Antique province has been thrown into political confusion after Vice Gov. Rhodora Cadiao took her oath of office as governor even as the post remains occupied by Gov. Exequiel Javier.
Cadiao was sworn into office by Aster Hiponia, chair of Atabay village, on Thursday at the old provincial capitol in the town of San Jose, Antique.
The old capitol is about 100 meters from the new provincial capitol where Javier holds office.
The regional offices of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Commission on Elections (Comelec) denied any knowledge of and involvement in the oath taking.
Anthony Nuyda, DILG regional director, and Dennis Ausan, Comelec Western Visayas chief, said they were still waiting for directives from their central offices to implement the Comelec ruling to remove Javier from his post for violation of the Omnibus Election Code.
But Cadiao said she took her oath office after Comelec Chair Sixto Brilliantes Jr. gave her the go signal in a phone conversation on Thursday noon.
“(Brillantes) called me and asked if I already took over and he was surprised that I had not. He said the DILG’s function is only ministerial and that I could take my oath of office,” Cadiao told the Inquirer.
The Comelec issued a writ of execution on Jan. 23 to implement its Jan. 12 en banc order disqualifying Javier as candidate for governor for violation of the Omnibus Election Code.
The Comelec ruled that Javier violated the election law for ordering the suspension of Mayor Mary Joyce Roquero, of Valderrama town in Antique, during the 2013 election period.
The law prohibits the suspension of any elective official during the election period without the approval of the Comelec or unless the suspension is related to graft and corruption.
Brillantes had said that the decision would become executory unless a temporary restraining order was issued by a higher court.
Javier had asked the Comelec to recall the order.
Lawyer Guillermo Alcantara, Javier’s legal counsel, said the Javier camp has yet to officially receive a copy of the writ of execution.
Alcantara said his client will follow the “appropriate legal process.”
But he described the writ of execution and its implementation as “premature.”
The Javier camp, he said, has a pending petition for review at the Supreme Court. “As far as we are concerned, there is no permanent vacancy,” he told the Inquirer.
At least 100 supporters of Javier have been camping out in front of the capitol to show their support for the governor.
Cadiao admitted there was confusion among department heads and employees of the capitol over who to follow as the province’s chief executive.
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