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MANILA, Philippines – Harlin Abayon failed to reclaim his position as congressman of Northern Samar despite the recent decision of the Supreme Court that he is the duly-elected representative in 2013.
The Supreme Court decision reversed the ruling of the House Electoral Tribunal (HRET) that favored his rival Raul Daza.
On Monday, June 6, the last session day of the 16th Congress, Isabela 4th District Representative Giorgidi Aggabao ordered the House of Representatives sergeant-at-arms to escort Abayon out of the plenary hall.
“This is the first time that a member of the House of Representatives has been ousted although there is a decision of the Supreme Court (SC),” Abayon told reporters after exiting the session hall.
Abayon first raised his reinstitution as the congressman of Northern Samar during proclamation of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and Vice Presdient-elect Leni Robredo on May 30. He protested that he was not included in the roll call of House members during the official canvassing of vote that started May 23.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr said last week that the House leadership did not receive the SC decision that appoints Abayon back to his position. He was previously ousted due to the HRET’s ruling that favored Daza. (READ: Who’s the real congressman of Northern Samar?)
Abayon won the 2013 congressional race, but Daza filed an electoral protest against him, seeking to annul the votes in some clustered precincts due to alleged electoral fraud. HRET ousted Abayon and installed Daza, but the decision was reversed by the SC.
Belmonte earlier said that they would allow Abayon to take his oath again as long as they received a copy of the High Court’s ruling on the last session day.
Abayon doubted that the House did not have a copy of the decision since he obtained his copy on May 30.
Abayon said he would study legal remedies after what happened.
He insinuated that he was not reinstated because his opponent is a member of the ruling Liberal Party. In contrast to the delay of its action on the SC decision, the House quickly installed Daza after the HRET ruled in favor of the latter, Abayon said.
“When the HRET decided against me by annulling the election in 5 clustered precincts in two municipalities, they immediately allowed my opponent to assume office and take his oath notwithstanding my certiorari case before the SC,” Abayon said.
Abayon and Daza have served Northern Samar alternately. Daza was congressman from 1987 to 1998 and from 2007 to 2013, while Abayon held office from 1998 to 2007 and from 2013 to 2016.
Abayon ran for another term in Congress in the 2016 elections, but he lost to Daza by 90 votes. – Rappler.com