DILG serves order installing new Laguna governor
MANILA, Philippines – The writ of execution installing new Laguna governor Ramil Hernandez was served on Wednesday, May 28, at the provincial capitol in Sta Cruz town.
Meanwhile, ousted governor Emilio Ramon "ER" Ejercito and his supporters remained at the capitol to protest his disqualification and removal from office.
Ejercito calmly received the writ of execution from Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Region IV-A director Josefina Castilla-Go in the governor's office, reports DZMM.
A copy of the writ was then posted at the door of the governor's office.
Castilla-Go said that Ejercito can stay in the governor's office, but cannot function as the governor of Laguna, DZMM reports.
In a media bulletin, DILG Secretary Mar Roxas assured Laguna residents that the provincial government will continue to provide services despite the situation at the capitol.
"Should Ejercito choose to defy the Comelec order, Governor Hernandez can perform his duties and functions even outside the capitol building," said Roxas.
The writ of execution was submitted to the DILG by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which disqualified Ejercito due to campaign overspending during the 2013 midterm elections.
Ejercito has a pending appeal to nullify Comelec's decision at the Supreme Court (SC).
The High Court may still issue a status quo ante order, which would void Comelec's writ of execution and reinstate Ejercito as governor, said Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes in an interview with the media on Tuesday.
Ex-vice governor Hernandez was sworn in as governor on Tuesday, after Comelec's 5-day deadline for Ejercito to secure a temporary restraining order (TRO) from SC lapsed.
'I'm still governor'
In a speech before his supporters at the provincial capitol on Tuesday night, Ejercito said he's not leaving his post and accused Malacañang of having a hand in his ouster.
Ejercito is a nephew of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who is among the leaders of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Malacañang denied the accusation. "The acts that were outlined by the Comelec decisions clearly showed the basis for that disqualification. We certainly did not have a role in whatever happened to Governor Ejercito," said presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda in a press briefing on Wednesday.
On May 21, Comelec disqualified Ejercito after discovering that he spent over P23 million during his election campaign.
The campaign spending limit for provincial candidates in Laguna was P4.5 million, or P3 for each of the 1.5 million registered voters in the province.
His opponent for the gubernatorial post in 2013, former Laguna congressman Edgar San Luis, filed the disqualification case.
Ejercito filed a petition for certiorari at the SC on May 23, praying for the nullification of Comelec's decision to disqualify him.
Ejercito argued that he was disqualified "for an act done by a third party [which] simply exercised its right to free expression."
The SC has instructed Comelec and San Luis to respond to Ejercito's appeal. – Rappler.com