Court, not DILG, has last word on Tuguegarao mayor – law expert
CAGAYAN, Philippines – There is no need for any order other than of the Court of the Appeals (CA) to reinstate dismissed Tuguegarao mayor Jefferson Soriano, a law expert said.
Constitutionalist and San Beda Graduate School of Law dean Fr. Ranhilio Aquino said the court saying Soriano should be “immediately reinstated” as the elected mayor, means the dispute was already resolved and no further proceedings should be awaited.
Soriano on Monday, April 20, went to the City Hall claiming he is back as mayor citing a CA decision. His oath of office was administered by Cagayan Governor Alvaro Antonio.
“The moment the decision is promulgated, the Court has resolved a dispute. A party aggrieved by the decision favorable to the reinstatement may go up on certiorari, but unless the higher court issues a TRO (temporary restraining order) against the judgment of reinstatement, the official is reinstated by virtue of the Court order,” Aquino said.
He added that any other interpretation would give the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary the power to block a court order by refusing to enforce it.
Complainant Maila Ting Que earlier claimed that it needs a DILG order to “legally” reinstate Soriano back to his office.
Atty. Engelbert Caronan, a political ally of Que who assumed office after Soriano’s dismissal, refused to step down. His office also claimed there should be a DILG order.
Soriano was dismissed September 2014 for grave misconduct for issuing a special permit to a businesswoman and closing some streets for a city fiesta without prior approval of the city council.
‘Respect the rule of law’
In an exclusive interview on Friday, April 24, Soriano said Caronan should respect the decision of the appellate court and said they better should work now.
He also seconded the claim of Fr. Aquino.
“Kahit sino naman ang magbasa sa desisyon ng korte, very plain and simple, di naman sinabi na hintayin ang order ng DILG. Basta sinabi ng korte ng, i-reinstate ako, agad-agad yun,” Soriano said,
(Whoever reads the decision of the court, it’s very plain and simple. We do not need any DILG order to be reinstated.)
The 18-page decision, who was penned by Associate Justice Nina Antonio-Valenzuela on April 16, downgraded the penalty of Soriano from dismissal to 3-month suspension only. Soriano has been dismissed for over 7 months now.
“Considering that the period of petitioner Soriano’s removal from office has exceeded three months, we order petitioner Soriano IMMEDIATELY REINSTATED,” the order wrote.
‘Back to work’
Soriano said he started functioning and signing documents as the city mayor.
His office is located at 6th floor of the city hall since the mayor’s office at the 3rd floor is not yet vacated by Caronan.
“I am giving Caronan until Monday to leave the office, or else we will be forced to be in that area,” Soriano said.
Soriano claimed that Caronan has not signed or act on any communications he intended to work for as mayor since Monday.
“Ang hamon ko sa kanya. Yung mga pumupunta sa kanilang communication, aksyunan niya,” Soriano said.
(Here’s a challenge to him: Act on the communications/letters his office is receiving.)
Soriano also revealed he will “definitely” run for the same position in the 2016 election. – Rappler.com