MANILA, Philippines – Henry Teves stepped down from his post as Negros Occidental governor on Tuesday, October 11, after the Supreme Court “took no action” on his bid for a temporary restraining order that would have prevented his rival, Roel Degamo, from immediately assuming power.
The SC said in a media statement on Tuesday that the High Court took up the application for a TRO that day, “and the Court took no action.”
On Tuesday, Teves told his supporters that he decided to step down to prevent further escalation of tensions between him and Degamo.
To recall, Degamo on October 13, 2021, petitioned the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to declare his almost-namesake Ruel Degamo as a nuisance candidate. On December 16, the Comelec 2nd Division granted the then-governor’s petition.
Ruel, however, appealed the case, and his name was included in the ballot for Negros Oriental governor.
As the case dragged on, Degamo sought the Supreme Court’s help. By granting Degamo’s petition for mandamus, the SC compelled the Comelec to decide on his case with Ruel.
The Comelec on October 3 annulled Teves’ proclamation as governor, transferred votes obtained by Ruel to Degamo, and proclaimed the latter as the true winner of the gubernatorial race.
In a statement on Wednesday, Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos expressed relief at the resolution of the dispute.
“We are thankful that the governorship dispute in Negros Oriental has been resolved, with Teves respecting and adhering to the Comelec ruling proclaiming Degamo as the duly elected governor of the province,” Abalos said.
Abalos recognized Department of the Interior and Local Government Central Visayas chief Leocadio Trovela, and Provincial Director Farah Gentuya, for their role in the negotiations and “guiding the smooth transition” to Degamo’s governorship.
Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo also played a part in ensuring smooth communication with Teves and Degamo, Abalos said.
“With this positive development, the delivery of local government services in the province will no longer be disrupted. We appeal to the supporters of both Degamo and Teves to set aside politics and to work in unison for the benefit and welfare of all Negrenses,” the interior secretary said. – Rappler.com