Ejercito blasts Comelec, Palace
MANILA, Philippines - Ousted Laguna Governor ER Ejercito on Tuesday defied a Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling and refused to step down from his post.
In a speech to his supporters at the provincial capitol, Ejercito said he will stay "forever" as legitimate governor of Laguna.
"Ako ay mananatiling lehitimong gobernador ng Laguna ngayon at magpakailanman," he said.
Ejercito, who was ordered by the Comelec to vacate his post after he was found guilty of campaign overspending during the 2013 midterm elections, lashed out at the poll body and Malacañang.
"Binaboy at binastos ng Comelec at Malacañang ang 550,000 votes," he said. "I want to make it clear to Malacanang and to Comelec, I will not abandon the mandate of the people of Laguna!"
He accused the Palace of allegedly being behind his ouster.
"Pilit po akong inaalis ng Malakanyang sa pwesto dahil hindi ako bahagi ng LP [Liberal Party]," Ejercito said. "Hindi na inirerespeto ng Malakanyang ang rule of law."
He insisted that he remains governor of the province despite Vice-Governor Ramil Hernandez being sworn in on Tuesday as Laguna provincial government head.
Hernandez took his oath at the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila.
Ejercito said Comelec's order was not yet final and executory and he still has a one-month period to have the ruling overturned by the Supreme Court.
He said the poll body should wait for the Supreme Court's final ruling on the matter.
May 27 was the last day given for Ejercito to secure a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court to stop the Comelec's disqualification order against him.
But the high court said there'll be no TRO for now.
Instead, it ordered the Comelec and original petitioner Egay San Luis to comment on Ejercito's plea within 10 days.
Because there was no TRO issued, there was no stopping the oath-taking of Hernandez as Laguna's new governor.
"Nag-lapse na po ang five days so technically wala nang gobernador ang Laguna so ginawa ko ito para maiwasan ang problema," Hernandez said.
"The law provides that he had to get a TRO after 5 days. Kung wala, eh 'di iba na ang governor. Walang nagmamadali it is just an implementation of the law," said Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr.
While Hernandez was being sworn in, Ejercito's supporters stayed put near the Laguna Provincial Capitol.
They called for justice for the unseated governor and insisted that he hasn't done anything wrong.
With Hernandez now governor, number one Provincial Council Board Member Karen Agapay will take his place as vice-governor. - with reports from Angelique Atienza, Pia Gutierrez, and Joel Caballero; ABS-CBN News; ANC; dzMM