MOUNTAIN PROVINCE - Two politicians took their oath as governor of Mountain Province.
Lawyer Kathy Jyll Mayaen-Luis took her oath as governor of the province on June 28. Two days after, then Vice Governor-elect Bonifacio Lacwasan also took his oath as governor of Mountain Province.
Mayaen-Luis is a daughter of former Mountain Province Governor Leonard Mayaen, who passed away on March 30. He was the sole candidate for the gubernatorial post of Mountain Province where he was running as an independent candidates.
In a press conference following Mayaen' death, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista said that there will be a special gubernatorial elections in Mountain Province.
However, the previous provincial elections supervisor of Mountain Province, lawyer Elenita Tabangin-Capuyan, accepted Mayaen-Luis' substitution, saying there was no order from the Comelec central office or regional office barring the same.
The Comelec office in Mountain Province only received the order denying Mayaen-Luis' substitution a day after the elections.
Mayaen's name remained in the ballots and received more than 60,000 votes, all counted in Luis' favor.
Thom Tawagen, a resident of Mountain Province, filed a petition before the Comelec, asking for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Mayaen-Luis' assumption of office.
In the petition, he said that under the Omnibus Election Code, "it is very clear that no substitution is allowed for any independent candidate."
He also questioned the residency of Mayaen-Luis who allegedly "never resided in Mt. Province for at least one year."
On June 29, Comelec issued a preliminary injunction preventing Mayaen-Luis from assuming the gubernatorial position. Comelec ordered Lacwasan to sit as acting governor of the province.
Mayaen-Luis filed a motion for reconsideration on July 4. According to Mayaen Luis, the division allegedly erred in granting the petition because the petitioner "has not shown a clear legal right to it since section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code does not expressly prohibit the substitution of an independent candidate."
Lawyer George Garcia, legal counsel of Mayaen-Luis, reiterated that despite the preliminary injunction, Mayaen-Luis is still the rightful governor of the province.
"Sa rules kasi ng Comelec, 'pag nag-file ng MR [Motion for Reconsideration] 'yung mismong order o 'yung decision na sinu-subject sa MR is not immediately executory," Garcia said.
According to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Comelec ruling should prosper.