ISABELA, Negros Occidental -- Dr. Irene Montilla took her oath as mayor of Isabela town in Negros Occidental Sunday afternoon together with two other newly elected Sangguniang Bayan members amid the ongoing recount in court filed by former mayor Joselito Malabor, who lost in the mayoral race by 48 votes.
According to Montilla, the law mandates all winning candidates in the May 13 polls proclaimed by the Commission on Elections to assume office on June 30 despite the ongoing recount.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) sent its troops along with members of the Philippine Army, to secure the oath-taking of Montilla following reports that supporters of Malabor may stage a rally and refuse to vacate the municipal hall while the recount is still ongoing.
However, the department heads of the local government have already turned over to the team of Montilla the necessary documents for the transition of leadership.
Montilla said she is willing to respect whatever the outcome of the recount will be but is inclined to take all legal recourses available to uphold her victory.
Montilla is the wife of the late Enrique Montilla who was elected mayor in 2016 but was not able to finish his term after he became ill.