RTC judge affirms Escario’s election as Bantayan mayor
IAN Christopher Escario will continue to sit as mayor of Bantayan town in north Cebu, as the petition for quo warranto filed against him was dismissed.
Presiding Judge Antonio Marigomen of the Regional Trial Court Bogo City Branch 61 issued an order dismissing the petition on January 22, 2018.
Escario prayed for the dismissal of the quo warranto petition initiated by Vice Mayor Antonio Montemar.
On May 2017, Escario assumed as mayor of Bantayan after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ordered the disqualification of elected Mayor Arthur Despi over a technicality in his certificate of nomination and acceptance (Cona).
The disqualification resulted to the proclamation of Escario as winner of the May 2016 election, with 12,423 votes.
Despi, who topped the mayoralty race with 16,494 votes, did not appeal the Comelec’s decision.
Montemar, who filed the dismissed petition, alleged that he has the clear and unmistakable right, being the elected vice mayor, to be the mayor of Bantayan after Despi was disqualified.
A petition for quo warranto is a legal action requiring an official to show by what warrant an office is exercised.
The court order said that Escario cannot be subjected to a quo warranto proceeding, as there was no vacancy in the mayoralty post.
The order further emphasized that the duly elected mayor of Bantayan is Escario, and the Comelec’s disqualification of Despi resulted to the cancellation of his Certificate of Candidacy (COC).
The cancellation of the COC voided Despi’s candidacy from the beginning.
“The fact that the COMELEC cancelled the Certificate of Candidacy of Arthur Despi shows that his Certificate of Candidacy has been void from the beginning and thus, he was never a candidate in the first place,” the court order stated.
Sought for comment, Escario said he is thankful for the release of the court order and assured that he will concentrate on his work as mayor. He also called for unity among Bantayanons.
“It is time to heal wounds. Without unity, there won’t be progress in Bantayan,” Escario said.
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