Police prepare for possible clash; augmentation troops requested

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita, Nestle L. Semilla May 07,2017 - 10:44 PM
DESPI

DESPI

BANTAYAN MAYORAL CONFLICT

As the conflict between the two contending mayoral rivals is expected to escalate, the police are on heightened alert should any trouble arise.

Bantayan Mayor Arthur Despi will not step down despite a Supreme Court ruling upholding a resolution by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) canceling his Certificate of Candidacy (COC).

Despi said he will continue to report and serve as mayor.

“Normal ra, (I will) just continue to function as mayor of Bantayan and let matters unfold then (I will) respond accordingly,” he said in a phone interview yesterday.

The Comelec First Division rendered a resolution last May 7 canceling Despi’s COC during last year’s election due to a technicality in his Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (Cona).

On the other hand, Despi’s rival Ian Escario is already preparing to take his oath.

In a phone interview last night, Escario said he will fly to Manila first thing today and will immediately go to the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila, for his proclamation.

Escario said he is in no hurry to take over the municipal hall of Bantayan.

“Palagota lang na siya. Dili man siya mo-respetar sa balaod sa Pilipinas. Bahala siya ug dili siya monaog. Wala man pud ko magdali. Ang importante, maproklamar ta,” he said.

(Let him [Despi] get mad. He does not respect the law of the country. It’s up to him if he will refuse to step down. I am not in a hurry, anyway. What’s important is that I will be proclaimed.)

Despi, meanwhile, filed a petition for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) with the Supreme Court asking it to enjoin the Comelec from proclaiming Escario as Bantayan mayor at 10 a.m. today.

The SC has issued a Writ of Execution upholding the Comelec’s decision disqualifying Despi, thus making it final and executory.

Mayor Ian Christopher G. Escario and Bantayan social welfare officer Magdalena Derecho explain their concerns on the emergency shelter assistance for supertyphoon Yolanda victims. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

Mayor Ian Christopher G. Escario and Bantayan social welfare officer Magdalena Derecho explain their concerns on the emergency shelter assistance for supertyphoon Yolanda victims. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

Just waiting

Escario said he does not want any trouble or commotion to happen in Bantayan and asked his supporters to remain calm.

After his proclamation, Escario said he will wait for the concerned government agencies to implement the SC order and get Despi out of the municipal hall.

He said the Comelec, the police and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) are the ones tasked to implement the order that will force Despi to step down and for him to take over.

Escario said he does not need to be at the municipal hall immediately as he can still function as mayor even outside.

Alert

The police in Bantayan, however, are on alert should there be protest rallies.

Bantayan Police Station chief Chief Insp. Stephen Amamag-id said they have asked for augmentation troops from the Cebu Provincial Police Office.

“Ready na atong kapulisan in case dunay mag-rally. So far (this Sunday) wala pa tay na-monitor nga nagtapok-tapok,” Amamag-id said.

(We are ready in case there will be a rally. So far, this Sunday, we haven’t monitored any supporters gathering.)

Bantayan town only has around 20 personnel including nonuniformed employees.

“Nanawag nako ni PD (Provincial Director Senior Supt. Eric Noble) bahin sa situation diri. Nag-request na ko sa iyaha for augmentation,” Amamag-id added.

(I already called PD regarding the situation here in Bantayan. And I requested for augmentation.)

Audit

Escario said first in his agenda after his proclamation is to conduct an audit of the municipal hall.

“Ipa-legal nato ni, naa man ko’y mga abogado. Ipa-audit nato na’g maayo. Naay niingon nako nga basin ug di pa siya monaog kay basin naa pa siya gitagoan nga wa na-settle.

Nganong di man ka monaog kung wa kay gibuhat nga dili maayo? Mao nay pangutana. Mahibaw-an ra na tanan,” Escario said.

(We will do it the legal way. We will conduct an audit. I heard that maybe the reason why he (Despi) does not want to step down is he has something to hide which has not yet been settled.)

‘Betrayal’

Before he lost to Despi during last year’s election, Escario was mayor from 2010 to 2016.

Escario said Despi used to be one of his consultants who “betrayed” him and ran against him three days before the filing of COCs.

In October 2015, Jose Caracena filed his COC as the official mayoral candidate of political party Abag-PROMDI, but he withdrew his COC later on and named Despi as his substitute. Despi submitted his COC and Cona from Abag-PROMDI.

Escario filed a petition before the Comelec in December 2015 asking them to deny Despi’s COC.

This led to the Comelec First Division’s resolution that there was no valid substitution between Caracena and Despi as the latter was not nominated by Abag-PROMDI as their substitute candidate. The party’s secretary general Oscar Canton denied they nominated Despi as the party’s candidate.

In June last year, Despi filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the Comelec.

He elevated it to the SC in a Petition for Certiorari but was also denied.

Substitute

But Despi, in a statement, insisted that “Chris Escario cannot be proclaimed mayor because the disqualification is not under Section 78 in relation to Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code on material representation but under Section 77 on invalid substitution.”

He said Comelec should respect the votes of the people and that instead of Escario, it should be the current vice mayor who should take over.

“Don’t let an election user usurp the position,” Despi said.

Despi won with 17,133 votes in the last elections against Escario’s 12,423 votes.

He also stood ground that his nomination from Abag-PROMDI was authentic, but the party chose to turn its back against him.

“I was disqualified as a substitute candidate because Abag-PROMDI of which I have been a municipal coordinator in past elections, chose to disown me for reasons only their leaders know. They accused me of forging a signature on the CONA. With handwriting excerpts I proved this was not true,” Despi said in his statement.

For his part, Escario said he will soon call a press conference to show their own set of documents regarding the issue.

Subscribe to our regional newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: AUGMENTATION, clash, police, possible, Prepare, requested, troops

Subscribe to our regional newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.