Diamante granted TRO
Incumbent Tuburan Mayor Democrito Diamante will continue to occupy his position after being granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) 2nd Division.
But the legal battle between him and his political rival Daphne Lagon, who protested his victory, is still far from over.
In a press conference yesterday, Diamante announced that the Comelec 2nd Division granted his petition for a TRO a month after a court-supervised manual recount declared Lagon as the “rightful winner” of the mayoralty race in Tuburan town during the May 2016 National Elections.
When the decision was released last October 10, Lagon was not permitted to officially take the helm of the municipal government of Tuburan, a second-class municipality located 83 kilometers northeast of Cebu City.
Diamante’s TRO, issued on November 17, is valid for 60 days. The Comelec also directed Lagon to comment on the petition within 10 days from receipt of the decision.
“(Comelec 2nd Division) hereby issues a TRO, effective immediately, and for a period of 60 days, enjoining public respondent Hon. Hermes Montero, Presiding Judge, Branch 59, Regional Trial Court (of Toledo City), and all persons under his direct supervision, to cease and desist from enforcing/implementing or continuing to enforce and implement the Order dated October 25, 2017,” the Comelec order signed by Commissioners Al Parreño, Arthur Lim and Sheriff Abas read.
The Comelec officials were referring to the order granting the Motion for Execution Pending Appeal issued by Montero last October 25, which gave Diamante 20 days to secure a TRO; otherwise, a Writ of Execution for Lagon to formally assume the mayorship of Tuburan would be issued.
On the other hand, Comelec 2nd Division scheduled the hearing of the case on December 12.
Diamante’s legal counsel, lawyer Edgar Gica, revealed that the Comelec is now presiding over the case.
“Since (the substance) of the case is about elections, the Comelec has jurisdiction to tackle and preside over the hearing this December 12,” Gica said.
“This is just temporary, but we’re grateful to have the TRO. Because this means that the people’s choice to elect me as their mayor was restored. If you put someone whom the majority in Tuburan did not elect as mayor, then you have invalidated the people’s voice,” said Diamante.
He said he has performed as the local chief executive of Tuburan even when the court proclaimed Lagon as the winner.
Diamante also assured that the friction between him and Lagon will not interrupt services and transactions, both current and future, with the municipal government of Tuburan.
“No, it will not affect any transactions or official business of our local government. We will assure that even if this battle still has a long way to go,” he stated.
For her part, Lagon told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview that she will file her Motion for Reconsideration (MR) before the Comelec 2nd Division possibly today.
“We will file our MR as soon as possible, hopefully today. Me and my supporters, we felt sad but we don’t lose hope. His (Diamante) TRO is only temporary, and this is far from over,” said Lagon.
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