By ANTHONY GIRON
Cavite, Philippines – Imus Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 22 Judge Cesar A. Mangrobang has declared Emmanuel L. Maliksi, not Homer T. Saquilayan, as the duly elected may- or of Imus town after a recounting of the ballots in question in the May 10, 2010 automated elections.
In a 269-page decision, Mangrobang “annulled and set aside” the election and proclamation of Saquilayan as municipal mayor and “commanded (the town chief executive) to immediately cease and desist from performing office duties and functions.” The judge said that Maliksi has a winning margin of 665 votes against Saquilayan.
Lawyer Romeo A. Francisco, legal consultant of the Office of the Mayor, said that Saquilayan will appeal the court decision. “The mayor’s office has filed a notice of appeal following the decision,” he told the Manila Bulletin/TEMPO.
The court decision was released to both party counsels after it was signed by Mangrobang last Tuesday (November 15).
This developed as the Catholic Church and the police have appealed for calm and sobriety with the development on the election protest.
The officials have asked supporters of Saquilayan and Maliksi to be civil and let the rule of law takes its course to prevent untoward incident.
Officials of Cavite Police Provincial Office (PPO) said that they would monitor the political situation in Imus and stand guard to ensure peace and order in the area, particularly at the municipal hall.
“We will deploy police teams to ensure peace and order in the area. There are instructions for the chief of police of Imus,” said Senior Supt. John C. Bulalacao, PPO director.
Tension gripped the historical capital town after the court released its decision on the election protest. Saquilayan, in a flag-raising ceremony last month, said that he would not step down from office with the ouster movement and even cited that blood would shed if he would be forced to get out of the office.
The mayor is reportedly in the United States now and will return to the country on Monday (Nov. 21), it was learned. An engineer by profession, Saquilayan is a cousin of Maliksi.
Maliksi is a son of former Cavite Governor Erineo “Ayong“ Saquilayan Maliksi, now a congressman representing Imus district. He won over Saquilayan in the 2007 elections but lost to him in 2010.
Saquilayan, a Nacionalista Party candidate, reportedly won by some 8,499 against Maliksi, a Liberal Party bet, in the last election.
Mangrobang reviewed the ballots in question after Maliksi filed the protest.
In his decision, Mangrobang said that he found the election protest “meritorious“ and declared Maliksi as duly-elected mayor “after having obtained the highest number of legal votes of 41,088 as against Saquilayan’s 40,423 votes or a winning margin of 665 votes in favor of the former.“
In a letter sent to muncipal department heads and other concerned officials, Maliksi said he would file a Writ of Execution Pending Appeal “which will pave the way for my immediate assumption as municipal mayor of Imus.“