DILG enforces Comelec order vs. PNoy cousin

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    Non-toxic. Clark Water executives led by General Manager and COO Jesus Laigo (right) drink water straight from the  faucet in the recent media forum “Balitaan” in Clark to prove its potability. Photo by Ashley Manabat 

    ANGELES CITY – The Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) confirmed yesterday an order of the   Commission  on Elections (Comelec) to unseat Pres. Aquino’s second cousin Paniqui Mayor Migiel Rivilla while a      mayoral protest remains  pending before the polls body en banc.

    In a text message yesterday noon, Rivilla’s leading     supporter described the DILG move as a temporary setback. Rivilla earlier ordered a rush in the processing  of all requirements to ensure over 200 municipal employees their regular pays and bonuses in time for Christmas.

    He expressed hope that the release of their salaries and  benefits would not be again delayed amid the     political confusion wrought by the conflicting decisions of the Comelec on the mayoral controversy in his town.

    The DILG backed the resolution of the Comelec last Nov. 28 saying Rommel David of the Nationalist People’s Coalition  (NPC), who lost to Rivilla by over 3,000 votes in the last local elections, be allowed to stay on as mayor.  ivilla won as  independent candidate in the mayoral elections.

    The latest Nov. 28 decision of the Comelec reversed its Nov. 22  verdict declaring null and void an earlier ruling of an assisting judge of the Paniqui Regional Trial Court (RTC)  naming David the winner in a recount of ballots.  The Nov. 28 issuance of the Comelec said David could stay on as  mayor pending the resolution of his motion for reconsideration  filed before the Comelec en banc.

    Political observers   in Tarlac said conflict within the Cojuangco side of the President’s family has been fuelling the political   controversy in Paniqui.Last Nov. 24, some 300 supporters of Rivilla, emboldened by the Comelec’s Nov. 22 resolution,  stormed the Paniqui town hall where David held fort since the RTC decision in his favor.

    The police fired their guns amid the commotion which eased after  David fled the building. Over 200 municipal employees, including  casuals, did not receive their salaries during the stand-off arising from confusion on who would sign their  payroll. They were able to get their pay, however, after David was ousted. Rivilla also has a pending motion  asking the Comelec to invalidate the poll body’s latest resolution, insisting that the basis of the political controversy had  lready been irreversibly dismissed by an earlier verdict of the same RTC  under another judge. 

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