Rival of Paniqui mayor ‘defying’ Comelec order

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    ANGELES CITY- The rivalof presidential cousin Paniqui, Tarlac Mayor Miguel Rivilla has continued to defy an en banc order of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ousting him from his brief mayoral stint.

    Rommel David of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) has issued a memoranda to the department heads of Paniqui insisting the Comelec order was “defective” and had “no force and effect.” David, however, left the Paniqui town hall last month after the Comelec en banc decision was served him last March 13.

    The Comelec said its decision favoring Rivilla was “final and executory” and ordered David to “cease and desist from performing the duties and functions of mayor and to vacate the said office”.

    David was installed mayor last year after a Regional Trial Court judge Agapito Loagan reversed two earlier rulings of another judge in the same court scrapping his electoral protest against Rivilla in the 2013 mayoral polls.

    This was what the Comelec en banc scrapped with finality last month.

    Amid the en banc verdict of the Comelec, David issued last March 26 a memo to Paniqui police chief Supt. Salvador Destura saying “I am still the legitimate and recognized mayor of Paniqui and all transactions for and in behalf of Paniqui should still be approved by me”.

    David also issued more memos on the same day addressed to municipal human resources officer Zoilo Briones, municipal accountant Alelyn Paragas, and muncipal treasurer Ruby Fronda. His memo instructed the three to “to prepare all the necessary documents, including disbursement of funds for the salaries and wages of all officials and employees.”

    “Refusal to perform the functions of your office, or your position constitute to the dereliction (sic) of your duties punishable under the Revised Penal Code and other pertinent laws, rules and regulations,” also said David’s memo.

    In a text message Rivilla said, “David continues to defy the Comelec and the Department of Interior and Local Government which have clearly recognized me as the legitimate and true mayor of Paniqui.”

    Rivilla also said, “we are consulting our lawyers and will file the appropriate charges (against David and others)”.

    Rivilla had announced plans to run for Congress in Tarlac’s first district, where his uncle Rep. Henry Cojuangco, now on his last term, plans to field his son Tarlac Vice Gov. Kit Cojuangco as his replacement.

    Earlier, Rivilla openly named his uncle Henry as behind the electoral case against him.

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