Disqualified Laguna Gov. Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito has been allowed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to stay in his post until Tuesday next week but only if he could secure a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Supreme Court (SC) that would stop his ouster.
“If there is no TRO by Monday, then the SC will meet the next day [Tuesday], we can still wait for it. Meaning, if [he secures]a TRO by Tuesday, it’s acceptable . . . he won’t be removed from office,” Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said on Friday.
The Comelec is not “unreasonable,” he added.
In a recent ruling, it disqualified Ejercito for overspending on his political advertisements during the 2013 polls.
Malacañang also on Friday backed the ruling, saying the poll body has solid proof to support its move.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., at the same time, belied allegations that the administration was behind efforts to crush the opposition, particularly the family of former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
“It has concrete basis. The Comelec is implementing law,” he said.
Earlier, Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito denounced what he called as a concerted move to weaken the political opposition by targeting their clan.
“I hope there won’t be any concerted effort to wipe out the opposition,” the lawmaker told reporters on Wednesday.
Besides the Laguna governor, also in a quandary are Estrada and his senator-son, Jinggoy, who is among those charged with plunder involving alleged misuse of pork barrel funds.
The elder Estrada, meanwhile, himself faces a separate disqualification case before the Supreme Court.
The poll body said the Laguna governor spent P23.5 million, exceeding the legally allowable P4.5 million.
It had given him five days to appeal and seek a TRO before his disqualification becomes final and executory.
According to Brillantes, the five-day deadline given to Ejercito within which to file the MR and secure a TRO is slated to end on Monday.
“By Wednesday or Thursday, [if there is no TRO], we will already have the decision sent to the Department of Interior and Local Government for implementation,” he said.
Upon Ejercito’s removal, the law of succession will apply, which means Vice Gov. Ramil Hernandez of the Nacionalista Party will be taking over as Laguna governor.
In a 24-page petition for certiorari filed also on Friday, the governor asked the High Court to reverse the ruling of the Comelec en banc that sacked him from office.
In particular, he questioned the en banc resolution dated May 21, 2014 that affirmed a ruling by the Comelec’s First Division on a complaint filed by his opponent, Edgar San Luis.
Ejercito said the poll body committed grave abuse of discretion for violating his right to due process.
He asked the SC to immediately issue a TRO, a status quo ante order and/or writ of preliminary injunction in order to halt the Comelec ruling.
The High Court is on a decision-writing break and will resume sessions on June 3.
Only Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno may act on Ejercito’s plea for TRO upon the recommendation of the ponente in charge.
Ejercito said the complaint filed by San Luis was erroneous since what was filed was one on electoral spending, not disqualification from office.