LAGUNA Vice Governor Ramil Hernandez was sworn in as governor even as supporters of Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito barricaded the provincial capitol on Tuesday.
Comelec ousted Ejercito last week for spending P23.5 million in his campaign, which is beyond the P4.5 million spending limit or P3 for each of the 1,525,522 registered voters in the province.
“Mag-a-assume po ako after po na maibigay, mailabas po ang writ of execution . . . mag-a-assume na po ako ng aking opisina para po kasi ang epekto po ng pag-lapse ng five days na binigay po ng Comelec ay mawawalan na po ng bisa ng kapangyarihan si Gov. ER Ejercito,” said Hernandez in a press conference which followed his oath-taking ceremony administered by Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Elias Yusoph at the Comelec office in Manila.
Hernandez said that even if Comelec will be unable to send the writ of execution to the camp of Ejercito, he can immediately assume office.
“As far as I am concerned, I am legally recognized as new governor,” he said.
Atty. Karen Agapay, board member of the 3rd district of Laguna, will be vice governor in accordance with the law of transition.
Informed that supporters of Ejercito barricaded the provincial capitol, Hernandez said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will handle any untoward incident that may happen.
Hernandez is optimistic of a smooth transition between him and the disqualified governor, describing his relationship with Ejercito as “very professional”.
Over at Sta. Cruz, Laguna, hundreds of residents trooped to the provincial capitol early morning to show their support to Ejercito.
Clad in red shirts with the statement “Vox populi vox dei. The voice of the people is the voice of God. Justice for Gov. ER Ejercito. Respect the rule of law.”, Ejercito’s supporters gathered in front of the capitol, some of them weeping, for a program and a prayer vigil.
They also lambasted Comelec officials for disregarding the voice of the people referring to the 550,000 votes Ejercito got to win the governorship.
Seen at the front gate of the provincial capitol compound were two dump trucks and buses. The back gate had been locked.
Laguna Public Information Officer Vic Pambuan said the capitol’s gates were only secured to prevent any untoward incident.
Ejercito has not made any public appearance since Monday but sources at the capitol said he had been in his office since Friday. He was scheduled to address his supporters and deliver a press conference later Tuesday.