BAGUIO CITY: Although the rule on succession applies in the vacancy left by Mt. Province Governor Leonard Mayaen who succumbed to cardiac arrest on Thursday afternoon, a legal twist has emerged who will be governor after the May polls.
Mayaen, unopposed for his third term, was running as an independent, but only bets with political parties can be substituted according to Comelec rules.
There was already a clarificatory petition filed at the Comelec’s law department on the legal issue, said Baguio City election supervisor John Paul Alegre Martin. “When the law department opines on it, the Comelec en banc will rule on it.”
The vacancy by Gov. Mayaen until June 30 would be easier with the succession of Vice Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan Jr. taking oath as governor, according to Mt. Province Comelec Supervisor Elenita Tabangin-Capuyan.
But Comelec’s rule on substitution which normally applies with bets with political party affiliations, is different in Mayaen’s case, Martin said.
In case the Comelec en banc allows substitution, the substitute should have the same surname as the deceased governor, Martin clarified.
The Comelec then is left to rule on three things: if a substitution is allowed, a special election will be set for the gubernatorial post or rule if it will leave the winning vice gubernatorial bet in the May 9 polls to assume as governor and the bet for Sangunniang Panlalawigan with the highest number of votes assume as vice governor.
Citing the law, Martin said no substitution can be allowed for independent bets.
Vice Gov. Lacwasan is running against fellow independent Albert Paday-os.
Granting that the Comelec en banc allows substitution, the immediate family is pushed to go on with the third bid of the late governor. However, the deceased executive’s family is reportedly not inclined on electoral posts.
“What if family members are not residents of Mt. Province?” Atty. Martin asked.
Mayaen was brought by helicopter to the Notre Dame de Chartres Hospital in Baguio City after his cardiac arrest but was declared dead on arrival around 3:30pm Thursday. He was 63. Vice Governor Lacwasan is scheduled to take his oath of office on Tuesday, April 5.