THE Supreme Court (SC) has issued a status quo ante order (SQA), which allows disqualified Mayor Arsenio Agustin of Marcos town, Ilocos Norte to temporarily assume office.
In a resolution issued by the SC en banc, signed and promulgated by lawyer Enriqueta Vidal, clerk of Court of the 15-man tribunal, the high court granted Agustin’s prayer to stop the implementation of a Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling that cancelled his certificate of candidacy (COC) for the May 2013 elections after his residency was questioned.
The SQA, issued on July 16, allowed Agustin to serve as mayor and ordered his rival, Salvador Pillos to leave the position.
“Acting on the urgent motion to resolve prayer for injunctive relief dated July 3, 2013 filed by counsel for petitioner, the Court resolved to require the parties to observe the status quo prevailing before the issuance of the Comelec en banc resolution dated April 23, 2013,” the resolution reads.
The high court also ordered the Comelec to explain its position on the issue.
Agustin won the polls with 5,020 votes against Pillos’ 4,216. Pillos, however, have been pushing for the disqualification of Agustin.
Agustin took his oath of office on June 29 before Gov. Imee Marcos of Ilocos Norte at the provincial capitol of Laoag while Pillos took his oath the next day before a barangay captain and has since held office in the municipal hall of Marcos town.
Agustin and Pillos are both reportedly fulfilling the functions of the contended office at the same time since the election, causing confusion to the constituents of the town.
Pillos was holding office at the second floor of the municipal building, while Agustin has been staying at the accounting department of the municipal hall in the first floor.
Both of them have been attending the flag-raising ceremonies of the municipal hall but they were not allowed to speak before the employees and other elected officials of the town.
Pillos, on the other hand, argued that he is the legitimate mayor of the town after the Comelec cancelled the COC of Agustin, which was enforced by the poll body on June 18 by virtue of a writ of execution.