The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to grant a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the disqualification of Antique Governor Exequiel Javier, in effect giving the Commission on Elections (Comelec) the go-signal to implement its ruling unseating the official.
The Comelec en banc earlier voted to remove the governor after he suspended Valderrama town Mayor Mary Joyce Roquero for 30 days within the 2013 campaign and election period, which is a violation of the Omnibus Election Code.
In ruling on the case, the 15-man tribunal only ordered the Comelec to file its comment within 10 days. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes earlier said that the disqualification order will take effect five days after receipt of notice. He also said that only a TRO from the Supreme Court can halt its implementation.
The disqualification case stemmed from the complaint filed by former Lakas-CMD secretary general and UNA candidate Raymundo Roquero and Cornelio Aldon, also of the Lakas-CMD.
They alleged that Javier suspended Mayor Roquero to coerce, intimidate or influence her into supporting him or to punish her for opposing him in the 2013 local elections. Both Javier and Mayor Roquero used to be allies but separated ways after failing to reconcile their political differences.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes and Commissioners Elias Yusoph, Arthur Lim, and Lucenito Tagle voted for the disqualification while Commissioners Luie Guia and Christian Lim dissented. Commissioner Al Parreno was on official business and was not able to cast his vote. The resolution stated that the majority concurred with the original resolution signed by Yusoph, where Javier was found to have violated election laws when he suspended Roquero on Jan. 23, 2013 (well within the Jan. 13 to June 12 election period).
The suspension of the mayor reportedly stemmed from her refusal to implement the town’s zoning ordinance.