Gov Ejercito hangs on

STA. CRUZ, Laguna— The Department of Interior and Local Government on Wednesday served an order on disqualified Laguna Governor Emilio Ejercito to vacate his office and turn over his functions to Vice Governor Ramil Hernandez, who has been sworn-in as the new governor.

Closed capitol gates. Supporters of Gov. Emilio Ejercito hang
streamers on the closed gates to the capitol.  Inset shows
Gov. Ejercito delivering a speech at the capitol grounds.

But Ejercito, who barricaded the gates of the provincial capitol while his supporters occupied the building to oppose his ouster, declined to accept the DILG writ of execution, citing his pending petition at the Supreme Court, according to DILG Regional Director Josephine go. 

“We met with the governor. He said he will personally remove the barricades if the Supreme Court turned down his petition,” Go said.

The writ of execution implemented a unanimous decision by the COMELEC to remove Ejercito from office for election overspending when he ran for office in the May 2013 polls. He was allowed to spend only P4.5 million, but he spent P23.5 million in the entire campaign.

Ejercito asked the Supreme Court last Friday to stop the COMELEC from implementing its decision. But the deadline for the Court to issue its order lapsed last Tuesday but ordered the COMELEC instead to comment on the petition.

Incoming Governor Ramil Hernandez, who was sworn-in at the COMELEC office in Manila last Tuesday, said he will hold office at the Firing Range Clubhouse inside the San Luis Sports Complex in Barangay Bubukal, about five kilometers away from the capitol, to avoid confrontation with Ejercito’s supporters.

Go said the DILG has sent letters to the bank, the civil service commission and other agencies doing business with the provincial government that Hernandez is now the official signatory representing the province.

Hernandez said he will welcome town mayors and provincial capitol employees, who will work for the common good of the province, and support his thrust for good governance and service.

Earlier, Karen Agapay, who topped the 2013 election for board member, took her oath of office as the new vice governor before Judge Cynthia Marino at the Regional Trial Court in Sta. Cruz.

COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes appealed on Ejercito to respect the poll body’s decision and step down because Hernandez has taken his oath as the new governor.

“It is now moot and academic that Hernandez is the new Laguna governor,” Brillantes said.

Ejercito’s claim that his objections were not given due process was not true because the complaint was heard by the First Division, where he lost and sought reconsideration, and the body en banc heard it again before it made a decision, Brillantes said.

“He (Ejercito) can go to the Supreme Court if he wants and we will abide if the Court will favor him,” Brillantes said.

DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas appealed for sobriety among supporters of Ejercito. “We do not want the situation to deteriorate. Should Ejercito choose to defy the COMELEC order, Gov. Ramil Hernandez can perform his duties and functions even outside the capitol building,” Roxas said.

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