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Rosal unseated as DILG enforces writ of execution

By Rhaydz B. Barcia

Legazpi City --- Governor Noel Rosal of Albay was unseated from his post after the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) enforced the writ of execution issued by the Commission on Elections on Thursday afternoon.

Atty. Arnaldo E. Escober, Jr., DILG Bicol regional director tried to enter the provincial capitol building but he was barred from entering the building by the supporters of the embattled governor.

Rosal supporters formed a human barricade at the main building of the provincial capitol to prevent the entry of DILG officials.

Rosal was in Manila when the DILG officials led by Escober served the writ of execution. The DILG officials were booed by supporters of Rosal while reading the writ of execution.

Vice Gov. Edcel Greco “Grex” Lagman takes his oath as the new governor of Albay before Lawyer Ian Macasinag former provincial legal officer of Albay during the incumbency of former governor Al Francis Bichara. Lagman post was succeeded by senior board member Glenda Ong-Bongao, the new vice governor of Albay following the law of succession. Rhaydz B. Barcia

Vice Gov. Edcel Greco Lagman took his oath at the office of Cedric Daep, chief of Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (Apsemo), capitol annex before the presence of Lawyer Ian Macasinag, former provincial legal officer of Albay under the reign of former governor Al Francis Bichara.

Governor Lagman post was succeeded by senior board member Glenda Ong-Bongao. Bongao also took his oath shortly after governor Edcel Greco Lagman.

Shortly after Lagman was sworn in he issued a statement calling for unity saying he took over the gubernatorial post after it was declared vacant by the Comelec.

Lagman said that he will be the governor of all Albayanos irrespective of political differences.

“It is indeed providential that I have succeeded by operation of law to be the governor of Albay after the Comelec en banc disqualified with finality Gov. Noel Rosal in a case of which I was not a party,” he said.

“I am just an incidental beneficiary of that case. However, it should be underscored when I won as Vice Governor, with an overwhelming 463,879 votes. The voters were aware that under the law I could succeed as governor. Verily, my mandate included that possibility which is now a reality. As your new governor, I pledge to the people of Albay the following steadfast commitments,” he said.

Lagman said that he will look after the interest and welfare of Albay and the Albayanos saying “it will be given an unqualified premium over partisan and transactional politics.

He said that under his new leadership, the province will be supportive of and cooperative with the national administration’s agenda and policies particularly for speedy economic recovery, enhanced local government autonomy, pro-people socio and economic reforms, rational land use allocation, utilization, development and management, achievement of food security, essential electoral reforms and genuine people empowerment.

Education is a top priority. We will expand provincial scholarship programs to make it more inclusive and accessible to the underprivileged and marginalized,” he said.

He also vowed an adequate power supply will be assured and power rates will be rationalized. Measures that would reinforce energy efficiency and conservation will also be put in place.

“Boosting the local tourism industry and developing existing and new tourist destinations will be given preferential attention. The new leadership will spur growth opportunities by expanding markets extensively and allowing businesses and start-ups to flourish while protecting the environment. We will generate local and international investments and promote the province as an investment destination in the Philippines,” he said.

The religiosity of Albayanos will be respected even as participation in political discourse from all religious denominations will be protected, Lagman said.

The new administration, according to Lagman, will encourage and promote collaboration. “We aim to unite the government and the private sectors. We strive to be strengthened democratic institutions and consultative bodies so that no sector will be left behind. The new administration will endeavor to be a strong ally of the Albayano youth,” Lagman said.

“We recognize the local government’s responsibility to enable the youth to fulfill their vital role in nation-building by implementing youth development programs and projects such as the search for youth ambassadors. The Lagman brand of principled governance, accountability to the people, rejecting political vendettas and integrity IN public service will be the hallmark of my administration,” Lagman.

Rosal fails to secure TRO

Rosal failed on Tuesday in his bid to secure a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) from the Supreme Court that would stall the writ of execution issued by the Commission on Election (Comelec) ordering him to vacate his post after the promulgation of its en banc decision on November 19 affirming in toto its 1st Division Order on September 19 that disqualified him as Albay governor.

A TRO is believed to be the only way to tone down the boiling political alert level status in Albay, with a threat of massive protests expected to arise should Rosal get evicted as governor.

Rosal’s followers claimed they couldn’t simply honor the disqualification order from the Comelec on the issue that the former Legazpi mayor released public funds for the senior citizens and tricycle drivers during the 45-day election ban earlier this year. A similar case that also cost the disqualification order against Rosal’s wife, Legazpi City elected Mayor Geraldine Rosal, was issued by the Comelec 2nd Division barely two weeks after the September 19-disqualification order for the governor by the Comelec 1st Division.

It was a certain Joseph Almogila, a defeated Legazpi City councilor bet, who charged the couple with vote-buying during the election period. Almogila’s vote-buying charge, however, was discarded by the Comelec in favor of a grievous offense indicting the couple instead for violation of the Omnibus Election Code when they disbursed charity funds during the election ban.

Last Nov.19, the Comelec en banc decision was released, and was immediately followed by a writ of execution ordering Rosal to vacate his post in favour of his running tandem Vice Gov. Edcel Greco Lagman.

On Friday last week (Nov. 25), Rosal filed an appeal with the Supreme Court for a TRO to stall the writ of execution, even as more than 300 uniformed policemen were deployed by the police provincial command to barricade the capitol following reports that Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos would serve the writ of execution for Rosal’s eviction at the same time install Vice Gov. Lagman as governor. It turned out the report was fake news.

Asked by the media of the sudden police barricade of the capitol, police provincial commander Col. Fernando Cunanan could only say that it was a “normal” operation.

According to the Comelec, the grant of a TRO from the Supreme Court is the only way to stall its writ of execution against Gov. Rosal. It added that pending the release of a TRO, Rosal should vacate his post and give way for Vice Gov. Lagman to assume the governorship of Albay.

On Monday afternoon, Rosal arrived from Manila and proceeded to the capitol with a crowd of followers and capitol personnel awaiting the result of his Supreme Court petition. Rosal said nothing about the TRO, explaining that the next day (Tuesday), the Supreme Court would rule on his appeal.

Political observers said that absent a TRO, the boiling political alert level status in Albay may take time to calm down as Rosal’s followers find it hard to settle down, citing the magnitude of close to 500,000 margin of votes Rosal garnered against his formidable rival, re-electionist Gov. Al Francis Bichara.

Without a TRO, political observers also believe that the Comelec en banc may also affirm the Comelec 2nd Division disqualification order for Mayor Geraldine Rosal. Mrs. Rosal’s disqualification order came out barely two weeks after the Comelec 1st Division disqualified Governor Rosal on September 19. Two months later on November 19, the Comelec en banc issued its promulgation affirming in toto the Comelec 1st Division order disqualifying Rosal as governor-elect.

A former Legazpi City councilor Diego Obido said it was the first time an election for governor in Albay, which is marred by heavy vote-buying, had delivered close to 500,000 margin of votes for Rosal, against a formidable sitting governor. The irony is that even Rosal’s wife, Geraldine, also won as Legazpi City mayor. “I can’t imagine the pain being felt by the Albayanos who gave the Rosal couple a landslide victory and whose record of good governance as city mayor of Legazpi cannot be contested,” Obido opined.

Even the church – the Diocese of Legazpi, have openly spoken its support for the victory of the Rosal couple, whose impressive performance as public servants catapulted the former Legazpi City to be the governor that can never be conquered by lies.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the absence of a TRO, would have the DILG this Thursday (Dec. 1), to serve the eviction order for Rosal and have Lagman installed as the new Albay governor. (Man T. Ugalde)


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