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SC orders Comelec, to comment on Rosal’s status quo ante order

By Rhaydz B. Barcia


LEGAZPI CITY --- As the political condition in Albay is in chaos, the Supreme Court of the Philippines en banc finally tackled the petition of ousted governor Noel Rosal directing the Commission on Elections and Joseph San Juan Armogila to comment on the former’s prayer.


In a press briefer released by the High Court on Tuesday, the Supreme Court took cognizance of the petition for certiorari (with application for the issuance of status quo ante order, temporary restraining order and or a writ of preliminary injunction) dated November 21, 2022 (petition) filed by counsel for petitioner Noel E. Rosal against the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Joseph San Juan Armogila.


In today’s en banc deliberations, the High Court acted on the petition docketed as G.R. No.264125 (Rosal v. Comelec), in the following manner:


The Court required the respondents Comelec and Armogila to file their respective comments on the following within 10 days from actual receipt of written notice.


The petition for certiorari, the application for the issuance of a status quo ante order/temporary restraining order and or writ of preliminary injunction.


In the petition, Rosal prayed for the Court to, among others, issue a status quo ante order, temporary restraining order and or writ of preliminary injunction maintaining the status quo by allowing him to continue holding office as the governor of Albay and to discharge his functions as such, and enjoining the Comelec from executing or enforcing its resolutions dated September 19, 2022 and November 18, 2022.


Albay Gov. Noel Rosal was unseated from his post on December 1, after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) enforced the writ of execution issued by the Commission on Elections.


Lawyer Arnaldo Escober Jr., DILG Bicol regional director, tried to enter the provincial capitol building but he was barred from doing so by supporters of the embattled Rosal.


The 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 officials led by Escober served the writ of execution. Vice Gov. Edcel Greco Lagman took his oath at the office of Cedric Daep, chief of Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office, at the capitol annex before the presence of lawyer Ian Macasinag, former provincial legal officer of Albay under then-governor Al Francis Bichara.


Lagman is the running mate of former Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara. Bichara lost to governor Rosal who generated 469, 481 votes, the highest votes generated in the gubernatorial post in the history of Albay.


Lagman’s post was taken over by senior board member Glenda Ong-Bongao. Bongao also took her oath shortly after Lagman did. After he was sworn in, Lagman issued a statement calling for unity, saying he assumed the post of governor when it was declared vacant by the Comelec.


He said he will be the governor of all Albayanos regardless of political differences saying his take over Rosal post was based on the operation of law.


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


“I am just an incidental beneficiary of that case. However, it should be underscored that 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,” according to him in his previous statement.


Lagman said he will look after the interest and welfare of Albay and the Albayanos by doing away with “partisan and transactional politics.”


But the ongoing political turmoil in Albay will never be the same again as bigtime politicians in the province rally against the ousted governor for political differences and enforcing drastic moves on controversial quarry operations and other programs messing the business interest of businessmen.


Rosal vital programs focus on basic services for the Albayanos’ welfare which was supported by the catholic church. The Diocese of Legazpi led by Bishop Joel Z. Baylon rally behind Rosal’s plight and programs.


Former lawmaker now Mayor Fernando Gonzalez of Ligao and Rep. Fernando Cabredo maintained their friendship and political alliance with ousted governor Noel Rosal.


Gonzalez said that he maintained friendship with Rosal but he could not help the case of the ousted governor.


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