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Comelec: Dy, Pagdanganan can't assume posts yet

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday refused to execute orders installing former Bulacan Gov. Roberto Pagdanganan and former Isabela Gov. Benjamin Dy as governors of the two provinces.

In separate decisions, the Comelec en banc denied the “motions for execution” filed by Pagdanganan and Dy whom it declared as the duly elected governors of Bulacan and Isabela, respectively, in November and December 2009.

The Comelec had directed proclaimed Bulacan Gov. Joselito Mendoza and Isabela Gov. Ma. Gracia Cielo Padaca to vacate the posts, but the two filed their respective motions for reconsideration instead.

The ruling on Isabela, penned by Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal, showed that “execution pending appeal is an extraordinary remedy, being more of the exception rather than the rule.”

“This rule is strictly construed against the movant (Dy) because courts look with disfavor upon any attempt to execute a judgment which has not acquired finality. Such execution affects the rights of the parties which are yet to be ascertained on appeal,” he said.

Larrazabal said the Comelec has decided to maintain “status quo” as it is “well aware that what is involved herein is the will of the electorate of the province of Isabela.”

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Mendoza and Padaca were declared winners in the 2007 polls but Pagdanganan and Dy claimed to have been cheated of victory and filed electoral protests with the Comelec.

This led to the revisions of votes from the two provinces by the Comelec Second Division.

After this, the Second Division ruled that Pagdanganan and Dy won against Mendoza and Padaca by a vote margin of 4,321 and 17,007, respectively.  – Sheila Crisostomo

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