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SC upholds Comelec decision on Tanauan City mayoral row

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The Supreme Court upheld yesterday the ruling of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) declaring Sonia Torres-Aquino as the rightful winner in the 2004 mayoralty race in Tanauan City, Batangas.

In a four-page en banc resolution, the tribunal dismissed the petition of Alfredo Corona seeking to overturn the resolution of the Comelec’s second division unseating him and installing Aquino as Tanauan mayor.

The Supreme Court also denied Corona’s request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Comelec’s writ of execution.

Last Dec. 22, the Comelec’s second division, composed of Commissioners Rufino Javier, Mehol Sadain and Florentino Tuason Jr., promulgated a resolution favoring Aquino, with Tuason dissenting.

Corona subsequently appealed the resolution, which is still pending with the Comelec.

Aquino, however, moved for the immediate execution of the Dec. 22 resolution, prompting the second division to issue the writ of execution last Jan. 16.

Corona filed a motion for reconsideration and sought a TRO, which the Comelec granted.

Last Feb. 1, the Comelec en banc, however, was split, voting 2-2, on Corona’s motion to set aside the writ of execution, with Commissioners Resurreccion Borra and Romeo Brawner inhibiting themselves.

On Feb. 7, the Comelec en banc finally agreed to maintain the writ of execution, prompting Corona to elevate the matter to the Supreme Court.

Citing the decision in the Batul vs Bayron case, the Supreme Court said the writ of execution was allowed pending a motion for reconsideration in view of the short remaining period of the term of office and to obviate a hollow victory for the duly elected candidate as determined by either the courts or the Comelec.

"There is no reason why we should not allow the same in this case considering that the 2007 end of the term of office is fast approaching," it said.

The tribunal said under Section 4, Rule 1 of the Comelec rules of procedure, the poll body may suspend its own rules for the speedy disposition of a case.

ALFREDO CORONA

AQUINO

COMELEC

COMMISSIONERS RESURRECCION BORRA AND ROMEO BRAWNER

COMMISSIONERS RUFINO JAVIER

LAST DEC

LAST FEB

MEHOL SADAIN AND FLORENTINO TUASON JR.

ON FEB

SONIA TORRES-AQUINO

SUPREME COURT

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