Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida III took oath as mayor of Puerto Princesa City on Thursday afternoon, with his camp insisting that the recent ruling of the Court of Appeals in Mayor Lucilo Bayron’s case “was not final and executory”.
Marcaida confirmed reports that he took oath before Judge Ambrosio de Luna of the Regional Trial Court Branch 51 at around 4 o’ clock. He declined to provide additional information, saying he will make a public announcement on Friday morning.
“Open knowledge na ‘yan,” Marcaida told Palawan News on the phone when asked to confirm reports that he presented himself before the RTC to take oath as mayor.
“For all intents and purposes, permanent vacancy na ang Mayor’s Office unless reversed by the Supreme Court. Ang pwede lang magpahinto ay ang Supreme Court,” Marcaida said.
He claimed that Bayron had already received a “notice” from the Ombudsman on its ruling and that his designation of Councilor Nancy Socrates as Acting Mayor had already expired.
“Wala tayong Mayor ngayon kasi ‘yung designation naman ni Ate Nancy (Socrates) tapos na,” he said.
An insider from Marcaida’s camp told Palawan News that they will insist that the ruling of the Ombudsman re-imposing the penalty of permanent disqualification against Bayron is still in effect.
“The CA ruling did not state it is final and executory, because it is normal that such a decision can still be appealed by the complainant – which means in effect pa rin ‘yung Ombudsman ruling,” an adviser to Marcaida, who asked not to be identified, told Palawan News.
Reacting to Marcaida’s move, City Legal Officer Arnel Pedrosa said that the oath of Marcaida has no legal basis.
He pointed out that under Section 44 of the Local Government Code, which was the basis of the oath, permanent vacancy in the executive position is not applicable in the case of Puerto Princesa because Mayor Lucilo Bayron is retained as the city’s chief executive.
Pedrosa stressed that they will not allow Marcaida to take over the position.
“Ibig sabihin ang ina-assume n’ya ngayon ay bilang full-pledged mayor na hindi po natin pwedeng payagan. Hindi natin pwedeng i-dignify, hindi pwedeng i-honor,” Pedrosa said.