Lawyers clash over mayoralty row

WORD WAR. Luis Marcaida III (left) and Lucilo Bayron (right). (File photo)

Lawyers from the opposing camps of Mayor Lucilo Bayron and Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida III are asserting their conflicting interpretations on who is the legitimate mayor of Puerto Princesa City.

Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, counsel for Marcaida, said Saturday the oath of office taken by Marcaida this week was valid and did not need an order from the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Topacio insisted that Bayron was ordered dismissed by the Ombudsman and Marcaida should assume the mayoralty “by operation of law”.

“Hindi na kailangan ng order ng DILG because the law itself provides na ‘yung vice mayor ang magiging mayor,” Topacio said.

Marcaida took oath as Mayor before RTC Judge Ambrosio de Luna on Thursday, after the Court of Appeals issued a decision on Bayron’s petition exonerating him from the charge of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty.

Topacio explained that when Bayron decided to withdraw his Motion for Reconsideration before the Ombudsman, he (Bayron) in effect had accepted its verdict issued in November 2016.

He claimed that the CA ruling was not “final and executory.”

“Hindi pa final and executory ang sa Court of Appeals sapagkat pwede pa ito ipanhik sa Korte Suprema. So, between the two decisons, one by the CA na hindi final and executory and another decision by the Ombudsman which according to law is executory, ang mananaig po ang sa Ombudsman,” Topacio said.

He added that according to the Ombudsman Act, the decison of the Ombudsman is executory and its implementation cannot be stopped even by a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).

On Bayron’s part, City Legal Officer Arnel Pedrosa argued that the reviewing authority of the Ombudsman’s decision is the Court of Appeals, which overturned its decision against Bayron.

“Ang decision ng Ombudsman ay na-reversed na ng CA. So, what is there to execute?” Atty. Pedrosa said.

Pedrosa added that CA decision exonerating Bayron from the alleged offense is immediately executory and there is no need for any motion.

He challenged the camp of Marcaida to elevate the matter to the Supreme Court if they see it necessary but insisted that Bayron has retained the mayoralty of Puerto Princesa based on recent CA decision.

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