BENHUR Salimbangon asked congressional rival Celestino “Tining” Martinez III to be careful about the statements he issues to the public.
“If there is an entry of judgment issued by the Supreme Court (SC) and a writ of execution issued by the House of Representatives Election Tribunal (HRET), then I will not question anymore,” said Salimbangon, referring to Martinez’s grounds for taking over as congressman of Cebu Province’s fourth district.
He questioned the announcement of Martinez and Liberal Party national president Florencio “Butch” Abad that the former Bogo mayor will take oath before House Speaker Prospero Nograles on Monday.
“I doubt very much that he has an entry of judgment. If he does, let him produce it,” Salimbangon told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday. “I would rather wait than issue unnecessary statements.”
Martinez could not be reached for comment yesterday.
But in an interview last Thursday, he said he received an assurance from Nograles, in front of other Liberal Party congressmen, that he can take oath on Monday.
This will be the second Monday that Martinez expects to take oath.
Last Monday, Martinez was supposed to take oath, but because he was not yet in the list of members of the House of Representatives, the Salimbangon camp said they only saw him at the coffee lounge of the Batasang Pambansa.
That same week, he took his oath of office before Nograles and provided a picture. But it created more confusion because Nograles later revealed that Martinez only took his oath as a member of the majority.
Earlier, though, Martinez also took oath before SC Senior Justice Antonio Carpio. But House rules dictate that Martinez should take his oath at the plenary hall before Speaker Nograles.
Salimbangon is banking on a move by the Office of the Solicitor-General, representing the HRET. It asked the Supreme Court (SC) to hold in abeyance the order declaring Martinez the winner in the 2007 congressional elections.
It was the HRET decision favoring Salimbangon that the SC set aside.
Salimbangon urged Martinez to show proof of the entry of judgment or writ of execution. But he clarified he is not calling Martinez a liar: “He might have it, but he should show it.”
If there was indeed an entry of judgment and a writ of execution, Salimbangon said he would have been furnished a copy.
“I don’t think there will be an entry of judgment when the SC has yet to resolve the motion of the Office of the Solicitor General,” said Salim-bangon.
There are three sessions left in Congress before it adjourns for the election campaign.
Martinez and Salimba-ngon will face off for the second time in the congressional elections.