CEBU City Councilor Erik Miguel Espina will only remain in his post until Jan. 1.
Espina resigned six months after he was appointed to the post so he could give way to James Anthony Cuenco.
The Office of the Ombudsman had dismissed Cuenco from public service last year for grave misconduct and serious dishonesty for allegedly using falsified documents in disbursing public funds. The Court of Appeals (CA), though, overturned his dismissal last October.
Espina also withdrew his candidacy as councilor for the south district under Barug PDP-Laban.
Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, who serves as Barug PDP-Laban’s standard bearer, explained that Espina is merely abiding by the agreement he had with Cuenco should the CA reverse the latter’s dismissal.
“When Councilor Erik Espina was appointed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to replace James Cuenco in the meantime, there was a gentleman’s agreement between them that in the event the Court of Appeals would reverse the ruling, Espina would vacate the position,” Labella told reporters Friday, Dec. 14.
But Labella admitted that he doesn’t know why Espina would no longer run.
“So far in his withdrawal, I do not know yet and I have to talk and to see him. What triggered and prompted him (to come up) with such a pronouncement? But it is not official yet,” the vice mayor said.
Labella said he plans to convince Espina to change his mind about not running, so the group’s slate would remain complete.
Meanwhile, Cebu City Election Officer Marchel Sarno said Espina’s name would remain in the ballot since he couldn’t be replaced with another candidate through a substitution.
Based on Comelec Board Resolution 10430, substitutions were no longer allowed after Nov. 29.
Any vote going to him will be considered a “stray vote,” Sarno added. From PAC of Superbalita Cebu / JKV