ENGINEER Augusto Corro took oath at 8:14 last night to assume the post as mayor of Daanbantayan town, northern Cebu.
He took his oath since a writ of execution was issued by Bogo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 61 Clerk of Court Rey D. Caayon through the order of Judge Antonio Marigomen.
Cebu City RTC Judge Geral-dine Faith Econg administered Corro’s oath of office in her sala.
“It is valid because there is a writ of execution. Right or wrong, it is not for me to decide,” said Econg before administering the oath, owing to the controversy surrounding the issuance of the writ.
Corro, who was in Daanban-tayan in the afternoon, said he rushed to Cebu City upon hearing of the issuance of the writ.
He was in a pair of jeans, a striped polo shirt and a pair of sneakers. Econg joked that the mayor was not in barong.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) 7 received the writ of execution from the court sheriff of RTC Bogo at 11:15 a.m. yesterday.
“You are hereby commanded to cause the execution of the joint orders of this court...and to allow Engr. Augusto Corro and Dr. Jose de Leon to immediately assume office, respectively, as the duly elected mayor and vice mayor of Daanbantayan, Cebu,” the writ read.
The writ and the order for the writ were dated Feb. 22, 2010.
DILG 7 Director Pedro Noval is keen on implementing the writ of execution today, with the assistance of Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Lani-o Nerez.
This, despite the opinion of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano that it should have been Comelec Manila that issued the subject writ because all records of the case are already with the Comelec First Division.
The Bogo City RTC has lost jurisdiction of the case, said Mayor Sun Shimura and Vice Mayor Ma. Luisa Loot, who will not step down because they believe the writ of execution is invalid.
Loot questioned the authority of Marigomen in issuing the writ.
She filed contempt and abuse of authority charges against Marigomen before the Comelec Central Office for issuing a writ beyond his jurisdiction.
Loot reiterated shat she and her son will never allow their rival politicians to take over the municipal hall by using the writ that Marigomen issued to them.
Apart from the motion for reconsideration that her lawyers filed with the Comelec en banc on Monday, Loot said they are still allowed to elevate their case before the Supreme Court.
Loot advised Corro to just wait for the May 2010 elections and allow their constituents to decide who among them should occupy the town’s top post.
It was the Comelec First Division that ruled to dismiss the joint petition for certiorari that Shimura and Loot filed against Corro and de Leon. The petition questioned
Marigomen’s granting of the motion for execution pending appeal that would have allowed Corro and de Leon to take over the municipality.
But Shimura and Loot secured a restraining order on the implementation.
This was lifted with the Comelec ruling dismissing Shimura and Loot’s joint petition promulgated last Feb. 17.
Noval agreed with Castillano’s legal opinion but his hands are tied.
“That’s true but since the RTC issued a writ of execution, there is nothing I can do but to follow that order.
If I will not follow the order of the court, I could be cited in contempt of court. I cannot question that order,” Noval said in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu yesterday shortly after he was furnished a copy of the writ.
But because Marigomen issued the order when all case records are already with the Comelec First Division, Loot said that her Manila-based lawyer Sixto Brillantes is already preparing cases that could be filed against Marigomen like contempt or usurpation of authority.
Her camp has filed a motion for reconsideration on the Comelec ruling yesterday.
But Corro and his lawyer-sister Liza Corro believe that a motion for reconsideration alone will not be enough to stop them from taking over.
Even as he was already installed as mayor, Corro promised a peaceful transition.
“There is an implementing agency to handle this, so they better handle it property. If not, there are still other remedies,” said Corro.
Yesterday, Noval prepared to serve the writ and coordinated with Nerez.
“He (Nerez) will be with me in going there considering that Colonel (Vicente) Loot is deputy (regional director of operations of the PRO 7), so I will need a much higher officer and that’s Gen. Nerez,” said Noval of the husband of Vice Mayor Loot.
Acting CPPO Director Erson Digal assured that if Corro can secure legal orders from a court of law, the CPPO will escort him to the municipal hall so he can assume his post as mayor.
“Kung magpakuyog na siya namo, anha na siya makakita nga wala mi gidapigan (He will see that we are not taking sides),” Digal said.
If Shimura and Loot refuse to step down, Noval said he will “recognize Corro as mayor of Daanbantayan after installing him.”
When asked for his first order of business, Corro said “I will issue an executive order informing everybody that I am the one running the show now.”
He will order all department heads to do an inventory and an audit.
Corro’s camp decided to stall the takeover despite receiving the writ of execution yesterday since President Arroyo was in town for a visit to Malapascua Island. (JGA/GMD/MEA)