THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has once again ruled in favor of Roberto "Obet" Pagdanganan proclaiming him as the rightful governor of Bulacan.

"We already have a voting. Its still the same 3-3-1," Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said referring to the decision released by the en banc.

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In an order issued by the en banc, it has instructed the Electoral Contests Adjudication Department (Ecad) to issue the corresponding writ of execution directing the Provincial Election Supervisor of Bulacan to implement the December 1 resolution of the second division.

"Applying the provision of Rule 18, Section 6 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure, the Second Division's Resolution, dated December 1, 2009, denying protestee's Motion for Reconsideration and granting protestant's Motion for Immediate Execution is hereby affirmed," the order signed March 4, 2010 cited.

In the previous resolution, the second division presided by Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer granted the electoral protest of Pagdanganan.

Incumbent Governor Joselito Mendoza is therefore ordered to vacate his office in favor of Pagdanganan.

After the second division resolved the matter, Mendoza appealed to the Comelec en banc in which the commissioners failed to achieve the four votes needed to issue a writ of execution.

"In the en banc, we maintained the three (votes) denying the motion for reconsideration granting the motion for execution, three of us signed, one dissenting and then other took no part. Under the rules, to promulgate a resolution, there must be four votes. We were not able to achieve the required four," Ferrer earlier explained.

The en banc held a re-hearing on the case last February 15.

Pagdanganan’s motion for writ of execution was approved by the three commissioners of the second division: Commissioners Ferrer, Lucenito Tagle, and Elias Yusoph.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento meanwhile dissented, while chairman Melo, and Commissioners Gregorio Larrazabal and Armando Velasco did not take part in deciding over the case after establishing relations with the parties involved.

This was also the result of the first voting conducted by the en banc.

'Step down now'

Pagdanganan meanwhile appealed to the supporters of both parties to remain calm as they are still waiting for the writ of execution as of press time.

"We expect that this (Friday) afternoon we will be able to assume office after taking another oath of office," Pagdanganan, who has previously completed three terms as governor of the province, said.

Pagdanganan first took his oath of office at the Capitol when the first decision of the poll body came out.

He also appealed to his opponent Mendoza to step down and follow the law.

"I always call for calm (proceedings) and consistently appealed to my supporters and to supporters of the other camp to keep calm. I would also like to appeal to my opponent because he has already assumed office for two years and seven months even if he did not win," Pagdanganan said.

"With some sense of decency I hope left in him, he should follow the law," he added.

Mendoza reportedly ordered his staff and police officials to barricade the Capitol in case Pagdanganan will attempt to enter the premises.

Pagdanganan meanwhile said this act is illegal since the City Hall is a public place.

Mendoza's camp is set to appeal to the Supreme Court to seek a temporary restraining order.

The poll body's second division unseated Mendoza after the recount showed that he only won 337,974 votes while Pagdanganan received 342,295 votes.(Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)