AFTER a week of post-election tension in Compostela, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) decided to appoint its Central Visayas regional director to serve as the town’s temporary mayor.

But DILG 7 Director Pedro Noval said yesterday he will only sit as the town’s mayor until the Commission on Elections (Comelec) settles the election protest former mayor Richie Wagas filed against his rival, mayor-elect Joel Quiño.

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“I will only serve as mayor in order to prevent any hampering of the municipal government’s services to the people,” said Noval.

In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, Noval said DILG Undersecretary for Local Government Austere Panadero called him up during the weekend, confirming his appointment as Compostela’s caretaker mayor.

Panadero also said the letter of appointment, signed by President and current DILG secretary Benigno Aquino III, is expected to arrive today, said Noval.

As soon as the letter of appointment arrives, Noval will immediately sit as temporary mayor of the northern Cebu town.

He said he is willing to carry out the orders, but admitted “it is an additional burden as I must juggle my obligations of serving as acting mayor while doing my job as DILG regional director.”

He urged the Comelec Second Division to immediately resolve the matter so he can focus on his work at the DILG 7.

Although tension rose last week in Compostela, Noval is not expecting any opposition once he sits as temporary mayor of the town, as he will only be there in order for government services to continue without delay.

In separate interviews yesterday, Wagas and Quiño refused to comment on the matter until they receive the official letter of appointment.

It was not clear how the council will do its job, since the suspension also affects the local legislature.

During a meeting with the three officials last week, Provincial Election Supervisor and lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano

confirmed the Comelec Second Division’s resolution suspending the proclamation of Quiño and eight of his councilors.

Castillano also confirmed that since the suspension order must take effect, appointing someone to serve as temporary mayor would now be up to DILG. (JKV)