DILG serves writ on ER Ejercito
MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), on Wednesday afternoon, served the writ of execution for unseated Laguna Governor Emilio Ramon "ER" Ejercito.
The DILG, with the regional police, delivered the writ of execution to Ejercito's office at the Laguna provincial capitol.
DILG Calabarzon Regional Director Josefina E. Castilla-Go said Ejercito welcomed her in his office and was "very professional." She said none of Ejercito's supporters stopped the service of the writ.
Ejercito told the DILG that, despite the service of the writ, he will not be leaving the capitol building.
He said he will wait for the final decision of the Supreme Court on his pending motion to stop the implementation of the Commission on Elections' decision to disqualify him.
Speaking to radio DZMM, Ejercito’s counsel Enrique dela Cruz said Ejercito asked the DILG if he could be given time to pack his things. He said Ejercito also gave an assurance that his supporters will not cause trouble.
“Malungkot siya pero ang nasa puso niya ay ang interes ng mga taga-Laguna. Dapat di maputol ang serbisyo publiko sa kapitolyo,” Dela Cruz said.
DILG Secretary Mar Roxas said authorities will allow Ejercito to stay in the building for now.
“I have no problem with him physically occupying the space of his office. We will not forcibly eject him. We will not shut the lights or the water....However, because of the Comelec order which was transmitted to us, the national and local government now recognizes the former vice-governor and now governor Hernandez as the new governor,” he told ANC.
Newly sworn-in Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez, in an interview with dzMM, said he is temporarily holding office at the Laguna Sports Complex.
Hernandez said he received a copy of the writ of execution Wednesday afternoon.
"Ngayon lang pong hapon, pagka-recieve ng order, naglabas na po ako ng memo directing all department heads to report tomorrow at 10 a.m.," he said.
He added that the provincial police director has also reported to his office. "Opo, nag-report na po siya sa akin kanina at humingi na po siya ng instructions."
Hernandez said his meeting with provincial department heads tomorrow will focus on explaining the leadership change.
"Lilinawin po natin sa kanila ang legality ng lahat ng pangyayari. Nakasentro po sa transition ang meeting," he said.
He added that regular employees of the provincial government have nothing to worry about but he will also appoint personnel he trusts.
He said his office at the sports complex is cramped and far from the province's center but he is ready to make sacrifices. "Nakahanda po akong magsakripisyo pansamantala para hindi po mag-create ng friction."
The Comelec en banc earlier voted unanimously to disqualify Ejercito for overspending in the 2013 elections.
Comelec records showed Ejercito spent P23.5 million during the campaign, way beyond his authorized campaign limit of P4.5 million or P3 each for 1,525,522 voters.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. earlier said Ejercito's refusal to accept the writ of execution order will not matter.
"It will not matter if he doesn't accept it because there is such as thing as substituted service. The one serving will just say he refused to accept and that is considered as serving," he said.
EJERCITO CAMP WANTS TRIAL
Meanwhile, Ejercito’s lawyer said the Comelec committed both “procedural and substantive errors” in implementing the governor’s disqualification.
He noted that under the Constitution, any Comelec decision can be questioned before the Supreme Court within 30 days. Instead, the Comelec rushed the implementation of the disqualification by citing a Comelec rule that allows the implementation of the poll body’s orders for special cases within 5 days.
Dela Cruz said the Comelec decision superseded a Supreme Court order for the poll body to answer Ejercito’s petition for a temporary restraining order.
He also noted that the original complaint by Liberal Party bet and Ejercito rival Egay San Luis did not seek Ejercito’s disqualification but only the filing of criminal charges for overspending.
Instead of bringing the case to trial, the Comelec brought it upon itself to investigate the overspending allegation against Ejercito, the lawyer said.
“The procedure should be - you will be sued for vote-buying or overspending. It goes to fiscal or Comelec, there is a preliminary investigation and then brought to a court. You present evidence and witnesses and if you are found guilty, then you can go to jail and disqualified. You can only be disqualified if you are convicted,” he told radio dzMM.
Dela Cruz said their camp will ask the Supreme Court to issue a status quo ante order, which will nullify Hernandez’s takeover as the new governor.
He also said the Supreme Court must decide on the constitutional issue on whether or not Ejercito can be charged for overspending if the bulk of his campaign ads were “donated.”
“Can you be punished for overspending, for something you did not give consent to? It is something that the SC must decide on,” he said.
The lawyer refused to say if Ejercito knew the people who allegedly signed the ad contracts and donated the ads to his poll campaign.
He also said signatures on the written conformes attached to the contracts, which show that Ejercito gave consent for the ads, could be fake.
“There should have been a process. Sila na ang nag-gather ng facts, sila na ang handwriting experts. Sila na rin ang judge. Hindi na yata makatarungan yun,” he said. -- with a report from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News