By Cheryl A. Galili

THE PROVINCIAL Board (PB) of Palawan has no power to decide on who should claim the mayoralty post in Busuanga between incumbent Mayor Samuel A. De Jesus and his rival Jose M. Panlilio.

The members of the PB said the case is for the Commission on Election (Comelec) to decide and not their responsibility.

The statement from the board members came following expectations that it might be able to do something to pacify the political tension in Busuanga that rose after Judge Chito Meregillano of Branch 51 of the Palawan Regional Trial Court (RTC) decided in favor of Panlilio on August 27.

His decision holds Panlilio as the winner of the last local elections and invalidated De Jesus’ 754 votes in eight precincts because the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) who served were relatives, friends and supporter of his wife, former mayor Eva de Jesus.

The PB members, led by Vice Governor David A. Ponce de Leon, said the decision to end the stand off between the two in Busuanga is a call by the Comelec.

It can be recalled that the supporters of Panlilio tried to wrestle the control of the municipal government from De Jesus by enforcing the writ of execution from the court, but the latter’s own supporters, including members of the municipal council, stood their ground and didn’t abandon the municipal building hall.

On September 9, the Comelec en banc issued a cease-and-desist order (CDO) against Panlilio taking over the mayoralty post of Busuanga.

The three-paged Comelec en banc decision signed by the commissioners, headed by Jose A. R. Melo, directed Meregillano and Panlilio to cease-and-desist in enforcing the writ and for accord to be restored in the controversial Calamianes Islands Group town.

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