SC asked to lift TRO, SQAO on proclamation of Calongcagon as Agoo, La Union mayor

THE Supreme Court (SC) has been asked to lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) and status quo ante order  (SQAO) it issued, enjoining the implementation of the resolutions issued by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) canceling the certificate of candidacy (COC) of winning mayoral candidate of Agoo Municipality in La Union, Frank Ong Sibuma, for allegedly falsifying his place of residence in his COC filed last year.

In a 39-page comment, Alma Panelo through her lawyer Edward Giolago, insisted that respondent Comelec had already performed the injunction issued by the Court last July 5, 2002 has no practical effect considering that the acts sought to be restrained.

Panelo,  who is the complainant in the case filed before the Comelec against Sibuma, pointed out that the poll body had already annulled Sibuma’s proclamation and declared Stefanie Eriguel-Calongcagon as the new mayor of Agoo Municipality prior to the issuance of the TRO.

Thus, Panelo said, the Court should already dismiss Sibuma’s petition assailing the Comelec’s resolution for lack of merit.

“Considering that private respondent Panelo had already filed this comment and informed the Honorable Court why petitioner Sibuma has no right to assume the office of Mayor of Agoo, La Union due to the finality of the subject resolution cancelling his COC, private respondent Panelo submits that the TRO and status quo ante order issued by the Honorable Court on July 6, 2022 should not be lifted,” Panelo said.

Panelo also insisted that Sibuma is not entitled to the issuance of an injunction, which is a remedy for the protection of one’s substantive rights or interest by preserving or maintaining the status quo pending resolution on the merits of the case.

“In this case, petitioner has no substantive right to protect which will be prejudiced by the implementation of the May 13, 2022 resolution of Comelec 2ndDivision and June 29, 2022 writ of execution. As exhaustively discussed above, the subject resolution has become final, executory and immutable when the petitioner failed to file a timely motion for reconsideration,” Panelo pointed out.

The Comelec, in its May 13, 2022 resolution, granted Panelo’s petition to deny due course to the COC of Sibuma.

The poll body issued a writ of execution on June 29, 2022 to implement the disqualification of Sibuma and to install Calongcagon as the new municipal mayor.

In her complaint filed before the Comelec, Panelo claimed  that Sibuma committed material misrepresentation in filing his COC when he claimed to be residing in Agoo for a year and three months before the May 9 elections, when in fact he is a resident of the neighboring town of Aringay.

The SC issued last July 5, 2022 the TRO and SQAO without giving due course to the petition filed by Sibuma.

Likewise, the Court ordered the respondents to submit their comment to the petition within a non-extendible period of 10 days from notice.

Aside from the Comelec, also named respondents in the case are Alma Panelo and Calongcagon.