BONTOC, Mtn. Province – Provincial Governor Bonfacio Lacwasan, Jr. rallied the people of the province to follow the mandate of the law amidst the controversy on the governorship that grips the province.
In his message during the Independence Day program last June 12, 2016 here, Lacwasan exhorted the people to support the rule of law. “We have to follow the mandate of the law”, he said or to that effect citing that the rule of law should be allowed to take its course in the settlement of the issue of the election of a governor.
In a follow up interview, he linked his statement to the spirit and significance of the independence celebration. “As during the Spanish time, claim of injustices may become prevalent now if we do not follow the law”, he clarified, citing that he is within the bounds of the law as the duly elected vice governor to assume as the governor.
“Since there is vacancy in the position of the governor, the Vice Governor should take over”, he quipped.
Upon being pressed for elaboration, he connected his remarks with the controversy over the position of provincial governor between him and Atty. Kathy Jyll Mayaen Luis.
It is to be noted that Atty. Mayaen filed her Certificate of Candidacy as substitute to her father, the late Governor Leonard Mayaen, who succumbed to cardiac arrest during the campaign period. He was then an independent candidate.
Subsequently, the COMELEC en banc denied her petition for substitution but despite the denial, she was proclaimed winner in the just concluded election.
The law governing substitution, particularly Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code and Section 19 of COMELEC Resolution 9984 as amended by Resolution 9989 provides that substitution is not allowed for independent candidate.
This development has spawned controversy as the camp of Lacwasan and other quarters filed for protests questioning the proclamation of Mayaen and seeking the reversal or nullification of her proclamation.
To this date, no decision has been issued by the COMELEC on the petitions filed by the camp of Lacwasan and the youth groups such as the Makabayan Mountain Province and the Montanyosa Youth Forum for Credible Elections, among other individuals.
Many believe that the non-issuance of a decision on the matter may to lead to chaos and confusion for the people and provincial employees who are apprehensive of the prolonged anxiety amidst fear that there will be two governors on June 30.
Even Lacwasan hopes that the impasse will be resolved and is hoping that a decision will be out soon to normalize the situation and not affect the delivery of public service.
It was learned that Lacwasan will take his oath as Vice Governor then as Governor while Kathy Jill Mayaen is expected to also take her oath despite the legal suits.
Asked to comment on the possibility that Mayaen will insist on assuming the Governorship, he said that it would be a problem and there may be chaos at the provincial capitol. He hopes that will not happen.
He and the other speakers, Vice Govrnor Francis Tauli and Atty. Maximo Dalog Jr. representing his father, Congressman Maximo Dalog, called for unity and sharing in nation-building as the province gears up for progress and development in consonance with the theme –
“Kalayaan 2016: Pakakaisa, Pagaambagan, Pagsulong”.
Comment from the camp of Mayaen was not secured as of press time.
By Roger Sacyaten