JAEN, Nueva Ecija — This agricultural town saw a peaceful transition of leadership from Mayor Sylvia Austria who stepped down Monday night to the new mayor Antonio Prospero Esquivel who officially assumed the post on Tuesday, December 22.
Austria was municipal mayor since July 1, 2019. She stepped down at around 8 p.m. on Monday.
Maj. Baltazar Corpuz, the town police chief, said Austria voluntarily yielded after the regional office of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Central Luzon intervened and presented the court order which was witnessed by Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, director of the Regional Police Office 3 (PRO-3).
Esquivel, who lodged a protest and sought for a ballots recount garnered 18,737 votes as against Austria’s 14,392 during the May 13, 2019 elections.Although the camp of Austria questioned the decision of Gapan City RTC branch 87 Judge Angelo Perez, it nevertheless elevated the case to the High Tribunal for review.Gen. De Leon personally escorted Austria as she stepped down and relinquished her post.
De Leon said his policemen were deployed at the town hall to maintain peace and order.
“I am grateful that there have been no other eventualities except for the isolated case of the two explosions which our personnel have acted upon,” he said.
He assured that the Philippine National Police will always remain non-partisan and apolitical.
“We will never meddle with the political exercise of anybody or in any area. We are here to implement and enforce the law,” he added. (With reports from Liezle Basa Inigo)