Comelec to formally declare duly-elected mayor in Agoo town on July 5

AGOO, La Union – Barring unforeseen circumstances, it will be Stefanie Ann E. Calongcagon who is most likely to be the next mayor of this town.

Stefanie Ann E. Calongcagon as the duly elected Municipal Mayor of Agoo.

It’s because the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBoC) in this town is set to reconvene on Tuesday, July 5, to execute the Commission on Election’s Second Division’s directive cancelling the certificate of candidacy of Frank O. Sibuma for the position of mayor.

The cancellation stemmed from a petition filed by Alma Panelo, a resident of Brgy. Sta. Rita, Agoo, La Union, on Nov. 5, 2021.

In her petition, Panelo had asked the poll body to deny due course or cancel the COC of Sibuma on the ground that the latter made a material misrepresentation regarding his residence in violation of Section 78 of the Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code.

Sibuma, according to a source, has not met the required residency requirement to be eligible to run for elective position.

Sibuma garnered the highest number of votes during the election on May 9, 2022, but since his CoC has been cancelled, all votes cast in his name during the election are considered invalid.

The poll body in its May 13, 2022 Resolution decided in favor of the petitioner, the dispositive portion of which states: ‘Wherefore, premises considered, the COMMISSION (Second Division) RESOLVED, as it hereby resolves, to grant the instant Petition. The Certificate of Candidacy of Respondent Frank Ong Sibuma for the position of Mayor in connection with the 2022 NLE is hereby cancelled.”

The Resolution of the Comelec became final and executory as shown by the Certificate of Finality and Entry of Judgment both dated May 24, 2022.

Lawyer Eduardo Gialogo, counsel for petitioner, said that on June 29, 2022, the Comelec issued the WRIT OF EXECUTION, directing the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Agoo to Reconvene on July 5,2022, to annul the proclamation of Sibuma as the Municipal Mayor of the Municipality of Agoo, La Union; and/or correct the Certificate of Canvass of Votes and Proclamation for the position of Mayor in the town in Agoo, La Union based on the Amended Statement of Votes by Precinct.

Also part of the directive is to proclaim Stefanie Ann Eriguel Calongcagon who garnered Sixteen Thousand Six Hundred (16, 603) votes as the duly elected Mayor of Agoo.

It was learned that with the respondent's failure to file a Motion for Reconsideration within the five-day reglementary period, the Commission (Second Division) issued the corresponding Certificate of Finality and Entry of Judgment on 24 May 2022.

Meanwhile, Comelec officer Mr. Onofre Tilang told Manila Bulletin that he received the copy of writ of execution of the Commission (Special Second Division), on June 29 via email, wherein the Comelec stated that the MBoC will reconvene in the afternoon of the 5th of July to execute the Comelec’s Second Division’s directive.

The people of Agoo are waiting for the Comelec announcement, while Philippine National Police are also on alert to monitor the peace and order situation.

“Tatangapin na lang namin ano ang nasa tama at kung sino talaga ang magiging mayor, huwag na po tayo manggulo at irespeto na lang ang desisyon ng Comelec," a resident of Agoo said.