Sunday, 14 April 2013 00:00 Published in Nation
SAN PEDRO, Laguna — More than 3,000 supporters and sympathizers of beleaguered Mayor Calixto Cataquiz staged a two-hour spontaneous protest march around the five barangays here recently to denounce the impending order to remove the official from his post.
The angry protesters, dressed in yellow shirts and bearing placards, torches and candles, gathered quickly in a moment’s notice and marched in the main streets of Poblacion, Nueva, San Vicente, Sto. Nino and San Roque to condemn the order issued by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa removing Cataquiz from his elective post.
They said the order was grossly illegal and improper.
Cataquiz, who marched with the protesters, appealed for sobriety and restraint even as he himself questioned the Ochoa’s order.
He said the order is not in accordance with the Supreme Court (SC) ruling merely disqualifying him from being reappointed to a government position.
“We have made an appeal to the Honorable Executive Secretary and we have initiated legal remedies to explain our cause and we hope our voices will be heard” Cataquiz said in his speech at the town plaza.
In his speech, Cataquiz recalled the days when he stood in the same platform 27 years ago to lead San Pedro during the Edsa revolution in 1986.
In a letter to Ochoa, the mayor’s lawyers from the Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Ragala and Cruz (ACCRA) Law Offices, said the order has no legal basis.
They pleaded to Ochoa to defer the implementation of the order until the issue is resolved with finality with opportunity given to Cataquiz to be heard.
In the same letter, ACCRA lawyers said Section 60 of the Local Government Code clearly states that an elective official may only be removed from office by the order of the proper court.
Citing the SC ruling in the landmark case Salalima v. Guingona (257 SCRA 55,100 ), the ACCRA lawyers said “the Office of the President is without any power to remove elected officials, since such power is exclusively vested in the proper courts as expressly provided for in the last paragraph of the afoerquoted Section 60.”
Also cited were the deliberations in the Senate during the enactment of the Local Government Code where it was made clear that the power to remove erring elective officials from service is lodged exclusively with the courts.
Political leaders here vowed to continue the protest until Malacañang heeds their call.
A daughter of the vice mayor of Pangil town in Laguna shot herself inside a school owned by her family, authorities reported yesterday.
Sr. Supt. Pascual Muñoz, Laguna police provincial director, said Joanne Dioces Reyes, 25, allegedly shot herself in the chest with a .22 caliber around 5 p.m. last Thursday.
According to a school employee, Reyes was last seen crying before she locked herself up inside her room.
“When the employee went looking for her, she wouldn’t answer so they decided to break down the door (of her room),” Munoz said.
Reyes, who worked as assistant registrar at the Laguna Maritime Arts and Business College, lived separately in a smaller house inside the school’s property in Barangay Balian.
Her family owned a house just across their school.
Reyes was the eldest among the three children of Pangil Vice Mayor Jovit Reyes.
Authorities are still trying to identify the owner of the gun that Reyes used.
Philippine National Police (PNP) operatives last Friday seized an arms cache during a search in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite.
Supt. Romano Cardiño, chief of the Cavite police intelligence branch, said the police teams were able to recover several firearms while serving a search warrant on the house of one Mark Aura, at Barangay, San Jose, in General Mariano Alvarez.
Cardiño said said the firearms were recovered from the home of Mark Aura in Barangay San Jose around 7 a.m. after they received information that the suspect kept several guns.
Among those seized were four 12-gauge shotguns, 14 .38-caliber revolvers, a .45-caliber pistol, and airsoft gun replicas and also magazines for a .45-caliber pistol.
Aura was brought to the Cavite provincial police office for investigation.
Cardiño Aura and the guns recovered were brought to the Cavite police headquarters in Imus City to verify if the guns were licensed.
Last week, the PNP implemented the gun ban in connection with the approaching mid-term elections. The gun ban will not be lifted until June 12.
Only law enforcers in uniform and on duty can carry firearms outside their residences.
As a general rule, permits to carry firearms outside residence are suspended during the election period, which ends June 12.
Meanwhile, the National Capital Region Police Office announced that since the start of the gun ban, some 25 firearms, one hand grenade and eight deadly weapons have been confiscated during the intensified checkpoints. With Gina Peralta-Elorde
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