Mayor Gamboa Ousted, Imee Installs Erdio V

DINGRAS, Ilocos Norte (May 6) – The Commission on Elections has unseated Dingras Mayor Marynette Gamboa by virtue of an order to execute a Comelec resolution disqualifying her from the May 2010 mayoral race in this town.

The Comelec ’s writ of execution dated May 3, 2011 was served at the mayor’s office this morning amid a little tension as crowd of multi-sectors witnessed the unfolding event. Gamboa was not in her office when Comelec provincial election supervisor Alipio Castillo III delivered the order. Alipio was accompanied by DILG provincial director Elpidio Ratuita who read the content of the order.

“Mayor Gamboa is now in Manila,” her spokesman and defense lawyer Ferdinand Ignacio told newsmen. She had freely stepped down from her post in due respect to the final Comelec order and vowed to continue helping her townmates despite of her ouster, Ignacio added.

Perceived to be a bad coincidence, Gamboa’s ouster came two weeks after the assassination of her political ally Dingras councilor Randolf “Randy” Magno, who was gunned down in nearby Sarrat town last Holy Thursday.

Earlier this morning, Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Director Senior Supt. Marlou Chan had deployed here augmentation police troops including SWAT teams to ensure that no untoward incidents would occur during the turnover of new leadership in this town.

A truckload of Army soldiers from the Currimao-based PA Battalion also arrived here to beef up the police troopers who were all armed to the teeth. Independent observers described Dingras town as a virtual battle ground because of troop movement. However, some Dingreneos countered it was an exaggerated comment.

Many civilian residents said the dispatch of government forces here had eased any brewing tension that may erupt in case of provocation.

Shortly after the order was served this morning, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, arrived here from the Provincial Capitol in Laoag City under tight security and immediately sworn in Vice Mayor Erdio Valenzuela as new town mayor of Dingras and first Councilor Ruben Marcos as new vice mayor during a simple ceremony held at the Dingras town hall compound. Valenzuela and R. Marcos are both political allies of the dethroned woman mayor.

“Government functions must continue in Dingras under the new leadership,” Marcos said after administering the oath of office of the two new officials as mandated by law of succession.

The Comelec’s second division in Manila central office disqualified Gamboa as candidate for Dingras mayor in a resolution promulgated on May 7, 2010 after she was found to have been indicted in California,United States for three offenses and evaded an arrest warrant in connection with the charges.

The case against the woman mayor arose from the charges filed with Comelec by complainant Nathaniel Taylan who had questioned Gamboa’s candidacy claiming that she is a fugitive from justice in connection with a warrant of arrest issued by the Supreme Court of California, County of Ventura.

Despite of the charges, Gamboa, pursued her mayoral reelection bid and beat her arch rival Jeofrey Saguid in a hotly-contested election. Saguid is a relative and political ally of complainant Taylan.

Gamboa, aided by her legal counsel Ferdinand Ignacio of Paoay, Ilocos Norte, appealed the Comelec division’s order but the Commission en banc upheld the division’s order in a decision promulgated on August 31, 2010.

The mayor then elevated the case to the Supreme Court questioning the Comelec’s decision through an action for certiorari. The high court dismissed the action in an order dated September 28, 2010.

Gamboa again appealed the decision but the high court dismissed the appeal with finality on December 7, 2010.