The dust of the May 9 polls has yet to settle in the North after two individuals separately claim that they are entitled as the rightful governor of Mountain Province.
The claimants to the gubernatorial seat are Vice Governor-elect Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr. and lawyer Kathy Jyll Mayaen-Luis who have both taken their respective oaths as leader of the province.
Lacwasan took his oath on June 30, while Mayaen-Luis was sworn in two days prior, ABS-CBN News reported.
The power struggle stems from the death of Mayaen-Luis’ father, the late governor Leonard Mayaen who ran for re-election unopposed but passed away due to cardiac arrest on March 30.
Due to the incident, Mayaen-Luis substituted for her father and won with over 60,000 votes.
However, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) apparently rejected Mayaen-Luis’ substitution and instead ordered for special elections a day after the polls.
Mayaen-Luis was still proclaimed as the new governor by the Provincial Board of Canvassers since the Comelec’s instructions were delayed.
Meanwhile, a resident of the province, Thom Tawagen, filed before the Comelec a temporary restraining order against Mayaen Luis’ assumption of office. He said that under the Omnibus Election Code, “it is very clear that no substitution is allowed for any independent candidate,” referring to the late governor.
On June 29, a day after Mayaen was sworn into office, the Comelec issued a preliminary injunction preventing her from assuming the gubernatorial position and ordered Lacwasan to sit as acting governor of the province.