Pagdanganan assumes Bulacan post

PNS — ROBERTO Pagdanganan on Wednesday assumed office as the newly declared governor of Bulacan by holding a temporary office at the provincial museum.

This development came after the Department of Interior and Local Government ordered its Region 3 office to help the Commission on Elections install Pagdanganan as the duly elected governor of the province.

Pagdanganan and his supporters decided to establish a temporary office at the Blas F. Ople building, which houses the local museum.

But Mendoza’s lawyers told reporters that the Comelec has not actually issued a writ of execution.

Mendoza, whom the Comelec in 2007 declared the winner of Bulacan’s gubernatorial race, refused to step down, saying he and his lawyers would exhaust all legal means to contest the poll body’s latest decision on Monday.

A recount of the votes ordered by the commission showed Pagdanganan garnering 342,295 votes against Mendoza’s 337,974, or a margin of 4,321 votes. The former was thus declared the duly elected governor of the province.

Mendoza and more than 1,000 of his supporters remained the provincial capitol since Tuesday noon when word got around of the Comelec’s decision. He said it was “harassment,” as he quit the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD in favor of the Liberal Party.

Pagdanganan said the Comelec decision was not tainted by politics.

“It is not the DILG that would implement the Comelec order,”

Government Undersecretary Austere Panadero said in an interview. “We are just providing whatever assistance the Provincial Election Supervisor of Bulacan may need in the actual implementation of the Comelec order.”

Panadero asked Region 3 director Renato Brion to help the Comelec implement its order.

The commission en banc ordered Mendoza to stop functioning as governor and to vacate the office in favor of Pagdanganan.

In its resolution, the Comelec also dismissed the motion for reconsideration filed by Mendoza assailing the resolution of the poll body’s Second Division on Dec. 1, 2009, after the recount of votes gave Pagdanganan the edge over the incumbent governor.

Mendoza and Pagdanganan were among the four gubernatorial candidates for Bulacan in the May 2007 elections.

The Provincial Board of Canvassers on May 24, 2007 proclaimed Mendoza the duly elected governor for garnering 364,566 votes as against Pagdanganan’s 348,834, or a margin of 15,732.