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Two rivals claim: ‘ I am the mayor’

ALIAGA, Nueva Ecija --- A regional trial court has removed incumbent Mayor Elizabeth Vargas from office after a recount of the votes in the elections in 2010, but she held on and barricaded herself in her office and she hanged a huge streamer in the main avenue on Sunday that says “patuloy na naglilingkod.”

Vargas called on her detractors to respect the mandate of the people that elected her to office and said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has issued a restraining order on her opponent from assuming office.

“I am still the mayor,” she said.

Judge Virgilio Caballero of the Regional Trial Court declared Reynaldo Ordanes as the elected mayor, winning over Vargas by 11 votes after a recount.  A writ of execution was served on Vargas at the municipal hall last week.

Ordanes has taken his oath of office before a Quezon City judge. He has been holding office at his residence near the town hall to avoid a confrontation with Vargas and “to keep the peace.”

Supporters of Ordanes said they got hold of a copy of the alleged restraining order  and said it was fake because it was signed only by Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes and not by other members of the board.

They stamped a copy of the restraining order with the words “fake po ito” and distributed it to the residents.

Ordanes, in his text message, said: “I am the legitimate mayor.”  

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