2 mayors, 1 seat: Bongalonta reassumes office

Left: Bongalonta; Right: Regondola

PILI, Camarines Sur 1/3/18 (Bicol Standard) – Pili Town Mayor Tomas Bongalonta, Jr. appeared before the municipal employees during the flag raising ceremony this morning to inform them that he is reassuming office as the local chief executive.

Bongalonta told the Bicol Standard that aside from the Supreme Court’s status quo ante order which he received on December 28, 2017, the suspension order imposed upon him by the Sandiganbayan expired today, January 3, 2018.

He met with the employees to clarify that he will be in the Mayor’s Office to attend to official business.

Regarding the argument of Acting Vice Mayor Rudel Divinagracia, Bongalonta explained that the suspension order signed by Gov. Migz Villafuerte is not effective since it was not served upon him by an officer of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“I will only respect the said order if it comes from the office of the Interior and Local Government Secretary,” Bongalonta said.

As of this writing, no untoward incidents have been reported to the police after Bongalonta’s new assumption to office.

He added that he instructed the cops assigned in this town to maintain peace and order.

Divinagracia’s side

Meanwhile, Divinagracia told the Bicol Standard that Acting Mayor Nong Regondola has sent a letter addressed to the Provincial Director of the DILG in Camarines Sur to seek clarification on the brewing legal issue.

Acting Mayor Regondola maintains that despite the Supreme Court’s status quo ante order, Bongalonta remains suspended.

This is due to the order of suspension issued by Gov. Villafuerte relative to an administrative complaint filed against Bongalonta.

In a separate interview, Acting Vice Mayor Rudel Divinagracia clarified that another administrative complaint is being readied against Bongalonta for usurpation of public functions due to his forcible assumption to office office and the issuance of numerous office orders.

This is despite the fact that Bongalonta is barred from doing so by the suspension signed by the governor, Divinagracia said.

As of 1 p.m., Regondola’s group is still awaiting for a word from the DILG.