Negros Oriental governor steps down

The row on the gubernatorial post of the provincial government of Negros Oriental may have come to a peaceful close on Tuesday as incumbent Governor Pryde Henry Teves reportedly stepped down from his post.

In a social media posting on Facebook page “Hulagway ug Kasikas sa Dumaguete,” the administrator posted that Teves has agreed to a peaceful transition of power to the newly-declared Governor Roel Degamo.

Teves’s legal counsel Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, in an interview with Daily Tribune, confirmed that Teves gave way to the directive of the Department of the Interior and Local Government to step down and let Degamo become the governor.

Topacio disclosed that Teves’ decision was based on his conscience, saying that he did it to diffuse the tension so that no one will get into harm’s way and so that the services of the provincial government will not be paralyzed.

However, Topacio stressed that their appeal to the Supreme Court is very much alive as the High Court did not deny his application for a temporary restraining order, explaining that no action was taken since Degamo’s camp was given 15 days to file a comment before the SC will decide.

“He stepped down because he did not want to cause any chaos, as thousands of his supporters are already at the Capitol,” Topacio said.

The row between Teves and Degamo stemmed from the Commission on Elections’ ruling to declare Degamo as the winner of the gubernatorial post in the 2022 national and local elections last 9 May.
The Comelec ruled that the votes of nuisance candidate by the name of Ruel Degamo should be transferred to Roel Degamo.

In a previous exclusive interview, Topacio said that Teves clearly won by more or less 20,000 votes over his rival Degamo and they were surprised that the Comelec suddenly sided with the petition of Degamo, involving a nuisance candidate.

“By legal shortcut, Degamo made a clear manipulation and we have questioned this to the Comelec. We wonder why a petition to cancel the candidacy of another candidate was abruptly decided by the Comelec, subsequently declaring Degamo as the winner of the election. Tension arises in Negros as supporters of our client will not allow that the rights of their chosen candidate will be trampled,”
Topacio said in an interview with Daily Tribune’s online morning show “Gising Na!”

Topacio stressed that the incumbent governor was not even given a chance to explain his side during the Comelec hearings, and they actually have a pending motion to disqualify Degamo for running for four consecutive times as governor.

“Why did Comelec immediately reached a decision to disqualify a nuisance candidate over our disqualification case against Degamo? Let the will of the people prevail, we are not asking for more but we will not settle for less,” said Topacio.

Topacio claimed that Teves is not a party in the Degamo versus Degamo case, but surprisingly was affected by the decision and also revealed that there is no majority on the votes of Comelec commissioners to decide the other “Ruel Degamo” as a nuisance candidate.

“Only three commissioners only voted on that decision. Our Constitution said there must be four votes,” according to Topacio.

In a separate press conference on Monday in Quezon City, Teves — through his other lawyer Sarah Manalo — maintained that he has no plan to have a grip on his post as he acknowledged the ruling of the Comelec.

He added that he respects the order from the Department of the Interior and Local Government telling him to vacate the post and let Degamo assume the provincial chief executive post.

“But Governor Teves cannot simply step down because he has obligations to his constituents who voted for him during the last 9 May elections and does not want to be accused of abandoning his post or dereliction of duty,” said Manalo.

She added that in the event the Supreme Court tell Teves to vacate his post and give way for Degamo, the incumbent governor will abide without hesitation.

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