Comelec orders DILG to install Daraga vice mayor as acting mayor

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 25) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Special Task Force - Daraga has ordered the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to install the vice mayor of Daraga, Albay to act in place of Mayor Carlwyn Baldo.

"Considering the temporary incapacity of Mayor Baldo, Hon. Victor U. Perete, Vice Mayor of Daraga, shall then assume as Acting Mayor who will be performing executive functions," regional election director Atty. Maria Juana Valeza said in a letter to DILG regional director Atty. Anthony Nuyda.

The Comelec is expecting the order to be implemented within 48 hours.

Perete is challenging Baldo in the mayoralty race. Batocabe was also among the challengers to Baldo's seat before he and his police escort were killed in a shooting allegedly masterminded by Baldo.

Baldo was arrested Tuesday for illegal possession of firearms. He was rushed to the hospital shortly after due to "hyperventilation."

In ordering the DILG to install Perete as acting mayor, the Comelec cited a 2015 DILG legal opinion which states that detention prevents elected officials from exercising their powers and thus gives rise to a temporary vacancy in their posts.

Baldo designated Municipal Councilor Joey Marcellana as the officer-in-charge of the Mayor's Office yesterday due to what he said were the "succeeding occurring events which have been very taxing physically and mentally to undersigned leading to eventual hospitalization for life-threatening condition."

However, in a separate memorandum, Baldo reminded all municipal personnel that documents which need his signature still need to be signed by him.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said a Legazpi court has issued a hold departure order against the Daraga mayor.

"We received word that the Regional Trial Court at Legazpi City has issued a Precautionary Hold Departure Order (PHDO) against Mayor Carlwyn Baldo in relation to the Batocabe case," DOJ spokesperson Markk Perete said Friday.

The Albay provincial prosecutor filed last January 7 an application for a PHDO against Baldo and five other personalities in relation to the murder charges filed against them.

A PHDO prevents suspects of crimes with a minimum penalty of imprisonment from six years and one day from leaving the country.

It can be lifted when the respondent contests the probable cause or when he proves he is not a flight risk.

The DOJ earlier placed Baldo and six other suspects in the killing of Batocabe and his police escort on the immigration lookout bulletin.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Anjo Alimario and Bicol-based journalist Rosas Olarte contributed to this report.