TACLOBAN CITY-After almost six months, the political impasse in the town of Calbiga in Samar has ended as the Department of Interior and Local Government finally “recognized” Melchor Nacario as the “duly elected mayor.”
The recognition of Nacario as the duly elected mayor of the town was just an act of “putting everything in order” in Calbiga, said DILG Regional Director Pedro Noval, Jr.
With this move, acting Mayor David Bacsal has to return to his post as vice mayor, the position he was elected in the first place, Noval added.
However, Bacsal appeared not to have accepted the decision of the DILG totally saying that his move to abide was just to avoid any further tension in their town.
“We are peace-loving people. I am now discharging the office of the vice mayor,” Bacsal said in a phone interview, adding that he hope DILG Sec. Mar Roxas would come out with his own decision on the controversy.
Nacario, meanwhile, said that he was confident all along that the controversy would end in his favor as what happened.
“What happened on March 31, 2014 at the municipal hall of Calbiga was not an installation of Nacario but was just putting everything in order in Calbiga,” Noval said.
“Nacario was the duly elected mayor of Calbiga so he has to discharge the (functions of the office) while Bacsal was elected as vice mayor so he has to return to his office as vice mayor,”he added.
The recognition of Nacario as the mayor of the more than 20,000 people of Calbiga was by virtue of an opinion issued by DILG Assistant Secretary Austere Panadero in his communication dated March 18, 2014.
In his three-page opinion, Panadero cited the “overwhelming support” and “recognition” by Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan to Nacario as well as the majority members of the town council; department heads and rank and file employees.
“It appears that the recognition of Mr. Nacario as mayor of Calbiga, Samar is an established fact already,”Panadero said.
The political tension in Calbiga started when Bacsal refused to step down as acting mayor after Nacario was proclaimed as the duly elected mayor of Calbiga on October 14, 2013 by a special board of canvassers.
The proclamation of Nacario as the elected mayor of Calbiga was based on a decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc on October 4, 2013.
However, Bacsal assumed the contested post on October 11, 2013 after the then sitting mayor Nicasio Abaigar, made an “irrevocable resignation” reportedly to seek for a “very special treatment care.”
Abaigar tendered his resignation addressed to Gov. Tan on October 11, 2013 after the Supreme Court dismissed his motion for reconsideration on August 13, 2013.
The motion for reconsideration filed by Abaigar before the High Court was based on an en banc decision by the Comelec on February 5, 2013 cancelling Abaigar’s certificate of candidacy for “false material representation.”
Abaigar, who garnered 5,804 votes against Nacario’s 5,747 votes during the May 14,2013 elections, claimed that he was a registered voter of Barangay Canticum, Calbiga; born on December 15,1951 and a resident of the Philippines “since birth.”
However, it was discovered that he was not a registered voter of Canticum; was born on December 14, 1950 and an actual resident of California, USA.
Noval said that there was no “tension” when he both informed Nacario and Bacsal of the decision of the DILG.
“There was no tension; it was smooth,” he said.  (JOEY A. GABIETA)