Garganera: ‘Nullify Escalante’s proclamation as Cadiz mayor


Manuel Laurel Garganera III, one of the mayoralty candidates in Cadiz City in the recent midterm election, is asking the Commission on Elections to nullify the proclamation of Mayor-elect Salvador Escalante.

In his letter to Atty. Maria Norina S. Tangaro-Casingal of the Comelec Law Department, Garganera stated that “(Escalante) committed falsification when in the COC for the 2019 elections he deliberately withheld information that he was found guilty of abuse of authority in the abovementioned case.”

“Accordingly, we ask that his COC for the 2019 election be annulled and that his election to the position of City Mayor of Cadiz be nullified,” Garganera asked the Comelec in his letter.

Garganera was referring to the case arising from the complaint of former Cadiz City Engineer Leonilo B. Hulleza against Escalante for placing Hulleza under floating status thru a memorandum dated July 2, 2007.

Hulleza initially filed the complaint at the Office of the President against Escalante “for Abuse of Authority, Dishonesty and Dereliction of Duty” based on Escalante’s baseless and unlawful order which stripped him of his function because of Hulleza’s strict adherence to guidelines and requirements for the release of payment of infrastructure projects.

On its decision dated November 5, 2009, the Office of the President dismissed Hulleza’s complaint for lack of basis. His Motion for Reconsideration was also dismissed by the same office thru an order dated March 24, 2010.

Hulleza brought the matter before the Court of Appeals, which promulgated a decision on January 31, 2012, finding Escalante “guilty of grave abuse of authority in the performance of his function beyond the contemplation of law”.

The CA decision also reversed and set aside the decision of the Office of the President on the same complaint.

Moreover, the appellate court declared the memorandum placing Hulleza under floating status as “null and of no force and effect”, further reinstating Hulleza to this previous post as City Engineer, with payment of full benefits retroactive to July 2, 2007, when the memorandum was issued.

By the time the CA decision was rendered on January 31, 2012, Salvador Escalante was no longer mayor of Cadiz City. The mayor back then was already his brother, Dr. Patrick Escalante, who elevated the matter to the Supreme Court.

On a resolution dated February 20, 2013, the Supreme Court Second Division upheld the decision of the Court of Appeals.

Mayor Patrick Escalante filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied on July 24, 2013.

The Supreme Court decision became final and executory and has been recorded in the Book of Entries of Judgment on August 14, 2013.

Garganera contends that Escalante’s conviction for grave abuse of authority and his act of withholding information on such conviction in his Certificate of Candidacy should be grounds for Comelec to nullify Escalante’s COC and his proclamation as Cadiz City Mayor in the 2019 polls.


The case filed against Cadiz City Mayor-elect Escalante Jr. is already ‘closed,’ his counsel Atty. Reggie Placido said in a statement sent to the media.

The statement is in reaction to the statements made by Garganera in a press conference at the Negros Press Club.

Garganera accused Escalante of ‘falsification in his Certificate of Candidacy where he said he was not convicted of any crime.’

“Escalante is convicted of abuse of authority,” he claimed citing a Supreme Court decision.

Garganera said he will refile his complaint against Escalante with the poll body.

However, Atty. Placido said the incoming mayor “was cleared by dishonesty and dereliction of duty in the case filed by Leonilla Hulleza.”

“As to the abuse of authority issue, the same was rendered moot and academic by the Court of Appeals in the same case, leaving no penalty against Mayor- elect Escalante,” the lawyer said.

He pointed out that “Nowhere in the dispositive portion of the decision does it state that Mayor- elect Salvador Escalante Jr., is ineligible to run for public position nor disqualified to hold public office. The decision of the Court of Appeals have long been implemented by the City of Cadiz and the case is now closed.”* (Butch Bacaoco w/ report from EYA via NDB)

Leave a Reply