Judge Marivic Cacatian-Beltran | PHOTO: Philippine Women Judges Association Inc. website

By Villamor Visaya Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer news correspondent and Philippine News Agency stringer

TUGUEGARAO CITY––A regional trial court on Thursday, May 5, extended for 20 days the temporary restraining order (TRO) against the distribution of pandemic assistance by government officials in Cagayan province who are allegedly using it to court voters.

Judge Marivic Cacatian-Beltran of the Regional Trial Court-Branch 3 in this city said the TRO was extended while a preliminary injunction is being heard.

Lawyer Victorio Casauay recently asked the court to stop the distribution of funds under the No Barangay Left Behind (NBLB) and Oplan Tulong sa Barangay Program of the provincial government as these were allegedly being used for vote-buying.

Casauay had earlier filed an injunction with a very urgent ex-parte application for a TRO and/or preliminary injunction.

He cited Resolution 10747 of the Commission on Elections prohibiting the release, disbursement, and expenditure of government funds during the campaign period.

Casauay also referred to cash advances of P550 million to be used for the said programs.

He urged local law enforcers and election officials to arrest and indict government officials violating the resolution.

The fund, Casauay claimed, is being used to indirectly “buy votes” for the provincial administration candidates.

Gov. Manuel Mamba, however, asserted that there were no irregularities in the release of funds, which he said were declared exempt by the Comelec.

Asked if he would stop the release of the aid, Mamba said he would stop, but they would wait for the resolution of the motion for reconsideration that they filed against the TRO. #