JAEN, Nueva Ecija — Incumbent mayor Sylvia C. Austria went public via social media on Sunday claiming that she is still the duly-elected municipal mayor, contrary to malicious reports circulating that she had been ousted due to a 2019 election protest case filed before a Gapan City local court which was allegedly won by her rival Antonio Prospero Esquivel.
“Nitong mga nakaraang araw ay kumalat sa social media ang ibat-ibang mga post at samut-saring kuwento patungkol sa diumano pagkakaroon ng pinal na decisyon sa protestang inihain sa akin ng aking nakatunggali sa nakaraang eleksyon at sa kanyang panunumpa daw bilang bagong punong-bayan ng Jaen,” Austria said.
“Nais ko pong ipaalam na ako po ang siyang nanatiling legal na halal na punong-bayan ng Jaen, salungat sa mga malisyosong balita ay patuloy na ako ang gumagampan sa mga tungkulin, kapangyarihan at otoridad bilang inyong punong-bayan at ako po ang siyang nakaupo sa tanggapan ng punong bayan ng munisipyo at may direktang kontrol at supervision sa lahat ng tauhan at empleyado ng ating pamahalaang bayan,” the mayor added.
Austria’s statements on social media came before two explosions rocked the area outside the municipal town hall compound in Bgy. Sapang at 4:25 p.m.
The blast occurred while a brownout or power outage was in effect in the whole town on Sunday.
No one was injured in the twin blasts as authorities started reviewing CCTV camera footage near the area for possible identification of the suspects.
Provincial police director Col. Marvin Joe C. Saro said his men were conducting security patrolling within the town hall when they heard two explosions near Gate 5 of the town hall.
Saro said an initial investigation showed that the explosions were caused by an improvised explosive devise (IED) with nails used as sharpnels for the IED.
Probers recovered at the site several pieces of motorcycle battery, scattered nails and a bottle with suspected residue of gasoline.