By Raydes B. Barcia

Legazpi City – Time is running out for embattled Albay governor Noel Rosal as he might be unseated anytime today once the execution order from the Commission on Elections will be served by the Department of Interior and Local Government pending appeal of the temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court.

Due to this, Albayanos from all walks of life are ringing the Liberty bell appealing the Supreme Court to grant a temporary restraining order (TRO) over Gov. Noel E. Rosal.

Clad with red t-shirts, Albayanos pounded the bell since yesterday and on Tuesday to seek SC TRO. The historic Liberty bell displayed in the concrete structure of Peñaranda Park in Albay district resonated again after 76 years.

Cynthia Bellen, a government worker from Sto. Domingo Albay hit the bell thrice, stating for the common good of the Albayanos and justice for Rosal.

For the common good of the Albayanos and justice for governor Noel Rosal,” Bellen said before pounding the historic Liberty bell.

The Liberty bell was reverberating in the said district where the provincial capitol, city hall and the St. Gregory the Great Cathedral is located.

The Liberty Bell is the gift of American soldiers displayed and can be seen in the concrete structure of Peñaranda Park as it is a symbol of the liberation of Japanese oppression, built by the Americans in 1945.

It is located in Peñaranda Park (Albay Freedom Park). The tête monument, located in front of the capitol is dedicated to unknown heroes during the Japanese occupation.

The bell is enclosed with a dome-shaped concrete structure with the inscription, “whenever oppression knocks at your door, feel free to ring this bell.”

The bronze Liberty bell, installed in 1945 by the American Liberation forces located in Peñaranda Park along Rizal Street, is a donation from Don de Erquiaga, a Spanish philanthropist.

On Monday, Albayanos from all walks of life including students pounded the Liberty bell, after almost eight decades ringing the Supreme Court to hear their pleas.

Supporters of Albay Governor Noel Rosal gathered at Peñaranda Park, Legazpi City, November 28 in the afternoon and hit the Liberty Bell as a symbol of their displeasure at the Comelec En Banc’s decision given on November 25, 2022.

Supporters of Rosal also launched a signature campaign to be sent to the Supreme Court. The Comelec en banc issued a certificate of finality disqualifying Rosal from his post.

The governor returned to Legazpi City on Monday afternoon after filing his petition seeking for a temporary restraining order before the High Court.

Rosal arrived in Legazpi City on Monday before 5:00 PM where he was met by his supporters at Bicol International Airport (BIA) in Daraga, Albay and at the capitol ground.

The embattled official expressed his gratitude to his supporters for leading the prayers voluntarily on Friday night immediately after the Commission on Elections issued the final and executory verdict disqualifying him from his post for violating the election laws.

Rosal was met by his supporters waiting at the BIA and at the provincial capitol ground. Shortly after mingling with his supporters, he met the members of the press for a press briefing.

Rosal said that he was not given ample time to file the TRO as the Comelec en banc decision issued on Friday before 5:00 p.m. was sent to him through email.

We have been given a mandate by the people. The decision of the Commission on Elections en banc was released on Friday at about 5:00 pm. We’ve only been given five days to file the TRO. Unfortunately, their decision was sent to me through email on Friday. We don’t have ample time to prepare because of the weekend and the Supreme Court was on recess,” he said.

Masyado tayong ginipit. The decision sent to us must be certified through copy before we can file a certiorari to the Supreme Court. Kaya, we need your prayers. So, tomorrow is crucial.  I need your prayers. I’m praying too, and praying for the Albayanos. I hope we can prevail. The Supreme Court as the final arbiter. I hope the Supreme Court will listen to the people of Albay, the more than 400,000 voters,” he said.

He said that the Supreme Court will convene tomorrow in an en banc session. “Tomorrow is crucial. The Comelec issued a finality already, so under the rule it will be transmitted to the DILG. They filed a motion to execute. So, meaning anytime it will be implemented,” he said.

When asked by this reporter if the Supreme Court does not issue a TRO what will he do?  Rosal said that he will step down and call the Albayanos to respect the High Court decision and move on.

We will abide by the law and step down if there’s no TRO from the Supreme Court. I hope and I’m calling the Albayanos to respect whatever the decision may be of the High Court. But I’m not losing hope,” Rosal said. (Raydes B. Barcia)

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