SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Commissioners on Tuesday whittled down the list of potential candidates to replace Precinct 2 Constable Michelle Barrientes Vela.
The five finalists are: Donald Falcon, Javier Flores, Mary Ruiz, Leticia Vasquez and Debra L. Zerda.
The list of finalists was pared down from 29 people who submitted applications to replace Barrientes Vela prior to Monday's deadline.
A Bexar County visiting judge on Monday denied Barrientes Vela's request to stop commissioners from interviewing and naming her successor. However, the troubled constable will remain in office until at least Oct. 11, when a hearing will take place to determine when and if the appointment of her replacement becomes effective.
Barrientes Vela triggered automatic resignation under the state law last week when she first announced to KSAT and later other media outlets that she planned to run for sheriff in 2020. The law stipulates that elected officials who announce plans for another office with more than 13 months left in their current term forfeit their seat.
Her public declaration to run for sheriff came as the FBI and Texas Rangers were carrying out a 10-hour raid inside her Northwest Side offices.
In a statement released over the weekend, an attorney representing Barrientes Vela called the comment "an excited utterance rather than a formal political declaration to seek the sheriff's seat in 2020."