Comelec: Recall election vs Puerto Princesa mayor to proceed
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) affirmed Tuesday that there were enough valid signatures and thumbmarks of petitioners to proceed with the conduct of recall election against Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron.
In a 14-page resolution, the Comelec en banc directed its Office of the Executive Director for Operations (ODEDO) to prepare the calendar of activities for the conduct of recall elections for Puerto Princesa.
“The election officer of Puerto Princesa is hereby directed within 24 hours from the receipt thereof, to issue a certification that the total number of signatures and thumbmarks found as valid by the Comelec en banc satisfies the minimum number of petitioners for the purpose of conducting recall elections and submit the same to the ODEDO,” the poll body added.
The Comelec has affirmed as valid 22,326 signatures of petitioners out of the 32,418 signatures verified.
The poll body noted that no signatures were invalidated on the sole ground of forgery or falsification.
In issuing the resolution, the Comelec en banc dismissed the instant appeal filed by Bayron earlier last month, questioning the verification process.
Bayron earlier claimed that the petition for recall should be dismissed for failure of the petition to meet the required percentage of signatories or the minimum number of petitioners.
He added that the verification process was not accomplished within the period allowed by the rules. He also said that election officer erred in finding that some signatures were not forged or falsified, and the thumbmarks identified as blurred, smudged and indistinct were valid.
“It bears stressing that the grounds invoked by the respondent-appellant, at the most, are mere procedural irregularities that do not constitute grounds for the dismissal of the recall petition,” the resolution reads.
The resolution added that the recall petition has long been settled sufficient in form and substance.
The election officer also conducted an independent examination of the questioned signatures in order to arrive at a conclusion as to their authenticity, the Comelec said in its resolution.
“A reading of the foregoing allegations would show that respondent-appellant was not really assailing the correctness of the election officer’s findings, but rather alleging new objections, which have not been duly raised during the verification proceedings…” the resolution said.
According to the poll body, Bayron cannot raise new matters on appeal.
“Respondent-appellant was given the opportunity to raise all his objections during the verification proceedings. Yet he failed to do so in the manner provided in the rules. Thus, matters not taken up below cannot be raise for the first time on appeal,” the Comelec said.