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Gomez not giving up mayor’s post

After month-long leave, San Juan mayor returns to work, vows to appeal recall election petition all the way to Supreme Court
/ 06:46 AM January 05, 2018

Following claims that she had deliberately skipped work for weeks to avoid being served with the notice for the conduct of a recall election, San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez showed up at City Hall on Thursday.

An official, however, said that Gomez went back to work on Wednesday but did not go to City Hall. Instead, she attended work-related meetings.

“Contrary to the accusations and malicious statement issued by Mr. Francis Zamora, Gomez is not deliberately avoiding the receipt of the notice of sufficiency from the Commission on Elections (Comelec),” Grace Cortes, chief of the San Juan City Public Information Office, said in a statement.

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Leave approved by DILG

Cortes added that Gomez had been on leave from Dec. 4 with the permission of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“It was unfortunate that the Comelec personnel who delivered the notice [for a recall election] was not able to see her personally,” she said.

Cortes, however, stressed that Gomez would file an appeal all the way to the Supreme Court on the matter.

On Dec. 14, the Comelec granted the petition to hold a recall election against Gomez, who won in May 2016 over her former ally-turned-rival, ex-Vice Mayor Francis Zamora.

The petition, which the poll body found sufficient in form, was filed on Sept. 22 and signed by around 30,000 San Juan residents, way above the required 14,425 signatures. Under the law, a recall election could be initiated by 20 percent of the registered voters in the poll under question.

On Thursday, reporters went to City Hall to try to interview Gomez but learned that she had left shortly after 2 p.m. to undergo therapy for her foot which she injured during a pilgrimage to Europe last year, according to Cortes.

She added that the mayor arrived at City Hall around 11:30 a.m., held several meetings and then signed official documents, among other tasks.

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Reporters promised briefing

Cortes assured reporters that Gomez would hold a press conference on the recall election as soon as she was served with the documents by the Comelec.

Zamora, however, accused Gomez anew of skipping work to evade accepting the recall election notice.

“I am asking the mayor to report to work already and receive the notice of sufficiency so that the Comelec can start verifying the 30,000 signatures and set the date of the recall elections,” he said in a statement.

To this, Cortes replied: “Character assassination or hurling of malicious issues and lies against [Gomez] is not what the City of San Juan needs. She is after the truth.”

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TAGS: Guia Gomez, San Juan, Zamora
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