San Juan Comelec seeks advice on Gomez recall poll papers
After several failed attempts to serve San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez with documents that would pave the way for the conduct of a recall election in the city, local Commission on Elections (Comelec) officer Gregorio Bonifacio has asked the poll body for help.
According to Bonifacio, he has requested the Comelec en banc for clarification and guidance on implementing a ‘substituted service’ for serving Gomez with the notice of sufficiency for a recall election.
Gomez needs to acknowledge receipt of the papers issued by the Comelec en banc for the process to start rolling.
Bonifacio said that should the poll body grant his request, the documents would be sent to the mayor through postal mail. Gomez will then have three days to respond and file a motion for reconsideration.
Bonifacio told the Inquirer on Friday that he and his staff had been trying to serve the notice of sufficiency since Dec. 14 when the Comelec en banc granted the petition to hold a recall election against Gomez.
The mayor 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, more than the required 14,425 signatures.
Under the law, a recall election can be initiated by 20 percent of the registered voters in the poll under question.
The four petitioners and the San Juan City Council have all received their copies of the notice of sufficiency from the local Comelec office. Only Gomez has yet to sign and receive the documents at press time.
“I am already requesting the Comelec en banc for guidance… if we could resort to substituted service. The en banc has acted on [my request] but they are still [considering] it. It’s not simple. There are legal arguments and points raised,” Bonifacio said.
“I made several attempts; I asked my officers to serve the notice of sufficiency to the mayor but we did not see her,” Bonifacio said, adding that they tried to meet with Gomez on Dec. 14 and 18 and again on Jan. 3, 4 and 5.
No doubts please
“I don’t want anyone to doubt me. I don’t want the Zamoras saying I am favoring the Ejercito family. I don’t want to rush either the use of the substituted service because the Ejercitos might think I am taking sides. I am caught between the two parties. I am trying to do my job… without fear or favor,” he said.
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