DAGUPAN CITY—The Commission on Elections has approved petitions to recall the vice mayor and four councilors of Bani, Pangasinan, saying this followed the proper procedure and met the required percentage of voters who make up the petitioners.
The separate petitions were filed by Garreta village chief Marcelo Tugas on June 24 against Vice Mayor Filipina Rivera and Councilors Rosalinda Acenas, Ruben Ampler, Tamerlane Olores and Cothera Gwen Yamamoto, citing loss of confidence in their leadership.
On Oct. 25, the Comelec en banc approved the recall petitions when it reversed its earlier resolution declaring a joint petition as insufficient in form and substance because it used the same signature sheets for the petition against the vice mayor and the councilors.
Tugas later filed separate petitions for recall for the vice mayor and the councilors.
Mayor Marcelo Navarro welcomed the Comelec decision, saying he supported the recall because Rivera and the councilors blocked the approval of programs and projects endorsed by the town government.
He said the council did not endorse loans that the town government could have used to build a public market, a cemetery and fund other projects.
“We hope that after the [recall] election, the local government can push through with its development programs which cannot be implemented because the Sangguniang Bayan refused to give its support,” he said.
Navarro said he had been reaching out to Rivera and the councilors “but they refused my offer of friendship.”
The recall petitions carried 7,532 signatures of registered voters. After validation, the Comelec pegged the number of endorsers at 6,796 or 24.89 percent of Bani’s voting population of 27,304. The Comelec only needed the endorsement of 20 percent of voters in the town.
Armando Rivera, Arwas village chief and a supporter of the vice mayor and councilors, said they welcomed the holding of the recall election.
“They have 7,000 supporters and we have 7,000 supporters. What matters now is the 7,000 other voters. Who will they support?” he said in a radio interview.
Navarro earlier became a subject of a recall petition filed by Hannibal Olores, a former town administrator, citing loss of confidence and for allegedly presenting a government program without feasibility studies.
However, the Comelec, in a resolution on Sept. 6, dismissed the petition because the signatures presented did not reach the required 20 percent of registered voters in the town. Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon