San Juan mayor not accepting election recall yet
San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez said she has yet to decide whether to accept the Commission on Elections’ notice of sufficiency for recall elections calling it “unfair.”
“I will not accept this recall election and will allow my lawyers to challenge it legally and according to the right process,”Gomez told reporters in a press conference at her home on Ibuna St, San Juan City on Thursday.
“I am not sure whether to accept it … because I find it unfair. I don’t think I have a loss of confidence. I will have to ask San Juan (residents) if they have lost confidence in my leadership… Ask the people on the streets and they will answer differently from the Zamoras,” she added.
Gomez also denied evading the Comelec. “No, I don’t. That’s my personal choice. Parang feeling ko…maybe the Comelec doesn’t know much about San Juan. That we have received these (awards). That there’s no loss of confidence,” the Mayor said.
Pressed by reporters to clarify her answers, Gomez explained she might accept the notice of sufficiency but had asked for more time to think about it.
“If an election recall will unify San Juan … I will do that, why not…? I am accepting the notice but I will sleep on it tonight. Isang gabi lang naman (Just for one night),” she said.
Former Vice Mayor Francis Zamora, Gomez’ opponent in the last elections, filed an electoral protest against Gomez who won by 1,000 votes last May 2016, and withdrew it. Zamora’s camp later substituted it with a petition for recall elections to speed up the process, Zamora said.
The Comelec en banc granted the petition and issued a notice of sufficiency last Dec 13.
The notice of sufficiency, however, remained unserved despite several attempts by Comelec San Juan since Dec 14, said election officer lawyer Gregorio Bonifacio.
“We could not find Gomez at the City Hall,” Bonifacio earlier told the Inquirer. Bonifacio, who sought guidance from the Comelec en banc on whether to implement a “substituted service,” is still waiting for a response.
Through a granted substituted service, the notice of sufficiency would instead be delivered via postal mail to start the validation of signatures and the election recall process.
Gomez would then have three days to answer or file a motion for reconsideration, the Comelec officer said.
Zamora has earlier urged Gomez to face the recall petition, stop hiding and skipping work to evade the service of the notice of sufficiency.
“If I were in her place, I will not give the election officer a hard time anymore. I would go to the Comelec office and personally receive the notice of sufficiency to prove to the people that I am not scared and I am ready to face the election recall process,” Zamora said.
Gomez denied the accusations saying she was on leave for a medical test.
“It’s a big lie. I filed a leave because I needed to undergo a medical test. But I am working to the best of my ability,” Gomez said at her San Juan home.
Gomez reiterated that she was already in her last term as mayor and her term would end June 30, 2019.
“I will not allow a group of individuals obsessed with power and believe in their wealth so much, to make a mockery of this mandate,” she said.
In response, Zamora criticized Gomez for calling the Comelec’s approval of the petition for recall unfair.
“That is a direct assault to the Comelec en banc. Their decision has legal basis. The Comelec voted 4-0. She should face the decision and stop putting malice to it,” he said.
Zamora said an honest, clean and fair election recall can determine the true will of the people.
“The 30,000 people who signed the petition are brave enough to write their names and their signatures. That’s a risk on their part. That means they’re out to fight for change. They are aware of what they are signing and they will stand up for it. Why are you (Gomez) scared of the process? If you really win legitimately?” he added.
He also pointed out that Gomez’s press conference held at her house, rather than at the city hall, was a typical evading tactic.
“Mayor (Gomez) failed to prove she is not hiding. It’s a work day today. She has been accused of not going to the City Hall. It’s very clear in the election rules that the notice of sufficiency should be served at her workplace…This is evasion,” he added.
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