CITY OF SAN FERNANDO ? A nongovernment organization led by a former election campaigner of losing gubernatorial candidate Lilia Pineda launched Thursday a recall campaign against Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio, citing loss of confidence in the governor?s leadership.
Rosve Henson, president of the Kapanalig at Kambilan Ning Memalen Pampanga Inc. (Kambilan), said his group aims to gather in two months the signatures of at least 100,000 registered voters in the province.
That number, which is more than 10 percent of the 977,000 voters who registered in the May 2007 elections, meets the requirements of Resolution 7505 of the Commission on Elections, he said at a press briefing here.
The same resolution accepts loss of confidence as a ground for citizens? initiative to oust an elected official, he said.
Panlilio is the first Pampanga governor to be subjected to a recall campaign. The move came almost two months after the lapse of the one-year cap in the filing of a recall petition.
?The greatest argument for this [recall move] is that Panlilio?s own avid supporters are saying that he failed them,? Henson said.
Reading from a prepared statement, he cited three cases filed against Panlilio at the Office of the Ombudsman and Comelec.
The first is a case for gross negligence filed by the provincial board in relation to the non-implementation of a new quarry ordinance, which the governor said was unconstitutional.
The second pertains to a case filed by Dr. Eddie Ponio for violation of the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers after Panlilio reshuffled the directors of hospitals.
The third case involves a perjury case filed by losing gubernatorial candidate Elly Pamatong over misdeclaration of election funds. Panlilio asked the Comelec to dismiss this case due to lack of evidence and witnesses.
Henson said the issues included what he called as Panlilio?s arrogant insistence to retain provincial administrator Vivian Dabu.
Interviewed by phone on Thursday, Panlilio said Kambilan?s move was only an announcement to the media.
?We have to monitor the developments in the next weeks until [the petition] is officially filed with the Comelec,? he said.
He said the issues cited as bases for the loss of confidence have yet to be resolved by the proper courts.
?Our fellow Kapampangan want reforms and that?s what we have been trying to lead and institute all these months. The recall move is not about me. It is largely about our crusade for good governance,? he said.
Panlilio?s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, said the recall move would fail politically and legally.
?Politically, people will reject it. And legally, it cannot prosper because there?s a pending protest against Panlilio,? Macalintal said by telephone.
But Henson said Panlilio has failed at unifying local officials.
?He has no clear directions and programs of actions. And of late, the bickering has spread among his own supporters,? he said.
Henson, a former board member, said Pineda was not financing Kambilan?s recall move.
?She has nothing to do with this. We work on donations. Truth is, this might even negate her recount case against Among (Father) Ed,? he said, referring to a case pending with the Supreme Court.
Panlilio won by 1,147 votes over Pineda.
Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo, Pampanga Mayors League spokesperson, said the mayors have yet to meet and discuss the recall campaign.