Recall bids vs Samar gov, vice gov fail
TACLOBAN CITY—Critics of Samar Gov. Sharee Ann Tan and her younger brother, Vice Gov. Stephen James Tan, failed to muster enough signatures to unseat them for incompetence through a recall election, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Samar.
Maria Corazon Montallana, provincial election supervisor, reported on Tuesday that the recall proponents were able to gather only 39,330 “valid” signatures against Governor Tan, representing 8.74 percent of Samar’s voting population of 450,000. Under the law, the verified signatures of 10 percent of the voters are needed for a recall initiative to succeed.
The figures were contained in Montallana’s consolidated report to the Comelec.
The Tans were also accused of just following the orders of their mother, former governor and now Rep. Milagrosa Tan.
In the case against the governor’s brother, the verified signatures numbered only 39,375, or 8.75 percent of the voting population.
Initially, the recall petition against the Tan siblings had 73,889 and 73,250 signatures, respectively. For it to succeed, only 45,000 verified signatures are needed.
During the verification process, the Comelec in Samar canceled 34,559 signatures attached to the petition against the governor and 33,875 attached to that against the vice governor. Among the reasons cited were double entry, signatories who had already died, and signatures appearing to be different from those in the Comelec’s list of voters.
The recall proponents, however, can still appeal the findings before the Comelec en banc, Montallana said. “The en banc will still review our consolidated reports and from there, it will issue its own decision,” she said.
Aurelio Bardaje, the main petitioner against Governor Tan, said his group would appeal the findings.
He claimed that several elections officials immediately canceled signatures even without asking any documentary evidence from Tan’s camp to back up their decision. These officials, he said, were “biased.”
Montallana denied the charge, saying they were only doing their jobs.
Governor Tan had earlier said that some signatures attached to the recall petition were fake. The Inquirer tried to contact her for comment on the Comelec findings, but she did not answer the messages and calls.