Gov. Mitra seeks recall of recall ruling
The counsel for Governor Abraham Kahlil B. Mitra of Palawan has asked the Commission on Elections to dismiss the petition for recall filed last year against him, arguing that Mitra’s right to due process was violated.
Filing a motion for reconsideration with the Comelec, Mitra’s counsel, Raji Mendoza, said the “recall procedures can be easily abused… as a way for sore losers to try to overturn a valid election result.”
Mendoza added that “recall must be pursued by the people, not just by one disgruntled loser in the elections or a small percentage of disenchanted electors; otherwise, its purpose as a direct remedy of the people shall be defeated by the ill motives of a few among them whose selfish resort to recall would destabilize the community and seriously disrupt the running of government.”
In his motion, Mendoza also said: “We recognize the power given to the people to directly institute an action recalling an elected official. However, it is our duty to oppose the same for their protection and welfare against malevolent aristocrats who abuse such well-entrenched right of suffrage to promote self-interest of selfish motives.”
In a press statement, Mendoza added: “Recall is a double-edged sword. Rightly used, it can promote the greater good. Wrongly used, it can result in greater evil.”
Mitra was elected governor of Palawan in the May 2010 election over his nearest rival, the logging and business mogul Pepito Alvarez. However, a petition for recall was filed against him in September with the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor (PES), initiated by Caesar Ventura, former budget officer of Palawan and reportedly a staunch Alvarez ally representing a group called Kilusan Love Malampaya.
The Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Operation, Comelec, upon receipt of the recommendations of the PES, recommended in a memorandum to the Comelec en banc the issuance of a resolution certifying the sufficiency of the petition. The Commission certified the sufficiency of the petition for recall in late September.
Mendoza said that the Commission issued its resolution on the sufficiency of the petition without giving the respondent his right to a hearing.
“Mitra thus, failed to present evidence in his behalf that should have been considered in the resolution, all in violation of the respondent’s constitutional right to due process,” the lawyer said.
He said that in the majority of the areas where signatures of the supporting petitioners were obtained, Ventura appears to have obtained the signatures of almost all of the registered voters.
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