Comelec affirms recall bid vs Palawan gov
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has denied a motion for recommendation filed by Palawan Gov. Abraham Kahlil Mitra on an earlier en banc resolution of the poll body upholding the sufficiency of a recall petition filed by a cause-oriented group against the governor.
In an en banc ruling dated Jan. 12 and received Friday by the office of the provincial election supervisor of Palawan, the poll body upheld its earlier decision and ordered the provincial Comelec to begin the process of verification of the signatures in the recall petition.
The group Kilusang Love Malampaya (KLM), led by former provincial budget officer Caesar Ventura, filed a recall petition against Mitra in September last year, backing it up with the signature of over 158,000 petitioners gathered from various towns of Palawan.
The KLM in its petition stated as basis for their recall initiative “loss of confidence owing to alleged graft acts, incompetence, antienvironment policies, inexcusable negligence, intellectual dishonesty and emotional immaturity.”
The Comelec en banc ruled against Mitra’s assertion contained in his motion for reconsideration that the recall bid was but a scheme put up by his political opponents who lost to him in the last local elections.
The poll body also rejected Mitra’s allegation that he was denied due process in the Comelec’s earlier go signal for the petitioners to proceed with the recall petition.
“Respondent (Mitra) cannot claim deprivation of due process inasmuch as he has been given the right to be heard, which in fact allowed him to file a motion for reconsideration,” the Comelec resolution stated.
Mitra on Saturday said he has yet to receive a copy of the Comelec ruling, but added that he was prepared to prove his claim that most of the signatures gathered by the recall petitioners were “fraudulent.”
He told Inquirer that he would prove during the verification process that most of the signatures gathered by the recall petitioners included even those that were collected to support an antimining petition in Palawan.
“It is a scam because of the fraudulent manner the signatures were gathered which included antimining signatures,” Mitra said.
Under the law, only 45,000 or 10 percent of the total number of Palawan’s registered voters are sufficient to hold recall elections.